Bigger Picture to defend his John B. Connally Turf Cup title

Edited Press Release
January 21, 2019 04:10pm
Bigger Picture_Red Smith 2016_615x400
Photo: NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Sam Houston Race Park's Grade 3, $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup attracted a field of nine for Sunday's race, including two-time champion Bigger Picture, who will go 1 1/2 miles in his title defense. Owned by Three Diamonds Farm, Bigger Picture will attempt to be the second turf specialist in Connally history to win three times. That feat was accomplished by Glen Warren’s Candid Glen, who was victorious in 2001, 2002 and 2003.


An 8-year-old son of Badge of Silver, bred in Kentucky by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, Bigger Picture will be making his 38th career start on Sunday's card, which is headlined by the Houston Ladies Classic (G3). His 11 lifetime wins include five graded stakes. He eclipsed the $1 million earnings mark winning last year’s Connally Turf Cup, and has amassed $1,374,135 since making his debut in 2013.


The chestnut gelding made his last start at Del Mar, running second in the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup. His trainer, Michael Maker was pleased with the January 12 work by Bigger Picture at Palm Meadows in Florida, where he covered five furlongs in 1.02.80.


“He’s doing great -- ready to go," Maker said.


Jose Ortiz, his winning pilot in both Connally victories, will guide the 4-5 morning line choice from post position four.


Maker and Three Diamonds Farm will also run Markitoff, a 5-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway to be ridden by Mike Smith. The Kentucky-bred competed in two of the premier turf stakes last year at Woodbine, finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer. 


Maker has won six of the last seven editions of the Connally with Papa Bodie in 2012; Admiral Kitten in 2014; Coalport in 2015; Da Big Hoss in 2016 as well as the last two years with Bigger Picture.


Some In Tieme (BRZ), runner-up in last year’s edition of the Connally, returns for trainer Efren Loza, Jr. The 7-year-old son of Shirocco has earned $470,468 in 19 lifetime starts. He exits a fifth-place finish in the Grade 3, Sycamore Stakes last October at Keeneland. Team Colors, a 7-year-old son of Street Cry (IRE), was claimed last summer at Saratoga by owner Brad Grady. He will make his 28th career start for trainer Joe Sharp with Adam Beschizza making his Sam Houston debut. Trainer Tom Morley ships in 9-year-old Cooptado (ARG), who has earned $1.1 million in 44 starts. He will break from the far outside post under jockey Gabriel Saez.


The Connally Turf Cup will run as the eighth race of the card, with an approximate post time of 5:15 p.m. CT.


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