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HOUSTON (January 12, 2009)—MAXXAM Inc., parent company of Sam Houston Race Park (, has announced the promotion of Andrea Young as President and Chief Operating Officer for The Park as well as Valley Race Park (  In addition, Young will join the company’s Board of Directors.

Young, who previously served as Chief Operating Officer for Sam Houston Race Park, will assume similar duties at Valley Race Park effective immediately.  Young’s duties include the oversight of all day-to-day operating activities for both companies, including revenue and sales growth; expense, cost and margin control; monthly, quarterly and annual financial goal management; racing, facility operations, sales, marketing, human resources and business administration.  Young will also establish and maintain performance goals, allocate resources and assess policies for senior management.

Young was first hired in 2007 and has seen considerable success since joining the Houston horse track.  

“Our primary goal has been to establish ourselves as a one of the premier destinations for horse racing in the state of Texas,” said Young. “And with the addition of our newest venue, The Showgrounds, we have also positioned our company as a leader in Houston entertainment.  I am pleased with our progress and excited about the opportunity to reach all of our goals in the years to come.”

Shawn Hurwitz, President of MAXXAM Inc. and The Park’s CEO, commented, “Much has changed at Sam Houston Race Park since April 2007.  Our customers are happier and our employees are working in a more energized environment.  This is a result of great leadership by Andrea.”

Valley Race Park is home to greyhound racing and year-round Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse and greyhound simulcasting.  Under the ownership of Sam Houston Race Park, Valley Race Park was re-opened in 2000, and has strived to become the best entertainment value in the region.  The park provides the community with several hundred jobs and is a significant contributor to the city of Harlingen.

Prior to joining Sam Houston Race Park, Young served as President and CEO of The Houston Comets (WNBA) for almost two years.  Young moved to Houston in 2000, to join the Houston Rockets organization where she was a key member of the team responsible for the development, design, construction and opening of Toyota Center.  While with the Rockets, she also served as Director of Event Marketing and Booking where she was responsible for attracting and marketing events at the new facility including concerts, family shows and other special events including the 2006 NBA All Star Game. 

In addition to her responsibilities at Sam Houston Race Park, Young serves on the Board of Directors of Girls Incorporated of Houston and the Executive Women’s Partnership.

A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Young began her career in sports and entertainment with the Tennessee Titans in media relations.  Young lives in Houston with her husband, John, and their young son.

Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located 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 Jockey Club.  The Park’s newest addition, The Showgrounds, is an all-ages venue that hosts annual Country, Classic Rock and Contemporary concert events throughout the year.  For more information on upcoming shows, events and tickets, please visit

More articles regarding Young’s promotion can be found at:


Spectacular Rides, Games and More For the Whole Family
December 19, 2008 Through January 19, 2009

WHAT:           Sam Houston Race Park ( will host a Winter Carnival in the parking lot of the facility from Friday, December 19, 2008 through Sunday, January 25, 2009.  The month-long festival features thrilling rides for adults and kids, exciting boardwalk games, an array of carnival food, prizes and more.  Tickets are $20 all-you-can-ride and can be purchased at the event. Parking for the event is free.  For more information visit

WHO:             Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located 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 Jockey Club.  The Park’s newest addition, The Showgrounds, is an all-ages venue that hosts annual Country, Classic Rock and Contemporary concert events throughout the year.  For more information on upcoming shows, events and tickets, please visit

WHEN:           Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - Sunday, January 25, 2009
                        Monday – Thursday              4 p.m.  – 11 p.m.
                        Friday – Sunday                     1 p.m. – 11 p.m.                     

WHERE:        Sam Houston Race Park          
                       7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway W
                       Houston, Texas 77064

TICKETS:      $20 all-you-can-ride; available for purchase on-site.

INFO:             For more information, visit or call (281)-807-8700.

Get ready Texas: '09 session ready to begin

(as seen online at

AUSTIN — Lawmakers huddled for group photos and Texas House employees tested voting equipment Tuesday morning as the Legislature counted down the hours to the start of its 2009 session.

The Legislature is meeting for 140 days in its 81st session. Lawmakers will propose and pass new laws ranging from the serious to the silly, and the impact may be felt for many years to come.

There will be vigorous arguments over public schools, criminal justice and how to best prepare for the next hurricane. Hot-button issues like "Choose Life" license plates, casino-style gambling and a proposed ban on smoking in public places will spark outrage.

Republicans are still in charge, although their grip has loosened a bit.

In the Senate, Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst presides over his fourth session in the GOP-controlled chamber. In the House, Speaker Tom Craddick is being dumped from his leadership post and relative unknown Rep. Joe Straus of San Antonio, another Republican, is set to take over a chamber where his party holds a thin 76-74 majority. Democrats who put their support behind Straus to oust Craddick probably expect some payback.

And Gov. Rick Perry, also a Republican, is gearing up to run for a third full term in 2010, meaning he could be coming in with some bold new ideas.

The current $167 billion budget may sound like a whopper, but it's surprising how far $167 billion doesn't go these days. Comptroller Susan Combs delivered the grim news Monday that the Legislature would have about $9 billion less to spend over the next two years.

