John B Connally Turf Cup 2016 at Sam Houston Race Park

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - Sam Houston Race Park in Houston, Texas will play host to the Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes on Saturday, January 30. A purse of $200,000 will be on the line for horses four years old and upward willing to go 1 1/2 miles on Sam Houston's turf track.

12 older entries will line up in the John B. Connally Turf - race 8 on Sam Houston's packed Saturday schedule. Post time is 8:35 PM. Let's take a peek into the past performances of all 12 combatants for this Grade 3 stakes.

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2016 John B Connally Turf Cup Race Preview

Kaigun 3-1 - 2014 winner of the Grade 2 Play the King Stakes at Woodbine, Mark Casse trained gelding also ended 2014 with a terrific win in the Grade 2 Seabiscuit Handicap at Del Mar. He also finished second in two other Grade 1 stakes in 2014 - the Manhattan Stakes in June and behind Wise Dan in the Maker's Mile in April. He has enters off a couple of good efforts - runner-up finishes in the Grade 3 WL McKnight Handicap at Gulfstream December 26 and the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct in November. Those results followed a pair of fourth place finishes in Grade 1 races. Kaigun has five wins, six seconds and three third place finishes in 25 career starts, has been competitive virtually every time out and looks for his first win in a year in decent form. Joe Bravo gets the call on the slight morning line favorite from gate 8.

Da Big Hoss 4-1 - has seven wins, a second and three third place finishes in 15 career starts for trainer Michael Maker and enters off an OK third in the Grade 3 WL McKnight Handicap at Gulfstream Park December 26 and a sixth in the Breeders' Cup Turf. Before that was a nice four race win streak - in his graded stakes debut - the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup September 14, in his stakes debut - the listed John's Call Stakes at Saratoga August 26, an Allowance Optional Claiming score in July 31 and a Claiming win in June. Da Big Hoss had looked untouchable before his last two starts and will be out to snap a two race losing streak Saturday. Florent Geroux has the mount on the second betting choice from post 5.

Big John B 6-1 - was on fire this past summer for trainer Phil D'Amato with three straight wins including the Grade 3 Cougar II Handicap in July and the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap (a race he's now won two straight years) but stumbled three starts back finishing tenth in the Breeders' Cup Turf. He posted an eighth last time out in the Grade 2 San Gabriel Stakes at Santa Anita January 2 after a better runner-up finish behind The Pizza Man in the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup November 26. Big John B now has 37 career starts with 14 wins, six seconds and four third place finishes and won three of six starts last year with a second place finish mixed in there. He is a bit difficult to figure out ahead of this weekend and departs from gate 6 with Joel Rosario in the reins.

Going Somewhere 6-1 - Brazilian bred Neil Drysdale made his North American debut in May and finished an OK third in the Grade 2 Charles Whittingham Stakes and followed that with a decent second in his only other North American start - in the Grade 3 San Juan Capistrano Stakes June 28. His last two starts overseas resulted in seventh place finishes - the Group 1 Qatar Prix du Cadran in October and the Group 3 Qatar Prix Gladiateur in September - both results at Longchamp. Going Somewhere has three wins, five seconds and seven third place finishes in 23 career starts and looks for his first win since 2012. Tiago Josue Pereira will be in the irons from gate 10.

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Mobile Bay 8-1 - Victor Arceneaux trained colt has placed in 12 of 13 career starts - six wins, three seconds and three third place finishes. He enters off a runner-up finish in the minor Louisiana Champions Day Classic at Fair Grounds December 12, a nice win in the minor Zia Park Derby in November, a third in the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby September 27 and a terrific win in the Grade 2 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs September 12. Mobile Bay has been competitive every time out and will be after his fifth stakes win Saturday - from the rail with Deshawn Parker aboard at an intriguing 8-1 odds.

Wireless Future 8-1 - Tom Amoss trained colt has four wins, a second and two third place finishes in 11 career starts. He enters off an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Fair Grounds January 15, a third in a similar race on that same track November 27 and a fifth in the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby in October. Wireless Future has placed in three of his last four starts overall but looks for his first stakes win Saturday in his fifth try. Jockey James Graham has been tabbed with making that happen - from gate 2.

