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Weighing In with Martha Claussen
September 18, 2013 – Latest Racing Events & Newsmakers

Live racing will return to Sam Houston Race Park on January 17, 2014. Stay in touch with timely industry news and updates on the upcoming racing events as well as the latest on the top Texas horses, trainers, jockeys and breeders in this bi-monthly posting by Martha Claussen.

Tuesday Afternoon Racing to Debut in 2014 Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred Meet

Sam Houston Race Park has announced the dates and stakes schedule for its 2014 Thoroughbred Meet, which will run from January 17 -March 11.  In addition to Friday and Saturday evenings, live racing will also take place on Monday and Tuesday afternoons at 1:00 pm.

The 2014 Thoroughbred season will begin with Texas Champions Weekend, which will continue in its two-day format for the third consecutive year. Texas-bred Thoroughbreds will take center stage on opening night with three stakes for fillies and mares ($50,000 San Jacinto Stakes; $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes and $50,000 Bara Lass Stakes). On Saturday, January 18, their male counterparts star in four events ($50,000 Star of Texas Stakes; $50,000 Richard King Stakes, $50,000 Spirit of Texas Stakes and the $50,000 Groovy Stakes). 

Sam Houston Race Park will offer 22 Thoroughbred stakes with total purses of nearly $1.7 million. To see a complete listing of all the stakes, visit 

The Envelope, Please!
On Sunday, September 22, Hollywood will present the 2013 Emmy Awards saluting television's finest performers.  How about Emmys for some of Sam Houston Race Park's outstanding 2013 Thoroughbreds?

Lead Actress:  Joyful Victory
The winner of the inaugural $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic here in January, is expected to make her next start on September 28 in the Grade 1, Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita before the Breeders’ Cup Distaff on November 1. The 5-year-old mare is owned by Fox Hill Farms and trained by Larry Jones.  She set a  track record at Sam Houston Race Park on January 26 when she won the $400,000 Houston Ladies Stakes, the richest Thoroughbred stakes in Texas. Purchased for $60,000 in the 2009 January Sale at Keeneland, Joyful Victory has now won seven of her 19 career starts, bankrolling $1,222,679.

Lead Actor:   Departing
This 3-year-old captured the Texas Heritage Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park in March and continues his exceptional year for owners Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider. The Kentucky-bred geldingran third the Grade 2, $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby and was victorious in the $750,000 Illinois Derby. Following his sixth-place finish in the Preakness Stakes, he came back in great form, capturing the $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park, and most recently, the $500,000 SuperDerby at Louisiana Downs. Trained by Al Stall, Jr., is currently ranked fifth on the weekly NTRA Poll for older horses; 2012 Horse of the Year, Wise Dan remains at the top of the standings.

Lead Actor in a Miniseries:  Coyote Legend

Coyote Legend - 2013 Star of Texas:
Photo credit: Coady Photography

Sam Houston's top Texas-bred, Coyote Legend, defended his title in the Star of Texas on Texas Champions Weekend and captured the Assault Stakes last June at Lone Star Park. The Bret Calhoun-trainee is currently stabled at Remington Park.

Lead Actress in a Miniseries:  Cowgirl N Up
This intrepid Texas-bred filly won the 2012 Bara Lass for trainer Caroline Dodwell and returned to the winner's circle in January in the $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes. It was an emotional celebration as Dodwell paid tribute to her husband, Ed, who had recently passed away.

Host For A Reality Competition Program:  Tom Harris
Tom Harris, the voice of Sam Houston Race Park, calls the live races with accuracy and imagination. He also takes time in between the action to interact with racing fans from across the country.

Good luck to all the Emmy nominees.  The aforementioned are already winners at Sam Houston Race Park!

Fans Can Play the Belmont-Penn National Pick 4 Thursdays at Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park is now offering a new wager every Thursday. Racing fans can play the Belmont-Penn National Pick 4, pairing the final two races at Belmont Park with the first two events on the Penn National card. The new wager made its debut on September 12 and will continue through October 24. The wager offers a 50-cent minimum wager with just a 15% takeout.

