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Streakin Flyer Runs Like A Million

September 3, 1996

RUIDOSO DOWNS, N.M. (AP) _ A fast horse and a little luck usually add up to a lot of money in quarter horse racing.

That combination worked again Monday as Streakin Flyer, a 2-year-old gelding, ran a near-perfect race to win the 440-yard, $2 million All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs.

The win was worth $1 million for Streakin Flyer’s owners, Mike and Danelle Green of Pelzer, S.C., who bought the horse for $18,000 a year ago.

Trainer Donnie Strickland, who along with the Greens run barrel racing horses throughout the country, convinced the Greens to give horse racing a try two years ago.

The first two horses the Greens bought didn’t win much, and Mike Green was ready to stick with barrel racing.

``I said, `Donnie, I’m not going to play it no more. I’m going to wait a while,‴ Mike Green said. ``He said, `Mike, try it one more time. You’re luck is going to come through.‴

``I told Mike, `Stick with it and we’ll get something that will win a big one,‴ Strickland said. ``It didn’t take long.″

Green took the trainer’s advice and Stickland sensed he had something special when he purchased Streakin Flyer at the Ruidoso Super Select Sale.

``He was number 13 (on the sale block), but I knew his family and I really like him,″ Strickland said.

Streakin Flyer broke alertly from the No. 7 post in the straightaway race and overtook early leader and pre-race favorite Blushin Bugs 220 yards into the sprint.

With 46-year-old jockey Larry Layton aboard, Streakin Flyer held off a late run from Speedy Empress and jockey Alex Baldillez. Mr Special Express, who dueled early with Blushin Bugs for the lead, held on for third.

The win was the fourth in six races this summer for Streakin Flyer.

``He’s pretty hyper in the mornings, but he broke really well and he broke straight,″ said Layton, who won the futurity for the first time in his 30-year riding career.

``I knew I had the race won at the halfway point. At 220 yards, I knew they couldn’t catch this horse,″ Layton said. ``He relaxed and started running easy.″

Streakin Flyer hit the finish line a neck in front of Speedy Empress, who was another half-length in front of Mr Special Express.

Blushin Bugs, the top qualifier in the trials on Aug. 15 that determined the futurity field, faded over the final 200 yards and finished in a dead heat for sixth with Swingin Val.

Layton won the futurity in his fourth try. His best finish in three previous rides in the race was aboard See Me Do It in 1988. In the winner’s circle celebration, Layton said he knew he was running out of time to win the richest race in quarter horse racing.

``You know you’re in your latter days of racing when you’re 46,″ he said. ``You’re limited on the number of races you get to ride. This time I knew I had the fastest horse in the race and if I didn’t have any trouble, I’d win it.″

Streakin Flyer paid $10.80, $4.40 and $4. Speedy Empress returned $5.60 and $4.20 and Mr Special Express paid $4.40 to show.

The order of finish after the top three was: The Ravin Maniac, Ima Calyx Kitty, Swingin Val and Blushin Bugs, Rare Ruler and Duck N Dash.