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Weighing In with Martha Claussen
October 30, 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.

Sam Houston Race Park Stakes Horses Headed to the Breeders' Cup
The draws for both days of the 2014 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships have taken place and racing fans are in for one of the best and most competitive renewals in Breeders' Cup history.

Several contenders in the 14 Breeders' Cup stakes have a history at Sam Houston Race Park, and we will be cheering them on this Friday and Saturday.

Summer Applause will compete in Saturday's Grade 1, $1,000,000 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. The Kentucky-bred filly ran sixth in the inaugural $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic at Sam Houston Race Park after rider Miguel Mena lost his irons midway down the backstretch. She was sent to trainer Chad Brown and has three stakes wins to her credit in 2013. Top North American jockey Javier Castellano will ride the daughter of Harlan's Holiday in the Filly & Mare Sprint. Summer Applause is 12-1 in the full field, with multiple-graded stakes Groupie Doll installed as the 5-2 morning line selection.

Maxxam Gold Cup winner, Cease
Photo credit: Coady Photography

Cease, winner of the 2012 Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston Race Park, will run in Friday's Grade 2, $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon.  The 6 year-old son of War Chant was trained by Al Stall, Jr. for breeder Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider, but now runs for trainer David Jacobson. Rider David Cohen has the call. Pool Play, another Sam Houston Race Park stakes runner, is also entered in the Marathon.  The Canadian-bred 8-year-old is owned by Will Farish, Jr. and shipped in for the 2010 Connally Turf Cup. Trained by Mark Casse, the son of Silver Deputy will be making his 41st career start and has bankrolled $1.3 million to date. Top Canadian rider Eurico Rosa Da Silva will pilot Pool Play from post position nine,

Both Cease and Pool Play were installed at odds of 8-1 in the 1 3/4 mile main track stakes.

Texas Trainer Danny Pish Has First Breeders' Cup Starter With Got Shades
On Friday afternoon, top Texas Thoroughbred trainer Danny Pish will saddle his first Breeders' Cup runner with Got Shades in the Grade 1, $1,000,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, the seventh race on the card.

Owned by Texan Dennis Foster, Got Shades has closed in his last two stakes victories, the Sunny’s Halo and Sunday Silence, both on the Louisiana Downs turf course.  He was shipped to Santa Anita where he ran third in the Zuma Beach on October 6. That effort was the confirmation that Pish and Foster were seeking to take the next step to the Breeders' Cup.  The 2-year-old son of Pollard's Vision was ridden in Louisiana by Roman Chapa, but gets the riding services of the resurgent Gary Stevens on Friday afternoon.

"Gary breezed him on Saturday (October 26) and it was a good solid work," reported Pish.

Pish has remained at Santa Anita with Got Shades, maintaining constant cell phone contact with his assistants at Retama Park and Louisiana Downs.  With shedrows of 60 or more horses at Retama, Sam Houston and Lone Star during their Thoroughbred meets, Pish admits that overseeing the care of just one horse is not his standard operating procedure.

"Being here with just one horse is a little strange to me," said Pish, who has been aboard for the majority of his morning works. "I'm not as good as my crew at cleaning stalls, that's for sure,  but I have enjoyed the one-on-one time with the colt."

Got Shades winning the Sunday Silence Stakes at Louisiana Downs
Photo credit: Lou Hodge Photography

Got Shades topped the $100,000 earnings mark with his third-place finish in the Zuma Beach Stakes on October 6 at Santa Anita.  The dark bay colt has won two of his four career starts and will break from post position 3 under Stevens at odds of 30-1. The morning line choice for the Juvenile Turf is Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's Bobby's Kitten, winner of the Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park.

He will be overlooked by the betting public, but Pish, who has saddled 1,682 winners since he began training in 1995, believes in Got Shades.

"He's got the classic turf running style," said Pish, who will be joined by his wife, Sabina and son, Joe Dan on Friday.  "He's done everything we have asked so far. It is pretty exciting to have a Breeders' Cup starter."
Best of luck to Danny and owner Dennis Foster!

