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News and Media

May 15, 2013


Second Annual Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Concert for Conservation to Follow Saturday's Racing Program

Sam Houston Race Park hosts its final weekend of live American Quarter Horse racing beginning Thursday, May 17. Fans can enjoy live racing on Thursday and Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. and a special 1:00 pm Saturday afternoon racing program in conjunction with the running of the 138th Preakness Stakes on  Saturday, May 18

Following live racing and the simulcast of the Preakness Stakes, Sam Houston Race Park will host the second annual Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Concert for Conservation concert.  Performers include Dwight Yoakam, Robert Earl Keen, Hayes Carll & Ray Wylie Hubbard.

CCA Texas is a non-profit marine conservation organization comprised of tens of thousands of recreational anglers and coastal outdoor enthusiasts. CCA Texas was formed in 1977 by a small group of recreational anglers who were concerned after drastic commercial overfishing decimated Texas redfish and speckled trout populations. More than a quarter of a century later, CCA Texas continues the spirit of stewardship that started with the “Save the Redfish” campaign.

General admission tickets benefitting CCA Texas are availablefor $25 each and $35 on the day of the show. The Concert for Conservation is a general admission, standing room only, open-air, uncovered event and is open to music fans of all ages. 

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Sam Houston Race Park to Simulcast the 138th Preakness Stakes
Orb's stellar victory in the Kentucky Derby has racing fans rooting for his chances to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.  His next test will be the 138th Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 18, 2013. The second leg of racing's prestigious Triple Crown takes place at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, and Sam Houston Race Park will simulcast the big racing event.

Orb is expected to face Mylute, Goldencents, Oxbow, Itsmyluckyday, Govenor Charlie, Titletown Five and Will Take Charge.  One contender attracting considerable national attention is Departing, winner of the $50,000 Texas Heritage Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park on March 2.

Trained by Al Stall, Jr.  for Claiborne Farm & Adele B. Dilschneider, the talented 3-year-old was undefeated when he made his stakes debut in the one-mile Texas Heritage Stakes. Following the victory, Departing ran third in the Grade 1, Louisiana Derby and was an impressive winner of the $750,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Race Course.

Stall has shipped in plenty of solid stakes horses to Sam Houston Race Park, and has high regard for the Houston main and turf course.

"We have always liked the racing surface at Sam Houston and the timing was perfect for Departing," said Stall in a phone interview before leaving for Maryland. "That stakes was a nice stepping stone for him and he came out of the race with a great deal of confidence."

The schedule of events for Preakness Day at Sam Houston Race Park is as follows:

9:00 a.m.       Gates Open
9:45 a.m.       1st Post from Pimlico
11:00 a.m.     Winner's Circle Buffet opens
1:00 p.m.       1st Live  Sam Houston Race
5:20 p.m.       Running of the 138th Preakness Stakes
5:45 p.m.       First Performer for the CCA Concert for Conservation

Racing fans are invited to enjoy the Chophouse Buffet in the Winner's Circle restaurant for just $25.00 per person, which includes admission, buffet, tax, gratuity, and a table for the entire day’s festivities. 

For those fans unable to be a part of the festivities on Preakness Day, Sam Houston Race Park will offer advance wagering on Friday, May 17.  Fans can place a bet by driving to the valet parking circle from 7:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m.  "Preakness Early Bird Wagering" will also be available on Saturday, May 18  beginning at 7:30 a.m.

Black-Eyed Susan and 'Battle of the Sexes' Jockey Challenge Friday at Pimlico
It will be "Ladies Day"  this Friday at Pimlico when the Maryland racetrack hosts the Grade 2, $500,000 Black-Eyed Susan. Post positions were drawn on May 14 for the 3-year-old filly stakes, which will be run as the 10th race of the Friday afternoon card (3:47 p.m. CT).
Juddmonte Farms Emollient, winner of the Ashland Stakes, leads the field in the mile and one-eighth stakes. Her rivals include  Fiftyshadesofhay with the redhot Joel Rosario in the irons; Maracay, a daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, making her stakes debut;  Toasting, who ran third in the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont Park and Laurel Park stakes winner, Walkwithapurpose.
There are seven stakes on Friday's Pimlico card, including the Grade 3, $300,000 Pimlico Special.  Racing fans can wager on the Pimlico Special-Preakness Stakes Double but must get their bets in by 4:42 p.m. (CT).
Other highlights of the Friday festivities from Pimlico include the inaugural $34,000 Jockey Challenge, a head-to-head competition featuring the country's top riders. The event will benefit the esteemed breast cancer organization, the
Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The Kat in the Hat Leads the Field for the John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday, May 18

Owner and trainer Jose R. Espinosa of Mission, Texas looks forward to more pleasant weather conditions on Saturday for the finals of the $75,690 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge (G3). His Texas-bred 2-year-old, The Kat in the Hat  was the fastest qualifier in trials run on Thursday, May 2. 

