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Wahoo Wins Governors' Cup

Feature Mr Jess gelding finding his stride around the turn.

May 11, 2013

The 870-yard Governors' Cup Marathon on Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park brought a competitive battle of several proven distance specialists and a rising star, who won his stakes debut in fine fashion.

The winner was Wahoo, a son of Feature Mr Jess owned and bred by Bobby D. Cox. As a 2-year-old, the sorrel gelding ran in major futurity trials at Ruidoso Downs and last year qualified to the Dash For Cash Derby (G2) at Lone Star Park.

Last month, trainer John Buchanan decided to try him around the “hook,” and Wahoo responded with an eight-length romp on April 20 at Remington Park. Buchanan then made the decision to ship him to Sam Houston for the 870-yard Governors’ Cup. In that Remington race, jockey Russel Hadley had the riding assignment, but he had mounts in Oklahoma City that caused a conflict with the Governors’ Cup, so the Buchanan secured the services of Jerry Lee Yoakum. The two jockey are friends and talked about Wahoo’s running style.

“I talked to Russel today and he told me the horse does everything perfectly,” said Yoakum. “He didn’t tell me he would jump the shadows on the racetrack, but other than that, he did everything like Russel said he would.”

Wahoo, who broke from the rail, crossed the wire in :46.448, over three lengths ahead of Dashers Midnight.

Amanda Buchanan saddled the sorrel gelding for her father and shared that her dad always suspected Wahoo had the potential to be a stellar distance runner.

“When he was just a 2-year-old my dad said ‘this is going to be my 870 horse; I haven’t had one in a long time, but this one will be it,” said Amanda Buchanan. “He’s quick; he ran third to Ochoa as 2-year-old. We’re just really proud of him.”

The entire family felt Wahoo would give a good account of himself in his distance debut, but had no idea he would do it in such a commanding fashion.

“We expected him to run well, but were a little dumbstruck when he drew off the way he did,” she added.

Wahoo paid $3.20 for the win. Dashers Midnight, runner-up in the Red Cell Sam Houston Distance Challenge on April 13, rallied for second under Damien Martinez, and Bok Man ran third. Kite Flyer, winner of the Red Cell Sam Houston Distance Challenge, was fourth, followed by Corona La Jolla.