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JESS TEE OFF SUPERB IN THE $600,000 SAM HOUSTON FUTURITY (G2) AT SAM HOUSTON RACE PARK
Trainer Judd Kearl is building a legacy at Sam Houston Race Park and added another tremendous milestone this evening as he won the richest Quarter Horse race in the history of the track, the $600,000 Sam Houston Futurity (G2). Kearl qualified two finalists on March 25 when a record 18 trials were run. His winners included the second-fastest qualifier, Skyy High Perry as well as Jess Tee Off, who was the third-fastest qualifier.
American Quarter horse jockey Rodrigo Vallejo rides first call for Kearl and has his choice of mounts for the final. He opted for Jess Tee Off, a Texas-bred son of Tres Seis, who won his training race on March 9 and had an equally strong effort in his trial victory.
Breaking from post three, Vallejo had an excellent break and Jess Tee Off finished with a huge kick, crossing the wire of the 330-yard final in :16.792.
This was the fourth Sam Houston Futurity victory for Vallejo, who won aboard Royal Shake Em in 1996; Azoom in 2004 and All American Winner in 2005.
Jess Tee Off is owned by L. B. Ranch LLC in Mission Texas. Ben Garza represented the owners in the winner’s circle to accept the trophy.
“This was very exciting,” said Garza. “Last year we looked at the All American Sale book and some friends and I bought him for LB Farms. They are going crazy down in Edinburg, Texas.”
Garza divulged that the group spent $11,000 at the sale. Their eye for a champion was rewarded handsomely as he picked up a check for $240,000 the grade 2 victory.
“I thought he’d run big tonight,” said Kearl. “He was the only horse to qualify after the tenth trial. Rodrigo opted to ride him. The filly (Skyy High Perry) got into a little trouble tonight or I think she would have been right there with him.”
Evans Express, the fifth fastest qualifier, ran a game race under jockey Santos Carrizales to finish a neck behind the winner. Storm Winds was third and the second Kearl-trainee, Skyy High Perry, ran fourth Stone Cole Runner was next, followed by fastest qualifier, Special Royal Corona, RC Straight Runaway, Hiclass Gas, Bovet and Babe At the Bar.
Jess Tee Off ($16.40) is paid into the Texas Classic, but Kearl indicated that he would look for another spot for him before the Lone Star meet.
Stones Puede Prevails in the $152,800 Sam Houston Derby (G2)
Stones Puede, owned by E. Galindo and E.M. Gonzalez, finished behind fastest qualifier, Texas Icon, in trials run on March 26 for the Sam Houston Derby. This evening, under confident handling by rider Luis Vivanco, the gray son of Chiseled in Stone was much the best, leading from the start of the 350 yard stakes and winning in :17.844.
This was the first graded stake victory for trainer Yasmine Medina-Fierro, 26, who has conditioned the Texas-bred to three consecutive wins in 2010, including the Dash For Cash Juvenile last October at Lone Star Park.
“We had a lot of faith in him,” said Medina-Fierro. “We were a little concerned with the inside post, but he did a great job. He did shine tonight.”
Stones Puede ($9.80) earned $61,120 tonight, increasing his career winnings to $90,746. His connections stated that he will be pointed to the Texas Classic at Lone Star Park.
Royal Invasor ran second for trainer Jonathan Castaneda, who indicated that his colt would run in trials for the Adequan Derby.
Massima Impressive Winner of the $25,000 Sam Houston Juvenile Stake
The $25,000 Sam Houston Juvenile Stake was added to the stakes schedule and will feature ten American Quarter Horses that just missed qualifying for the Sam Houston Futurity. Returning to the winner’s circle for her second career victory was Massima, a daughter of Tres Seis, owned and bred by Jorge Haddad. Legendary American Quarter Horse jockey Jacky Martin had the mount and was impressed with the talented filly.
“Jorge told me she usually runs straight and she ran a super good race,” said the 56-year-old. “She stood in the gates perfectly and just did everything like a horse is supposed to.”
“This filly has always been good,” said Haddad. “I was hoping she would qualify for the Sam Houston Futurity, but she needed a race. Jacky is amazing rider and can make a difference.”
Massima ran the distance of 330-yards in :17.05 and paid $15.80 for the win. There was a dead-heat for second between Hiclass Heat and Silver For Me, both trained by Leon Bard.
The 2011 American Quarter Horse continues 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.