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Weighing In with Martha Claussen
December 27, 2012 – Texas Tidings

Houston Ladies Classic nominee Class
Included: Photo credit: Four Footed Fotos

Executive Prince (#1) at Hialeah Park -
Photo credit: Coady Photography

Sandburr, winner of the 2006 and 2007 Star
of Texas - Photo credit: Coady Photography

Janet VanBebber and David James -
Photo credit: Michael Newcomb

Live racing will return to Sam Houston Race Park on January 18, but stay in touch with timely industry news and updates on the top Houston horses, trainers, jockeys and breeders in this bi-monthly posting by Martha Claussen.

Sam Houston Race Park Training Hours Begin on January 2

Thoroughbreds are on the grounds preparing for the 2013 Thoroughbred meet at Sam Houston Race Park. The track will open for training on Wednesday, January 2.  Horsemen will be able to work their horses from 7:00 - 11:00 a.m. six days a week. Tuesday will be the only dark day prior to the beginning of the meet.


"It is great to have horses on the grounds," said Eric Johnston, Sam Houston Race Park's vice-president of racing. "The vans are arriving on a daily basis,  and horsemen seem very enthusiastic about the upcoming live racing season."

The 20th Annual Live Racing Season at Sam Houston Race Park gets underway on Friday, January 18 with seven stakes as part of Texas Champions Weekend. The stakes shine the spotlight on accredited Texas-breds with three stakes for fillies and mares on Friday evening and their male counterparts competing in four featured events on Saturday, January 19. One of the most anticipated races is the $100,000 Star of Texas Stakes, for four-year-olds and up.Past champions of the mile and one-sixteenth main track stakes include Dixie Meister, Waco Hug, Taptam and last year's winner, Coyote Legend.  The ageless veteran, Sandburr notched back-to-back victories in the Star of Texas in 2006 and 2007.

The deadline to nominate runners for 2013 Texas Champions Weekend is January 9. For more information on race dates, stakes and special events,

Class Included Nominated for the $400,000 Houston Ladies Stakes


Sam Houston Race Park will present the inaugural running of the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic on Saturday, January 26, 2013.  Written for fillies and mares, 4-years-old and up, the Houston Ladies Stakes is part of a prestigious evening which will include the Grade III, $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup.

Nominations close on December 28, and the racing office confirmed that trainer Dale Romans is targeting the Houston Ladies Stakes for Class Included. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Include was impressive in 2012, winning six races at Emerald Downs and Hastings Park, including the Grade 3, $100,000 Ballerina Stakes at Hastings on October 8. She shipped to Santa Anita for the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic on November 2, where she ran seventh to defending champion, Royal Delta.
Owned by Michael Feuerborn, Class Included has won 10 of her 18 career starts and was named Emerald Downs Horse of the Meet. Romans is a front-runner for the Eclipse Award as Trainer of the Year. His 2012 standouts included multiple-graded stakes winner Shackleford and Little Mike, who won the Breeders' Cup Turf.  

It was announced last week that Sam Houston Race Park has signed agreements with two television networks to broadcast the this exciting inaugural stakes. HRTV, “the network for Horse Sports" will broadcast a two hour special beginning at 8:00 pm (CT) from Sam Houston Race Park on January 26. The special will include live race coverage and special events as part of the stakes-filled card highlighted by the newly created $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic and the Grade 3, $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup.

In addition to HRTV, Sam Houston Race Park has come to terms with Fox Sports Southwest to provide live local coverage of stakes filled day over its network which spans Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Promotions for the January 26 racing festival will be plentiful, including a fund raising event to benefit for the Houston affiliate of the Susan G. Komen For the Cure®. Since 1982, Komen has led the way in the fight against breast cancer. Sam Houston Race Park will donate $1 for each guest attending the Park on January 26, 2013.

Pledge Your Support for Let Texans Decide

Horsemen and racing fans can show their support for Texas racing by supporting Let Texans Decide! The campaign is a coalition of state business leaders, horsemen, community organizations, and Texas citizens committed to passing legislation at the Texas Capitol that will put expanded gaming on the ballot for the voters of Texas to decide. The mission is to press state leaders to pass legislation outlining a responsible, conservative plan for gaming and provide citizens the opportunity to vote on where Texas dollars get spent. 

Racing fans can get involved by writing letters to their legislators or simply signing an online petition. Close to 5,000 Texans have signed it already; it is as simple as clicking on this link. Let your voice be heard so that tax dollars can remain in Texas for jobs, healthcare and education. Texas racing and breeding needs your support!

Dates Announced for the 2013 Kentucky Derby Future Wager

It's never too early to begin following the road to the Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs recently announced the dates for the three wagering pools for its Kentucky Derby Future Wager as well as the single pool for its Kentucky Oaks Future Wager in 2013.

Sam Houston Race Park will participate in the future wagers, which will be offered Friday-through-Sunday on the following dates:
Pool 1: Feb. 8-10 (12 weeks in advance of Derby)
Pool 2: March 1-3 (nine weeks in advance of Derby)
Pool 3: March 22-24 (six weeks in advance of Derby)

Executive Prince

The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager Pool for 2013 will run concurrently to the March 1-3 Derby Future pool.

Follow the "Road to the Derby" at Sam Houston Race Park. Enjoy daily simulcast action and Derby prep races from Santa Anita, Aqueduct, Fair Grounds and Oaklawn Park, which opens on January 11. For a complete list of post times as well as stakes races at tracks across the country, visit

Executive Prince Scores at Hialeah Park for Trainer Judd Kearl
Judd Kearl, who won his fifth Sam Houston Race Park leading Quarter Horse trainer title in May, scored a stakes win last weekend at Hialeah Park. Executive Prince won the $20,000 Bienvenido De Nuevo Stakes following multiple claims of foul lodged against the unofficial winner, Freaking.

Executive Prince, a 4-year-old Executive Menace gelding was bred in Texas by Scarlett Hill Farm, Inc. He has made three starts at Sam Houston Race Park for owners Bennie and Teresa Jeter, including the 2012 Sam Houston
Classic (G2); his Hialeah stakes victory was his fifth win in 22 career starts. Under jockey
Agustin Silva, Executive Prince completed the 350 yard course in :17.895 seconds.

Janet VanBebber Weds David James
Executive Prince Janet VanBebber, the popular and accomplished Quarter Horse trainer and winner of six titles at Sam Houston Race Park, married Oklahoma horseman David James on Saturday, December 15. 

VanBebber has been one of the most dominant forces on the Texas and Louisiana Quarter Horse circuits for over a decade. Since 1993, the California native has trained the earners of more than $13.4 million, and she is No. 17 on the sport's list of all-time trainers by earnings.

Earlier this year VanBebber announced that she was dispersing her public stable, and devoting more time to her personal life. Surrounded by friends and family, including daughter, Taylor Anne, VanBebber and James were married in a sunrise ceremony and will reside in Wayne, Oklahoma. Congratulations to the happy couple!

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