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News and Media

May 8, 2013


Spring Concert Series Concludes Saturday, May 11 With a
Performance by Texas Country Artist Kevin Fowler,  presented by Auto Nation

Sam Houston Race Park hosts its final two weekends of live American Quarter Horse racing with a multitude of special events and stakes action.  There will be no live racing on Thursday, May 9 as Sam Houston Race Park will host a special Sunday racing program in honor of Mother's Day on May 12.  First post is 1:00 p.m. with a sumptuous Mother's Day Brunch offered in the Winner's Circle Restaurant.

Friday night's action, which begins at 7:00 p.m. features an excellent field for the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic.  Post time for Saturday, May 11 is 6:00 p.m. with top Billboard Country Music artist, Kevin Fowler taking the Bud Light Stage following live racing. Fowler's concert, presented by Auto Nation,  will wrap up the 2013 Spring Concert Series at Sam Houston Race Park.   Racing and music fans will receive FREE concert admission with their $6 general admission tickets to live racing before 8:00 p.m. Admission will be $20 for guests arriving after 8:00 p.m.


Sam Houston Race Park to Simulcast the 138th Preakness Stakes
Orb's gritty performance 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 Kentucky Derby entrants Mylute, Goldencents, Normandy Invasion, Oxbow, Itsmyluckyday, Vyjack and Will Take Charge.  as well as some new faces, including Departing, winner of the $50,000 Texas Heritage Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park on March 2.

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
1:00 p.m.       1st Live  Sam Houston Race
5:20 p.m.       Running of the 138th Preakness Stakes

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.

Stakes Debut at Sam Houston Race Park Successful for Departing
One of the most interesting Preakness contenders has a Houston connection. Departing, winner of the $50,000 Texas Heritage Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park on March 2 is already receiving national attention. 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.

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

Stall shipped Departing back to his Fair Grounds base where he ran third in the Grade 1, $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby on March 30. That was the first loss for the Kentucky bred son of War Front out of the Pulpit mare, Leave.  Fortunately, he rebounded in stellar fashion to defeat 13 rivals in the Grade 3, $750,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Race Course last month. Formerly one of the Derby prep races, the Illinois Derby was dropped this year when the new points system was initiated in 2013.  Departing has won four of his five starts and boasts career earnings of $628,000.

"We're running the in Preakness," confirmed Stall.  "With 3-year-olds, you are always looking for a developing trend and improvement after each race. He is training well and we are looking for even better things from him in the future."

Competitive Field Set for the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic on Friday
Friday's feature, the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2), to be run at 440 yards, has attracted an exceptional field of ten older horses.  Mr Truly Uno has been installed as the 4-1 morning line favorite. Owned by Sally Box, the 6-year-old Texas -bred won the TQHA 550-Stakes last summer at Retama Park and ships to Sam Houston off a runner-up finish in the SLM Big Daddy Stakes at Remington Park on March 16. Trainer Esteban Rubio has given the mount to Jose Montoya, who will break from the far outside post.  Sassmaster, winner of the 2012 Sam Houston Futurity for owner Macedonio Lozano is the high earner in the field with a career bankroll of $251,478. He lunged out of the gate in his trial race on March 29, but is likely to improve in his second start off the layoff.

The field also includes JC My Diamond Man, winner of the $20,000 Harris County Stakes on opening weekend at Sam Houston Race Park. The 8-year-old son of Streakin La Jolla has been a wonderful performer for his owner Clem D. Nava, III.

Nava paid just $2,000 for JC My Diamond Man, who has now earned $176,142  and improved his career record to 17 wins from 48 starts.

Ricardo Aguirre will ride for trainer Brian Stroud, whose runner has won a distances of 440, 550 and 870 yards.

“He's won at 440 yards, but 550 might be his best distance,” said Stroud. “I like his post position (1); he could get a good trip if he breaks well,  but if  trails at the start, he should have a hole to shoot for.”

Nava and Stroud have taken great care of the veteran runner.

"We don't run him that often or train on him very hard between races," said Stroud.  "He has a big heart and always tries hard, every step of the way."

Sam Houston Race Park's leading conditioner Judd Kearl won the 2010 and 2012 editions of the Sam Houston Classic with Comin Thru and Nowurtalkin, respectively.  This year he will saddle Executive Prince for owners Benny and Terri Jeter.

The Sam Houston Classic, will be run as the ninth race of the card, with post time set at 10:28 p.m. (CT). 

Distance Specialists Square off in the $25,000 Governors' Cup Marathon
Kite Flyer, winner of the $23,400 Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge at Sam Houston Race Park on April 20, headlines the field in Saturday's $25,000 Governors' Cup Marathon.  The 6-year-old Texas-bred son of Royal Quick Dash is trained by Ryan Basham and will be ridden by Santos Carrizales in the 870 yards stakes.

“He’s a great 870 horse; one of the greatest I have ever ridden,” said Carrizales.

The seven-horse field includes Dashers Midnight and Bok Man, who finished second and third, respectively in the Red Cell Distance Challenge. Wahoo drew the rail for trainer John Buchanan and  makes his Sam Houston debut off an eight-length 870-yard allowance win last month at Remington Park.  JC My Diamond Man, who is cross-entered in Friday's Sam Houston Classic.

Owned by Dark Horse Partnership, Kite Flyer won the Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge in 2011 and advanced to the final at Los Alamitos, finishing third to Yin Your Eyes. 

Saturday's 11-race live card will also feature two stakes for Paints: the $17,605 Colors of Houston Paint Futurity (G2) and the $18,100 Colors of Texas Paint Maturity (G2)

Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings
Judd Kearl, who has won the leading trainer title at Sam Houston Race Park five times, moved up into a tie for first place with Manuel Vega, Jr. Both horsemen have won ten races since the Quarter Horse season began on March 28.   Juan Carlos Saucedo, Jose S. Espinosa, Trey Wood follow closely with nine victories. Two other trainers  Guy Hopkins and Mike Robbins are in striking distance of the title as both have each saddled seven winners.

2011 Sam Houston Race Park leading rider Luis Vivanco remains solidly in the lead in the jockey standings. Vivanco has 22 wins with Ricardo Aguirre second with 13 victories. Santos Carrizales and Luis Ramirez are tied for third place as both have won 12 races. Last year's leading rider Rodrigo Vallejo rounds out the top five with 11 trips to the winner's circle.

Jose S. Espinosa added three wins last week to remain the leader in the owner standings with seven victories to date.  Antonio Delgado, Jr. and Michael Amburn have both won four races.  Meryl and Joe Kirk Fulton 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 www.shrp.com.

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