Q-Racing Blog: Looking for a Stakes Win

How accomplished can a non-stakes winner be? Very.

How accomplished can a non-stakes winner be? Very.

There is an unwritten rule: No rooting in the press box.

But rules are made to be broken.

Just about everyone, except his competition, is pulling for Terry Baber’s Sam Crow.

It’s not that the 4-year-old gelding from the Blane Wood barn needs your sympathy. He has respect. Plenty of it and deservedly so. He has earned $913,017 with five wins, eight seconds and a third from 15 starts. Everyone will take those kind of horses, especially for a horse worth $40,000 as a yearling at the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale.

Wood knew the family. His dam, Bourbonstreetchick, raced for trainer Jamie Zamora and won the Clovis Classic Futurity (RG3). Zamora says the mare “had a heart the size of Montana.”

“I had eight head in the Clovis Futurity that year,” said Wood. “Bourbonstreetchick was in that race and outran me. Having eight head in the race, you would think you would have a pretty good shot to win it. I said that when she had babies, I’m going to buy every baby and the result is Sam Crow.”
 Sam Crow has made up for those eight Wood qualifiers.

 “He’s one of my all-time favorite horses because he tries every time and loves his job. He wants to be a racehorse, he is a racehorse and he’s a lot of fun to be around. He’s become kind of a fan favorite,” said Wood. “He was easy to break. Everything that we’ve done with that horse has been easy. That makes it fun and he’s fast.”

Sometimes Sam Crow hasn’t just been quite fast enough. He was second in last year’s $2,378,000 All American Derby (G1) and $900,000 Rainbow Derby (G1). He was also third in the 2014 $2.6-million All American Futurity. He has banked $862,813 of his $913,017 at Ruidoso Downs. He loves the place.

“He has never won a stakes race and that’s a result of these futurities and derbies being astronomical in the money and payout,” said Wood. “He’s run second and third in the biggest races in the world and that’s where he got his big checks. If he had been anywhere else he probably would have won two or three derbies and a couple of futurities. That’s why we are in Ruidoso — because of the money.”

 
Sam Crow 

Sam Crow is scheduled to run in a Ruidoso Downs’ allowance race on August 14 in preparation for the $200,000 All American Gold Cup (G1) on September 4.

“We’ve got him up here and trying to get him a race in the mountains,” said Wood. “We’ll probably go in the Gold Cup. I want to give him a race up here in this air. He’s had a little bit of a layoff since the Sooner State. Just give him a race to tune him up and point him at the Gold Cup. He needs a race to get ready.”

The Sooner State Stakes on May 29 at Remington Park is his latest start. Actually, it was the second Sooner State Stakes. The $100,000 stakes was run on May 7 and the gates malfunctioned, leaving a good portion of the field at a disadvantage. That race was rightfully declared a no contest. Guess who finished first? Yep. Sam Crow.

 “It was an unfortunate incident, nobody’s fault, just a thing that happened. He won, but it wasn’t a fair race. Sam didn’t know that he didn’t win,” said Wood.

When the race was rerun, Sam Crow finished second to AJs High.

It would be poetic justice if Sam Crow won a stakes and became a millionaire at the same time.

Not that anybody is rooting for him.

Whatever happens, it will be good. There have been numerous offers for the gelding, but don’t look for any ownership transfer being signed by Baber.

“He’s a big, pretty horse. He does good, he feels good and everybody knows Sam Crow,” said Wood. “He’s just like part of the family now. I broke him there at Lubbock and we’ve had him his whole life.
 
“I imagine when he’s through he’ll be in the backyard in Burkburnnett, Texas at the Babers. He’s paid for his stall.

“We’ll let him dictate his career. If he continues to run at the level he’s running, we’ll run him. He’ll never run for a claiming tag. When he’s not running at the level he is now, he’ll be retired.”

Looks like he’s won, after all.

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