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“Tex” turns back late challenge to win Mile

August 21, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

Flamethrowintexan and Papi Chullo staged classic duel in Longacres Mile
(photo by coutrtesy Emerald Downs)
by Michael Constanzo
Auburn, WA (August 20, 2006) – Flamethrowintexan put on a blazing performance at Emerald Downs on Sunday when winning the 71st running of the $250,000 Longacres Mile by a neck at the wire. The victory handed state Hall of Fame trainer Jim Penney his record-setting fifth Mile victory.

Flamethrowintexan broke from post eight, with Ricky Frazier in the irons. The 5-year-old son of Way West was away from the gate alertly and took command of the race in the opening yards. The gelding moved to the lead by the clubhouse turn with Royal Place, ridden by Anderson Ward, racing in second.

Flamethrowintexan set opening fractions of 22 4/5 seconds for the quarter mile and 45 2/5 at the half while California invader Papi Chullo, the 2-1 race favorite ridden Robby Albarado, stalked the gelding down the backstretch, moving within a half length on the turn.

Coming out of the turn Southern Africa, also up from California, began to inch closer to the leader as Papi Chullo angled out to make his run at Flamethrowintexan. The big gray bumped the gelding several times and it appeared that ‘Tex' might be passed.

“When Robby ran beside me around the turn I knew his horse likes to lay on horses,” Frazier said. “He bumped us a couple of times. Tex just loves to fight back and he wouldn't let him go by.”

Flamethrowintexan pinned his ears and dug in, holding off Papi Chullo's charge at the wire while stopping the clock in 1:34 2/5.

“I thought I had him,” Albarado said. “He's (Flamethrowintexan) a fighter and this is his home track. When you get beat by half a head you think about what could have gone differently. I'd like to have had a different post.”

“I knew our horse was prepared correctly,” owner Paul Heist said. “The only way I thought he would get beat was if one horse was better, but Tex was better today.”

Flamethrowintexan's road to the Mile began for the Penney barn and Grasshopper Stable when the gelding was claimed for $62,500 at Hollywood Park June 2004.

Penney gave credit to his son-in-law and training team member, Bryson Cooper, for picking the horse out for the stable.

“We thought we could win the (Emerald Breeders' Cup) Derby with him,” Penney said. “He's been an excellent selection and he's rewarded us every time we've run him.”

Flamethrowintexan has won four stakes races at Emerald Downs and his win in the Mile pushed him past Kid Katabatic as the all-time earnings leader at the Auburn oval with $358,728. The gelding earned $137,500 for his Mile win while improving his record to 14-4-2 from 23 starts lifetime.

Flamethrowintexan paid $6.80, $4.20 and $3. Papi Chullo returned $3.60 and $3.20 for second while Southern Africa brought in $3 for third.

Completing the order of finish for the Mile was Grafton, Quiet Cash, Royal Place, Alexandersrun, Confidential Call, Norm's Nephew, Dontwritemeoff and R. Associate.

* Penney won his first Mile in 1973 with Silver Mallet. Penney's second Mile triumph came with Theologist in 1977. The conditioner would return to win the Mile in 2000 with Edneator and 2002 with Sabertooth.