Knights Nation 8-1 - Dallas Stewart trained gelding has 29 career starts with six wins, eight seconds and five third place finishes. He won a couple of Allowance Optional Claiming races early in 2015 but hasn't tasted victory since. Last time out was a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Fair Grounds January 14 after an eighth in the Grade 3 River City Handicap November 16, a third in the minor More Than Ready Mile November 26, a seventh at a minor stakes at Mountaineer and an OK second in the Grade 2 Firecracker Stakes at Churchill Downs in June. Knights Station will be after his first stakes score Saturday but enters in less-than-spectacular form. Patrick Valenzuela rides from gate 4.

Bullards Alley 10-1 - makes his graded stakes debut Saturday for trainer Tim Glyshaw having posted three wins, two seconds and three third place finishes in 13 career starts. Last time out was a good win in his stakes debut - the minor Woodchopper Stakes at Fair Grounds December 26 after a sixth in an Allowance Optional Claiming November 29 and top 3 finishes in four straight Allowance races on four different tracks. Bullards Alley has now placed in five of his last six starts and steps up off a career best effort. Marcelino Pedroza has the mount from post 9.

Dac 10-1 - has three wins, two seconds and two third place finishes in 13 career starts for trainer William Brumley. Last time out was a win in the minor Prairie Bayou Stakes at Turfway Park December 19 which followed an OK fourth in his stakes debut - the Grade 3 River City Handicap at Churchill Downs November 26, a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming October 8 and an Allowance score at Indiana Grand in October. Dac looks for his first graded stakes score and his second stakes score overall - from post 11 with Sophie Doyle guiding him.

Birdsone 15-1 - Grant Forster trained gelding makes his stakes debut Saturday after 23 career starts yielded four wins, four seconds and a third place finish. He has placed in three straight races ahead of this weekend - a Starter Optional Claiming score last time out December 31 followed a third in a similar race December 3 and a second in a Starter Allowance in October. Birdsone has been trending upward but takes an enormous step up in competition Saturday. David Cabrera gets the call from the outside gate 12.

Pumpkin Rumble 15-1 - has four wins, three seconds and three third place finishes in 16 career starts but has failed to place in two graded stakes tries. He enters off an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Fair Grounds December 17 after a third in a similar race in November, a sixth in an Allowance in October and a breakthrough win in the minor Mystic Lake Mile at Canterbury Park in July. Pumpkin Rumble has won two of his last four starts - in OK form ahead of this week. Mitchell Murrill gets the call from post 7.

Witt Six 20-1 - Jerry Gorneau trained gelding has five wins, four seconds and five third place finishes in 22 career starts. He had three wins and two runner-up finishes in a string of five races in the summer in Canada including three minor stakes scores at Assiniboia to go along with a second in the Grade 3 Canadian Derby at Northlands Park in August. He hasn't been great since however - an OK third last time out in the minor Star of Texas Stakes here January 23 followed a seventh in the minor Tenacious Stakes at Fair Grounds December 19 and consecutive sixth place finishes including the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby in September. Witt Six hopes to rediscover his summer form Saturday when he leaves from post 3 with Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez aboard.

2016 John B Connally Turf Cup Entries & Odds

Race 8 on Sam Houston's Saturday card with a Post Time of 9:35 PM.

Entry Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Mobile Bay Deshawn Parker Victor Arceneaux
2 Wireless Future James Graham Thomas Amoss
3 Witt Six Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez Jerry Gourneau
4 Knights Nation Patrick Valenzuela Dallas Stewart
5 Da Big Hoss Florent Geroux Michael Maker
6 Big John B Joel Rosario Philip D'Amato
7 Pumpkin Rumble Mitchell Murrill Gary Scherer
8 Kaigun Joe Bravo Mark Casse
9 Bullards Alley Marcelino Pedroza Tim Glyshaw
10 Going Somewhere (BRZ) Tiago Pereira Neil Drysdale
11 Dac Sophie Doyle William Brumley
12 Birdsone David Cabrera Grant Forster

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Penn National 6:00 PM
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Ruidoso Downs 1:00 PM
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Saratoga Harness 7:05 PM
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Seoul Korea 1:25 AM
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Wheeling Downs Mat 1:00 PM
Wolverhampton (UK) 8:46 AM
Woodbine at Mohawk 7:10 PM
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Yonkers Raceway 6:50 PM
Youghal (IG) 2:48 PM


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