Sam Houston Race Park to Simulcast the Breeders' Cup

The 30th running of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships returns to Santa Anita on November 1-2.  Sam Houston Race Park will simulcast the entire two-day event with gates opening Friday at 10:30 am. Post time is 12:40 p.m. (CT) with the first Breeders' Cup feature, the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon, set for 3:45 p.m.  Early bird wagering begins at 7:30 am in the valet oval, and advance wagering for Saturday's card will be offered throughout the day on Friday. Several special wagers will be available on Friday including the Breeders’ Cup Distaff/ Breeders’ Cup Classic Daily Double.

Saturday's post time is 12:15 p.m. and Sam Houston Race Park's gates will open at 9:00 a.m.  The Breeders' Cup Juvenile at 2:05 p.m. is the first of nine stakes on Saturday, November 2 culminating with the Grade 1, $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic with an estimated post time of 7:30 p.m. 

Game On Dude
, is the 8/5 favorite in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic and the winner of the Classic will be a strong contender for Horse of the Year.  The Bob Baffert-trainee disappointed in last year's Classic, but has been sensational this year, winning each of his five graded stakes efforts. His most recent victory came in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar, where he drew off by 8 1/2 lengths.  The field for the Classic includes Ron The Greek, Fort Larned, Mucho Macho Man, Flat Out and 3-year-old entrants Palace Malice, Moreno and Will Take Charge.

Friday's Grade 1, Breeders’ Cup Distaff is another stakes likely to have historical implications as Royal Delta tries to become just the second horse to win a Breeders’ Cup race in three consecutive years. The record was set with the European import Goldikova, who triumphed in the Breeders’ Cup Mile in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Royal Delta will have to turn the tables on Princess of Sylmar who bested her in the Grade 1 Beldame Invitational on September 28.

Visit for more information on the Breeders' Cup stakes and Winner's Circle Buffet menu at Sam Houston Race Park.

Rosie Napravnik
Photo credit: Hodge Photography/Fair Grounds

Rosie Napravnik Wins the Keeneland Riding Title
Jockey Rosie Napravnik, always popular when jetting in to ride stakes at Sam Houston Race Park, has added another significant milestone to her impressive career.

Rosie Napravnik became the first woman rider to win the Keeneland riding title.  The prestigious Kentucky track wrapped up its Fall meet on October 26 and Napravnik bested her fellow riders with 17 wins, 11 seconds and 16 thirds.

The talented rider has been increasing her national profile since making her debut as an apprentice in Maryland in 2005.  She is currently the fifth-leading rider in North America with 226 wins and purses of $11.6 million in 2013.

Napravnik has a successful record at Sam Houston Race Park, beginning with her victory in the 2012 Connally Turf Cup aboard Papaw Bodie. On January 26, she set two track records in Houston  piloting Joyful Victory to a dominant win in the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic and Icon Ike in the $75,000 Champion Energy Services Stakes.

Houston racing fans will likely be able to see Napravnik again in January as trainer Larry Jones has pointed Believe You Can to the 2014 Houston Ladies Classic. The Proud Citizen filly is bred and owned by Brereton C. Jones. Napravnik was in the irons when Believe You Can captured the 2012 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.

Lone Star Park to Host the $1 Million Texas Classic Futurity on November 9

Especially Tres, Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse of the Meet, is one of ten talented 2-year-olds set to compete in the $1,000,000 Texas Classic Futurity (G1) on Saturday, November 9 at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.  Owned by Jim D. Pitts and trained by Trey Wood, Especially Tres, captured the Sam Houston Futurity in April and placed fourth in the $2.4 million All American Futurity (G1) at Ruidoso Downs on Labor Day.  Wood will also saddle Big Biz Perry, the upset winner of the Heritage Place Futurity at Remington Park.

Jockey G. R. Carter Wins Texas Classic Trial aboard Kates Dynasty
Photo credit: Reed Palmer Photography

Prominent Texas breeder and owner Jerry Windham also has two horses gunning for the title: Kates Dynasty and Mister Big. Visit for a  complete list of qualifiers for the Texas Classic, which takes place on the closing night of the Lone Star Quarter Horse meet.

Quarter Horse racing fans can also watch and wager on the Bank of America Challenge Championships on Saturday, November 9.  The year-end championships for Quarter Horse regional qualifiers will be simulcast from Los Alamitos in Cypress California. Kool Country Man will represent Sam Houston Race Park in the $350,000 Bank of America Racing Challenge.

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