Addressing the financial effects of Hurricane Ike, lawmakers will decide whether to put money into a disaster account they created two years ago but never made any deposits in.

Legislators also must consider the future of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Damage to the state's oldest medical school — the island's largest employer and a major provider of indigent care in the state — is estimated to exceed $1 billion, local officials say. The university laid off 3,000 employees from the medical school, and it has fewer available beds.

Galveston may also be in the spotlight as proponents of Las Vegas-style casino gambling again try their luck with the Legislature. Casino proponents could suggest gambling as a way to revive the devastated island's economy. Meanwhile, Texas Indian tribes will work to get limited casinos allowed on their land after a narrow defeat in the House two years ago.

The big hitch in all this: Perry says he doesn't want to expand the footprint of gambling in the state beyond horse and dog racing and the state lottery.

Building roads remains high on Perry's agenda. He'll also join the calls to beef up the state's disaster fund and will look to continue luring jobs to Texas as the state and national economy slump.
Work gets going in earnest in the weeks to come as Straus and Dewhurst will appoint lawmakers to committees, where the Legislature's initial work gets done.

12 – 3 p.m.




Other News from The Jockey Club

Join Matt Shaner in the Jockey Club at Sam Houston Race Park to witness El Gato Malo race in the $150,000 San Fernando G2 stakes race at Santa Anita Park on Saturday, January 17!

El Gato Malo
$150,000 San Fernando (G2)
Saturday, January 17, 2009



Race #



Santa Anita


San Fernando(G2)

Post Time

Post Position



7:07 EST/4:07 PST

8 of 12

Corey Nakatani


El Gato Malo drew post eight of twelve in Saturday's $150,000 San Fernando Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita.  Corey Nakatani will be aboard for the race, and the field looks wide open.  According to Shaner, “We are the high weight in the race which indicates how contentious the race should be.  El Gato Malo comes into the race training well, so we believe his pattern lends itself to a big effort.”

Bloodhorse article -


(As previously printed in Blood-Horse)

Stealth Cat named 2008 Texas Horse of the Year

The Texas Thoroughbred Association honored the owners and breeders of the 2008 Texas Horse of the Year and the respective divisional champions at its annual awards banquet at the Westin Park Central in Dallas on January 10. Several individual awards were also presented, including the Allen Bogan Award for TTA member of the year and the T. I. “Pops” Harkins Award for lifetime achievement.

Kirk Robison’s fleet Stealth Cat was honored as the 2008 Texas Horse of the Year and Texas Champion Older Filly/Mare. Jann K. Jones and James S. Kenney bred Stealth Cat in partnership. The now 5-year-old daughter of Valor Farm stallion Magic Cat won five of 11 races in 2008 for a year-end bankroll of $213,836. Stealth Cat’s dam, Dixie’s Integrity, was recognized as the 2008 Texas Broodmare of the Year.

Other divisional winners are: Older Horse/Gelding, Scrappy Roo, owned by Tawana Cantrell and bred by Dr. David S. Taylor; 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding, Ablaze With Spirit, owned by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable and bred by Donald R. Dizney; 3-Year-Old Filly, Formal Flyer, a John R. Silverthorne Ranch homebred; 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding, Valid Message, owned by H&H Ranch and bred by Ed Few; 2-Year-Old Filly, Bridesmaid, owned by W. S. Farish and bred by the partnership of Farish, James Elkins and BCWT Ltd.

John Adger, racing and bloodstock manager of the former Stonerside Stable, was honored with the T.I. “Pops” Harkins Award for lifetime achievement. A lifelong horseman, Adger has served on the TTA Board of Directors for many years and played an integral part in the passage of pari-mutuel racing in Texas.
Dr. David Stephens, a veterinarian based in Pilot Point, was the recipient of the Allen Bogan Award for TTA member of the year in recognition of his efforts on the legislative front.

The other honorees were Valor Farm owner Clarence Scharbauer Jr., 2008’s leading Accredited Texas-Bred Money Earner; Donald R. Dizney as The Blood-Horse Breeder of the Leading Texas-bred Money Earner in 2008; Supreme Cat as Thoroughbred Times Leading Freshman Sire; and Henry S. Witt Jr.’s O My Darlin Diane, the Champion Texas-bred Claimer.

Peppers Pride retired, will be bred in Kentucky

By Mary Rampellini from DRF

Peppers Pride, who owns the longest winning streak in modern North American history has been retired, her trainer Joel Marr said Thursday morning. She will be sent to Richland Hills Farm in Midway, Ky., in the next few weeks, said Marr. Peppers Pride is currently based at a training center near Sunland Park in New Mexico.

Stallion plans are still being finalized, according to Marr.

Peppers Pride was undefeated in 19 career starts while exclusively in her home state of New Mexico. She made her final career start on Dec. 14 in the $125,000 New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap at Sunland Park.

"She's coming off the best race of her career," Marr said. "She's sound, heallthy, and rather than run another whole season it seemed like the right thing to do."

