April 19, 2014
KISS MY HOCKS SENSATIONAL IN THE
$563,950 SAM HOUSTON FUTURITY (G2)
AT SAM HOUSTON RACE PARK
Mister Big Breaks His Maiden in the $167,300 Sam Houston Derby (G3)
The finals of the richest race of the 2014 Quarter Horse Meeting, the $563,950 Sam Houston Futurity (G2) took place tonight at Sam Houston Race Park, and it’s safe to say, that another star has emerged.
Kiss My Hocks drew considerable attention when he ran in trials here on March 29. Not only did the son of Tempting Dash win his 330-yard trial in a time of :16.433, he broke a track record of :16:514 seconds set on July 5, 2002 by Pies Power Play.
Trainer Toby Keeton had all the faith in the world in his colt, reporting that he came out of the trial in peak condition and would run an equally good race in the final.
“Never fear when Toby is near,” quipped the popular conditioner.
However, Keeton was not near this evening. He was at Remington Park overseeing the Oklahoma contingent, including Jody Pops Zoomer in the Bob Moore Memorial Stakes. His capable wife, Cindi saddled Kiss My Hocks and Keeton was right; there was nothing to fear.
The sorrel colt broke from the rail under rider Luis Vivanco and benefitted when Jettin Cosmos and Sixes Down bore out, leaving a clear path on the inside of the track. Vivanco kept his charge to task, crossing the wire in :16.719 seconds, earning a speed index of 99.
It was a proud moment for owners Conda Maze and Tyler Graham, who bred the son of Tempting Dash out of the Tres Seis mare Romancing Mary, with John Mayers.
“I’ve always told everybody that this horse has not disappointed me a day since I raised him,” said Graham. “We have a good team and he knows he’s a superstar.”
"We thank Toby, Cindi and all the boys on the backside," added Maze. "He’s a special athlete; I come out every morning and love this horse.”
This was the first Sam Houston Futurity for Keeton, who will celebrate his 50th birthday on June 6.
“I was never worried about the draw,” said Keeton via telephone from Remington Park. “The good horses can carry their speed from anywhere.”
Glimpse of Dash owned by R. Jaime Flores, ran second with jockey Saul Ramirez, Jr. in the irons.
“He was running well at the end, but we could not catch the winner,” said Ramirez, Jr., who has won the Sam Houston Futurity twice. ”That horse is something special.”
Second fastest qualifier, Quic Carter ran third, followed by Cosmo Traffic, Tres Air, Sixes Down, A Cartel Legend, Smile Big Time, String Bet and Jettin Cosmos.
Kiss My Hocks returned $5.80 for the win and picked up a winner’s check in the amount of $225,580. Maze said Kiss My Hocks will make his next start at Ruidoso Downs.
Mister Big Breaks His Maiden in the $167,300 Sam Houston Derby (G3)
Six trials were run on Friday, March 28 for the $167,300 Sam Houston Derby (G3). The third-fastest qualifier, Mister Big ran the race of his life to break his maiden and win a graded stake.
Bred and owned by Jerry Windham, the 3-year-old son of Shazoom broke like a rocket from the rail under Jose Alvarez. He held off a late charge from Daytona B, posting a final time of :17.576 for the 350-yard final.
“The horse has changed since we gelded him,” said Kearl. “Since last fall, he trained like a big horse and not a stud colt.”
Windham showed patience with his homebred, who ran in trials for the Rainbow Futurity at Ruidoso and qualified for the Texas Classic Futurity at Lone Star, but never found the winner’s circle.
“He showed enough talent that if we gelded him and started over that he would do okay and he sure did,” said Windham. “He got out good and I thought they would catch him, but he ran a really great race.”
Mister Big was overlooked by the betting public, but rewarded his backers with a win payout of $29.00. He earned $66,920 this evening.
Cartel Arrangement heads into the final with a record of three wins from five starts.
Big Dashing Perry, winner of the 2013 Firecracker Futurity at Delta Downs, ran third and SS Paydirt completed the superfecta.
Lethal Perry Much the Best in the $50,000 Sam Houston Juvenile
The $50,000 Sam Houston Juvenile Stake kicked off the stakes action on Saturday evening. The stakes featured American Quarter Horses that competed in trials for the Sam Houston Futurity on March 29, but missed the cut-off time of :16.753 seconds.
Lethal Perry, owned by JJ Cool L LLC and trained by Trey Wood, ran fourth to fastest qualifier Kiss My Hocks and was clocked at :16.433. The daughter of Mr Jess Perry showed her talent this evening, closed gamely under jockey Esgar Ramirez. Her winning time this evening was :16.896.
“All the Wood horses are professional,” said Esgar. “She didn’t break that well, but really finished well.”
Blane Wood saddled the filly for his son, Trey. She earned a speed index of 94 and paid $5.60 as the favorite in the six-horse field.
"She had the first race jitters in her trial," said Wood. "But Esgar figured it out. She didn’t break that well, but got going in the end."
Lovethewayyoulie, owned by Kiss My Hocks owners, Graham and Maze, was second by a neck and Bigtime Connoisseur ran third.
Challenge Finalists to Return on Sunday, May 11
Seven trials on Thursday, April 17 were contested for the John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge. Red Corona Warrior was impressive in his debut, under jockey Saul Ramirez, Jr., then drew away from the field to post the top qualifying mark of :17.850 seconds. Trained by Yasmine Fierro, the Terrazas Family homebred won the first 350-yard trial of the evening, and will return on May 11 hoping to secure a berth to the $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship on October 18 at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa. A list of the ten qualifiers can be viewed at stallionesearch.com.
Db Captain King posted the fastest qualifying time of 19.851 seconds in trials on Friday evening for the Adequan Texas Derby Challenge at the distance of 400 yards. The gelded son of Captain Courage, bred and owned by Dude Briggs was ridden by Santos Carrizales and prevailed in the second trial over Pruittized. Trained by Tooter Jordan, Db Captain King broke his maiden at Sam Houston Race Park last April, before shipping to Ruidoso Downs to compete in trials for the Rainbow Futurity. To see more on the ten finalists for the Adequan Texas Derby Challenge, visit stallionesearch.com.
The finals of both Challenge stakes are set for Sunday, May 11, which is closing day for the Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse meet.
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