04/10/2004 11:00PM

Warleigh wins Connally Breeders' Cup Turf

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Warleigh, who won five consecutive turf races last year, picked up the richest win of his career Saturday night when he drove to a half-length win over Skate Away in the $220,000 at Sam Houston Race Park. The mile and an eighth race for older horses closed out the track's meet.

Warleigh ($13.40) took the lead after an opening quarter, increased his advantage in the stretch, then held off a late bid by Skate Away. It was another length back in third to Gentlemen JJ, while the favorite, Quest Star, finished fourth. Warleigh covered the distance over yielding turf in 1:53.01.

"He is a true warrior. He earned every stride of the way," said Jeremy Beasley, who rode Warleigh for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Warleigh's win streak last year included a victory in the $100,000 Louisiana Downs Handicap over yielding turf. He earned $133,200 for owner Ro Parra for his win in the Connally. Warleigh has now won 9 of 22 starts and $481,512.

In the supporting stakes, Sound of Gold ($5.40) won her third straight race at the meet when she wired the field in the $40,000 Jersey Lilly at a mile and a sixteenth on turf. John Jacinto rode the winner for trainer Paul Pearson. Sound of Gold won by two lengths over Tyger River. It was another length and three quarters back in third to to Tiva's Little Sis.

In the $40,000 Sam Houston Turf Sprint Cup, Bold Reply ($25.80) overtook pacesetter and favorite Gold Storm for a three-quartrer length win. Clever Pancho rallied for second, while Gold Storm held third. Kevin Cogburn rode Bold Reply for trainer Shawn Finch.