Peppers Pride is owned by her breeder, Joe Allen. She retires with just over $1 million in earnings.

Churchill Picks Johnson as New Announcer

Churchill Picks Johnson as New AnnouncerMark Johnson
Photo: Churchill Downs

Mark Johnson, one of the most popular and acclaimed horse racing commentators in Britain, will bring his talents to America in 2009 as the new track announcer for Churchill Downs. The announcement was formally made by track officials during at news conference at the historic Louisville, Ky. racetrack Jan. 15.

In our eyes, Mark Johnson is the complete package when it comes to a track announcer,” said Churchill Downs President Steve Sexton. “He is a unique, polished and passionate talent with an absolutely infectious personality. His race calls and pre- and post-race commentary are supremely accurate, descriptive and colorful, and his knowledge of the sport of horse racing and its historical perspective is vast. It all makes for a wonderful and unique entertainment mix and we’re thrilled to showcase his talents to an American and worldwide audience in 2009.”

Johnson becomes only the sixth track announcer in Churchill Downs history and “Voice of the Kentucky Derby” – America’s premier race which has been run every year without interruption since 1875. The 42-year-old native of Skegness, Lincolnshire, England replaces the late Luke Kruytbosch, who unexpectedly passed away July 14, 2008 from an apparent heart attack at age 47.

Johnson’s selection as announcer at Churchill Downs reinforces the historic link that connects England and British racing with the Kentucky track and America’s greatest race.  England’s classic races provided inspiration to Meriwether Lewis Clark, who founded the track and the Kentucky Derby in 1875 after a trip to that country during which he witnessed the Epsom Derby, the British classic for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds that was first run in 1780 and served as a model for the Kentucky Derby. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to witness the American classic when she attended the Kentucky Derby in 2007, and Princess Margaret, the queen’s sister, was on hand to help Churchill Downs celebrate the 100th renewal of the Kentucky Derby in 1974.

When he provides on-track call and commentary for this year’s 135th running of the Kentucky Derby, Johnson will become the first announcer to have called the action in both the Kentucky Derby and the Epsom Derby.

Johnson was part of a select group of five talented guest announcers who each spent one week behind the binoculars and microphone at Churchill Downs during the 2008 Fall Meet. The others were Larry Collmus, Bobby Neuman, Travis Stone and Michael Wrona.  During and after the Fall Meet, opinions from customers were gathered through online surveying, emails and in-person discussions, which played an important role with the selection committee.

“Mark Johnson was the top choice of the committee, the other Churchill interests, and, most importantly, our fans,” said Tom Aronson, Churchill Downs Inc. vice president and member of the selection committee. “We had in excess of 2,000 responses from customers and their input was a very important factor in our final decision. We were very impressed with all of the candidates, but when we looked at what you might call the ‘demographics’ of our surveying, Mark Johnson was an across-the-board winner among more casual fans, regular players in our Twin Spires Club, and people who live in and around Louisville, Kentucky.”

Complete Simulcasting Calendar for this Weekend at The Park!

Come to Sam Houston Race Park for the BEST simulcasting action in town 7 days a
week!  We feature a variety of broadcasts from Oaklawn, Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, the Fair Grounds, Australia and more!  Gates open at 10:30 a.m.

Oaklawn Park             Friday, January 16th 


Dania Beach Stakes



Gulfstream Park


Mr. Prospector Stakes



Gulfstream Park


San Rafael Stakes



Santa Anita


Santa Ynez Stakes



Santa Anita


San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes



Santa Anita


La Senora Handicap



Sunland Park







First Lady Stakes



Gulfstream Park


Sweetest Chant Stakes



Gulfstream Park


El Encino Stakes



Santa Anita







San Marcos Stakes



Santa Anita

How the wager works:

  • Must select the first five finishers in order
  • The wager is offered in the last race from the particular track. This will vary from track to track.
  • If there are no winning tickets, the pools will carryover to next time the wager is offered.

Tracks offering the wager:

  • Hollywood Park
  • Churchill Downs
  • Keeneland
  • River Downs

**All simulcasting tracks subject to the approval of the TXRC.

Super Hi Five Wagers Available at Sam Houston Race Park


WEDNESDAYS: 2X your points on Valley Race Park beginning at NOON
SATURDAY, January 24: $500 Sunshine Millions Handicapping Contest


  • Thursdays: Showvivor Contest - $100 Voucher or 20,000 points(Oaklawn Park First Post 1pm)
  • Wednesdays: 3X Park Rewards points on Valley Race Park AND FREE Valley Stat Attack
    (limit one per player)
  • Sundays: “Twin Quin” – select the quinella in two predetermined races and win $50 OR
    10,000 Park Rewards points

Sam Houston Race Park provides great offers and benefits for our Park Rewards members.  All contest rules can be found on To become a Park Rewards member, visit the Players Lounge located at the North end of the Grandstand on the Paddock Level.  For more information visit the Players Lounge or call 281-807-8278.

Plan Your Next Event

Our conveniently located, multi-functional facility can comfortably accommodate 10 to 10,000 for business, pleasure or a combination of the two!

Find out how to book a group party.