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TRAINER SARAH DAVIDSON MAKING GREAT STRIDES AT SAM HOUSTON RACE PARK

 

Valentine's Day traditionally means flowers, candy, candlelight dinners and other celebrations of romance. For Sam Houston Race Park trainer Sarah Davidson, romance played second fiddle to the thrill of victory. The third generation horsewoman saddled three winners on the February 14 matinee card, and moved into third place in the training standings.

Davidson, 24, is the daughter of Brent and Colleen Davidson, who have been longtime supporters of Texas racing. Sarah learned everything about racing from her father and grandfather. She loves horses and the incredible satisfaction of seeing them win; she has also seen her share of heartaches and disappointments.

When Sarah was in high school, she thought hard about going to college. Eclipse Award winning trainer, Steve Asmussen played a big role in her destiny.

"I remember the year that Steve broke the record for wins (over Jack Van Berg)," recalled Davidson. "My mom wanted me to go to college and he just asked her 'why would you make her go to college if it's not what she wants? He said 'if she's good at this and really wants it, why not let her do it?"

Davidson grins as she recalled that story.

"If he says it's okay, that's pretty cool," said Davidson. "He's doing pretty good for himself."

She took over the Sam Houston string when Brent Davidson was given a 90-day suspension from the stewards at Lone Star Park.

"Our owners were given an option on finding another trainer," said Davidson. "They know that I had been here and knew what I was doing. Most of them chose to remain with me and stay on the same program."

Davidson walks through the 32-horse barn at Sam Houston and has a story on each of the horses in training. Pride in a big turnaround from Gucci Boy, one of her three winners on February 14; disappointment that Caloosahatchee was compromised with a bad break from the gate in the Jersey Lilly Stakes. Finding the right distance was crucial to the winning effort of Lucky Raja and tender loving care will be essential for Stevil, just joined the Davidson barn. The handsome gray 6-year-old ran in the Preakness against Big Brown hopefully will be fit for Lone Star Park. She is also 80% sure that 9-year-old champion claimer, Bullet Crane will come out of retirement and return to action.

"That's my baby," admits Davidson. "He made 81 starts and is the most gentle horse, We would dress him up for Halloween and let my son, Emerson get on him."

In addition to tending to the horses, managing four grooms, a hot walker, a gallop boy and several exercise riders, overseeing morning works six days a week and four days of racing, Davidson has another very special obligation. She is a mother to her 3-year-old son, Emerson.

"He's a handful," said Davidson. "I have a very close-knit family and am fortunate to have their support."

Davidson has been an agent, horse identifier and even did a stint in marketing, but nothing inspired her as much as being around a barn.

"I always wanted to be a trainer," acknowledges Davidson.  "It's all I ever wanted to do."

"Good feed, rest and keeping them happy," replied Davidson when asked about getting her horses fit to run multiple times in the 27-day meet.

Currently Davidson has eight wins; Karl Broberg has 13 wins and Cash Asmussen is second in the standings with nine.

Should her hot streak continue, she would be the only female Thoroughbred trainer in Sam Houston Race Park history to win the training title.

"Female and the youngest," replies Davidson, when asked about reaching that milestone. "I don't want to jinx myself, but I hope things continue to go my way. That's horseracing; so many ups and downs. When it's good, you've got to take it."

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.

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