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$100,000 TWO ALTAZANO AND $100,000 JIM'S ORBIT STAKES SET FOR SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19 AT SAM HOUSTON RACE PARK

 

Two stakes will highlight the Saturday evening card at Sam Houston Race Park. The $100,000 Jim’s Orbit and the $100,000 Two Altazano are races sponsored by the Texas Thoroughbred Association (TTA) for progeny of nominated Texas stallions.  The Texas Stallion Stakes Series (TSSS) is a series run at each of the racetracks in Texas:  Sam Houston Race Park, Retama Park and Lone Star Park.  

In 2005, the TTA renamed each of the Texas Stallion Stakes races to honor a famous Texas Thoroughbred.  The colts and gelding division at Sam Houston Race Park has been named for Jim’s Orbit, who won the Grade 2 Ohio Derby and started in the 1988 Kentucky Derby. The fillies division is a tribute to Two Altazano, winner of the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks in 1994. The accomplished mare, owned by the late Harold V. Goodman, was inducted into the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2003.

Tamtastic who ran second in the $50,000 Groovy Stakes on January 22, leads the field of 11 colts and geldings in the one-mile, main track Jim's Orbit. The son of Early Flyer is trained by Bret Calhoun, who won the $75,000 Rail Splitter Stakes last weekend with Chamberlain Bridge.  Tamtastic is bred by Wayne Sanders, and co-owned by Sanders and Larry Hirsch and has finished first or second in his last four starts. In the seven furlong Groovy Stakes, he finished well to winner Aces N Kings, and will stretch out to a mile for the first time in his career.

"Tamtastic has been training well since the Groovy," said Calhoun. "I think he will give a good account of himself."

Sam Houston Race Park leading rider Quincy Hamilton takes over for Cliff Berry and will break from post position ten.

Winning the Jim's Orbit would have a special significance for jockey Tony McNeil, who will ride Colonial Jones for owner Janie McCright.

"I used to work Jim's Orbit," said McNeil. "He was a big, good looking chestnut with a nice stride. I breezed him at Belmont Park when I was riding for Jimmy Picou. I eventually hooked up with Clarence (Picou), who told me to come ride for him if I ever wanted to go back to the Midwest.  When Remington Park first opened in 1988, I rode for him and won so many races. He was like a second father to me."

McNeil is named on both of the Cash Asmussen-trained colts, Intimidating Money and Colonial Jones. Intimidating Money drew the rail, followed by Hidden Recipe with Chris Landeros riding for Jack Bruner; Maverick Prince for trainer Brian House; Pacheco, also trained by Calhoun; Alli's Legend; Powerfully; Colonial Jones; Halifax Flyer; Jaded Angel and Tamtastic.

Three-year-old fillies will also compete at the distance of one mile in the $100,000 Two Altazano Stakes. Trainer Steve Asmussen has two seeking their first stakes win.  Gray Cat, a daughter of Wimbledon owned by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, broke her maiden last July at Lone Star Park. Jockey Chris Landeros has the mount and will break from post position three. Quincy Hamilton has the return call on Intimidating Woman, bred by Keith Asmussen. The bay filly ran third in the $50,000 Bara Lass on Texas Champions Day. Patty's Pride had the lead in the Bara Lass, but lost by a nose to the fast-closing Playgirl's Prospect. The Bret Calhoun-trainee drew the rail with Larry Taylor in the irons.

The $100.000 Two Altazano Stakes will run as the eighth race followed by the $100,000 Jim's Orbit as race 9 on the Saturday evening card.

The 2011 Thoroughbred meet continues through Monday, March 7th, with post times set for Friday and Saturday (7 p.m.), Sunday (5 p.m.) and Monday (1:20 p.m.). Live American Quarter Horse racing will start on Friday, March 11th and run through Sunday, May 15th with races every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For the full calendar of Sam Houston Race Park’s 2011 live race dates, visit www.shrp.com. 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 19 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. Sam Houston Race Park Platinum Partners include Bud Light, Verizon Wireless and Champion Energy Services. For more information on upcoming shows, events and tickets, please visit www.shrp.com.

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Offered This Weekend
Racing fans interested in placing a future wager on the 2011 Kentucky Derby will have their first chance this weekend.  Sam Houston Race Park will host the first of the three advance-wagering pools for this anticipated event. Wagering will begin on Friday, February 18 at 11:00 a.m. (CT) and close on Sunday, February 20 at 5:00 p.m. 

Uncle Mo, Brethren, Dialed In and Jaycito are among the 23 horses listed as Derby candidates as well as a 24th betting interest, which will cover the mutuel field of all other 3-year-old Thoroughbreds.  There is a significant change in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager as exacta betting will be offered as part of that wager for the first time, with a minimum $2 wager accepted.

The other two future wager pools for the Derby are set for March 11-13, and April 1-3 with both exacta and win wagering. There will be a single pool for the Kentucky Oaks on March 11-13 with win and exacta wagering.

Real-time odds and other information is available at www.KentuckyDerby.com.

Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings

A very competitive battle for leading rider continues at Sam Houston Race Park with Quincy Hamilton maintaining the edge heading into the fifth week of the meet. Hamilton, who won the Houston title in 2005 and 2006, has 15 wins from 78 starts.  Lindey Wade is second with 14 victories and Chris Landeros follows closely with 13 wins. Eguard Tejera is fourth with 12 firsts and  Tony McNeil has made 9 trips to the winner's circle to round out the top five.

Karl Broberg, who shared leading trainer honors with Danny Pish last year at Sam Houston, remains in sole possession of first place as 13 of his 65 starters have won since the meet began on January 21. Cash Asmussen moved into second with 9 wins and Sarah Davidson, who won three races on the Valentine's Day card, is third with 8 victories. Pish and Joe Offolter are tied for fourth with six wins each and Eleuterio Martinez, Jr. follows with five  winners.

In the owner standings, Janie McCright tops the standings with seven victories.  Jose Luis Espinoza is second with three wins. End Zone Athletics, Eleuterio Martinez, Jr, Anjo Racing, Inc., Stephen Baker, Charles Hukill and Benjamin Gonzalez, Florida Prime LLC, Sam Guarino and David Ramold are tied for third with two wins each.

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