The trials took place on one of the coldest nights in the meet, with temperatures dipping into the high 40's and winds clocked at 25 mph. However, Espinosa's runner had no problems that night.

“The weather conditions were tough for everyone,” said Espinosa. “This horse is a late (April) baby and was kind of green in his last race. But, he showed good speed and really surprised us.”

The Kat in the Hat was bred by Sherrie Morace and was ridden to victory by Cipriano Vidana. Espinosa purchased the son of Red Oak Special at the TQHA Yearling Sale for $4,000.

Cristata recorded the second-fastest qualifying time of :17.828 for owner Filimon Saucedo and his son, Juan, who trains the Texas-bred filly.

The 350-yard final is set as the eighth race on Saturday, May 18.  The winner will have an opportunity to represent Texas in the $150,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) at Los Alamitos Race Course on November 9.

Tejas Energy B Fastest Qualifier in Trials for the Adequan Texas Derby Challenge
Four trials were run on May 4 for the $59,850 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge. The final trial produced the fastest time as Tejas Energy B dominated his rivals by over three lengths, covering 400-yards in  :19.817. The 3-year-old Tres Seis colt is owned by Antonio Delgado, Jr.

Luis Vivanco will have the return call on the sorrel colt for trainer Manuel Vega, Jr.  Bred in Texas by Bielau Oaks, Tejas Energy B has a two-race win streak heading into Saturday's final.

"He was lightly raced as a 2-year-old, so he has been very sound coming into this year," said Vega.  "We gelded him which made him much more focused. On Sunday morning after his trial, we  took him to graze and he acted like he was ready to run another race.  His nickname in the barn is 'the rock". 

Vega's grandfather was a trainer and abided by the theory that "you make the horse from the inside out".  His grandson is now devoting himself to training Quarter Horses after a 38-year career as a college administrator.

"Horses are easier to handle than people," quips Vega, who will ship horses to Retama Park, Delta Downs and Ruidoso Downs after the Sam Houston meet wraps up this weekend.

Dash Master Jess won his  trial in :19.992 to record the second-fastest qualifying time, and will be ridden by Manuel Gutierrez on Saturday afternoon. Espinosa owns and trains two of the finalists, Sixes Award and Zamron Moon.

The Adequan Texas Derby Challenge, will be run as the ninth race of the card, with post time set at 4:28 p.m. (CT).   The winner earns a berth into the $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G1) at Los Alamitos Race Course on November 9.

Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings
Vega is the leader in the trainer standings at Sam Houston Race Park heading into the final three days of the 2013 American Quarter Horse meet. The Texas horseman has 11 wins.  Judd Kearl, who has won the leading trainer title at Sam Houston Race Park five times, is tied for second with Jose S. Espinosa; both conditioners have won ten races since the season began on March 28.   Juan Carlos Saucedo and Trey Wood follow closely with nine victories.  Guy Hopkins, Bobby Touchet and Mike Robbins are in striking distance of the title as each have each saddled eight winners.

2011 Sam Houston Race Park leading rider Luis Vivanco remains solidly in the lead in the jockey standings. Vivanco has 24 wins with Santos Carrizales having one of his best showings with 18 trips to the winner's circle. Luis Ramirez won three races last week to move into third place with 15 wins and  Ricardo Aguirre is next with 13 victories.

Jose S. Espinosa added three wins last week to remain the leader in the owner standings with seven victories to date.  Antonio Delgado, Jr. is second with five wins and Michael Amburn and  A.D. Maddox have both won four races.  Meryl and Joe Kirk Fulton, Eleazar Martinez, Mario Gonzalez and Pete Scarmardo follow with three wins each.

Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located just 15 minutes from downtown Houston, and offers a variety of attractions including 16 recently renovated luxury suites overlooking the race track, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and the Champion Energy Services Jockey Club. For more information on upcoming shows, events and tickets, please visit

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