Belmont Park and Penn National are just two of the racetracks on Sam Houston Race Park's extensive simulcast menu. For a complete listing of tracks, post times, stakes races and Pick-6 carryovers, visit

Texas Racing Hall of Fame Announces Nominees
The Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame will once again honor horses and people that have enriched the tradition of horse racing in Texas on November 16 at Retama Park. The 13th annual Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame Gala will be held

Photo credit - Valor Farm

on Saturday, November 16. The gala includes valet parking, cocktails, a gourmet buffet dinner, induction of the honorees, silent auction and live Thoroughbred races.

The 2013 inductees include Arthur A. Seeligson, Jr. (deceased), Dr. Glenn Blodgett, Tami Purcell Burklund and horses Hadif, Kontiki and Dashingly. The Joann Weber Distinguished Service Award will be presented to the family of the late Jeff Coady of Coady Photography.

Serving as the emcee and auctioneer for the evening will be National Hall of Fame trainer and American horse racing legend Jack Van Berg, who became the first trainer to win 5,000 races when he saddled Art’s Chandelle to victory at Arlington Park on July 15, 1987. He is best known for training Alysheba who won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Super Derby in 1987, and the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

All proceeds from the gala, which is open to the public, will benefit the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of the horse racing industry and those individuals who have influenced and contributed to its growth and development. Proceeds from the 2012 gala benefitted the Texas A&M Foundation Equine Initiative and the Retama Park Racetrack Chaplaincy.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the gala at $125 per person, please contact Sharolyn Grammer at (210) 651-7000 or

Chris Landeros Scores His 1,000th Career Victory
Jockey Chris Landeros, who is one of the top Thoroughbred riders in Texas,  won his 1,000th career race on September 7 at Louisiana Downs. The milestone win came aboard Major Marvel owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey in the $100,000 Unbridled Stakes.

Chris Landeros aboard Unstoppable U
Photo credit: Coady Photography

"Winning my 1000th race was a lot of fun," said Landeros. " I am grateful to trainer Mike Maker for giving me the mount.  I have been lucky to ride for very good connections."

Landeros, 25, was born in San Mateo, California and has ridden in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kentucky, California, Florida and Arizona. He was the second-leading rider at Sam Houston in 2012 and earned two riding titles at Lone Star Park. Landeros won the first graded stakes of his career in 2011 aboard Schramsberg in the Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Turf Cup at Sam Houston. Earlier this year, he won the 2013 Maxxam Gold Cup with Unstoppable U for trainer Ken McPeek.       

He is humble about winning 1,000 races and hopes to continue his career for two more decades. His role model is jockey Garrett Gomez, a multiple Breeders' Cup winning veteran.

"I have always admired Garrett Gomez, not just as a rider, but for how he has turned his life around and gained tremendous respect in the industry," stated Landeros.

Landeros is currently riding at Remington Park in Oklahoma City and mulling options for 2014. He may return to Sam Houston Race Park or opt for Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas or Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

"I hope to be able to come in to ride some of the stakes in Houston," said Landeros. "I love the track surfaces and have always said that Sam Houston has the best turf course I've ever ridden."

Lone Star Park Meet of Champions is Underway

Live Quarter Horse racing returned to Lone Star Park on Friday, September 13 for their Fall Meet of Champions.

A total of 15 stakes races worth an estimated $2.4 million will be run during the 26-day meet. Live racing will be held every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night with a first race post time of 6:35 p.m.

The signature event of the track’s 17th fall season is the $1 million-est. Texas Classic Futurity (G1), the richest horse race run annually in the state, and will run Saturday, November 9. The $400,000-est. Texas Classic Derby (G1) and the $80,000-est. Texas Classic Juvenile Stakes (R) are also a part of the 11-race closing night program.

Sam Houston top conditioners Judd Kearl, Cindi Keeton, Guy Hopkins and Mike Robbins are all running horses at Lone Star Park.  Racing fans can watch and wager at Sam Houston Race Park.

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