07/07/2010 11:00PM

Stolis Winner should benefit from trial


Stolis Winner has a lot of reasons to take a significant step forward Saturday night when he runs in the Grade 1, $106,290 Texas Challenge Championship for Quarter Horses at Sam Houston Race Park.

The 440-yard race will be just his second start since December. He missed by a nose in his trial for Texas Challenge Championship on June 26.

"He probably needed the race coming off that long a layoff, running 440 yards," said Heath Taylor, who trains Stolis Winner, the 2008 world champion. "He left the gate well, was flat, sluggish in the middle, and once the light bulb came on and he realized he was in a race, he finished well."

The trial not only served Stolis Winner well physically, but also mentally, Taylor said.

"I expect a different horse this time out," he said. "I think that he'll run a much snappier, quicker kind of race. I think that he'll flash a lot more speed. He's a little more focused now."

G.R. Carter has the mount on Stolis Winner for owner Jerry Windham.

The winner of the Texas Challenge Championship will earn a berth into the Grade 1, $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship at Fair Grounds on Nov. 19.

The Texas Challenge Championship is the richest of four Quarter Horse stakes Saturday at Sam Houston.

Delta: Card features seven stakes

Delta Downs in Vinton, La., will close its Quarter Horse meet Saturday night with a card of seven Louisiana-bred stakes worth more than $715,000. The highlight of the program is the $375,700 Lee Berwick Memorial Futurity, a restricted Grade 1. The 350-yard race drew a field of 10.

Jls Mr Bigtime was the fastest qualifier for the Berwick. He won his 350-yard trial in 17.51 seconds on June 23, when he overcame a troubled start to close from eighth. Jls Mr Bigtime won by a half-length under regular rider Gilbert Ortiz. Ortiz has the mount Saturday for trainer Darrel Soileau.

Jls Mr Bigtime is the top winner of in the field with a 3-for-4 career record. Jls Mr Bigtime races for JLS Speed Horse Ranch Inc.

The stakes action at Delta begins with the fourth race and runs through race 10. Other races include the $100,000 Classic, a restricted Grade 1 at 440 yards.