Jun 17, 2022


HOUSTON, TX –Sam Houston Race Park hosted the final of the $130,713 John Deere Juvenile Challenge (G2) and $91,163 Adequan Derby on Thursday, June 16. Trials were run on May 26 to determine the ten qualifiers for both regional qualifying stakes for the 2022 Bank of America Challenge Championships. 


Apollitical Dynamite Breaks His Maiden in the $130,713 John Deere Juvenile Challenge (G2)

The powerhouse duo of trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. and Victor Urieta, Jr. combined for the second year in a row in the $130,713 John Deere Juvenile Challenge (G2).  Last year, it was a dominant performance by De Laurentis and this evening, the victory went to Apollitical Dynamite who broke his maiden, crossing the wire of the 350 yard final in :18.121 seconds.


Bred in Oklahoma by Wallace Johnson, the colt by Apollitical Jess ran here on May 13 before finishing second to fastest qualifier Leavinematthebar in his trial. Tonight, he broke extremely well and powered to the wire, winning by a margin of  1¾ lengths over Jess Good Wine who was ridden by Luis Vivanco.

"There was a little traffic at the start, but my horse was ready to run," Urieta said.

Trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. saddled the $87,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale graduate, for owner Red Sea Racing Stables, LLC. He has always acknowledged the importance of  Urieta to the barn’s success.

"I give all credit to Victor,” said Diaz following the trophy presentation. “We ran him with a flipping halter, but Victor knows this horse and told me he didn't need it. "We will go to Retama but need to sit down with the owners and talk about his next start."

Jess Good Wine earned $26,143 for his runner-up effort. The $35,000 Heritage Place Fall Mixed Sale graduate races for owner Guns Up Racing and is trained by recent Ruidoso QH Futurity(G1) winning trainer Toby Keeton. 

Oklahoma Futurity(G2) finalist Capo On Fire finished a neck back in third to earn $13,071 for owner Luz Hernandez. Trainer Jailinne Venzor trains the gelded son Capo de Capi.  Bred in Oklahoma by Rick and Connie Dickson, Capo On Fire has one win in five starts and has earned $32,650.


Apollitical Dynamite returned $12 to win, $6.20 to place and $4.20 to show.  He picked up $60,128 for the win tonight to bring his bankroll to $64,778.


Fastest qualifier Leavinematthebar finished fourth for breeder/owners James R. Hrabovsky and J. Leann Nalls and trainer Brian Stroud., Lota Cruising, Jes An Angel, Fabulous Brieanna, Ponte Duro and Flaming Pistol Pete completed the field. Time For A Hero was scratched.


Apollitical Dynamite will represent Texas in the $125,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) at Horseshoe Indianapolis on October 22. This is the first time the Shelbyville, Indiana racetrack will host the championships, which have been held at the Downs of Albuquerque for the past two years.  


Hes Jess Dealin Cruises  in the $91,163 Adequan Derby 

Pete Scarmardo’s homebred Hes Jess Dealin set the fastest qualifying time in trials on March 26 and did not disappoint as the favorite in tonight in the $91,163 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge.


Ridden by 2021 AQHA Champion Jockey Francisco Calderon, the gelded son of Dealagame out of the Mr Jess Perry mare Jess Marcy is trained by John Stinebaugh became a stakes winner this evening. 


The sorrel gelding has won three of his eight starts and qualified for the final of the John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge regional race last June at Sam Houston Race Park. Calderon won an allowance last October at Lone Star Park aboard Hes Jess Dealin and gave his insight into his running style.


“He broke pretty well tonight, which was great, as in the past, this horse didn't break on top, but always finished well," explained Calderon. "Tonight, I felt the horse to the inside had a big lead, so I asked him and he responded. He was long gone."


Calderon has been in demand in both Texas and Ruidoso Downs, thanked Scarmardo for his support.

"I've won a lot of races for Pete and Leon (Bard). Always nice to win for him and I'm looking forward to making my first trip to Indiana," Calderon added.

Scarmardo was at Sam Houston for the victory and was pleased with the progress Hes Jess Dealin has made in his 3-year-old campaign.


"He finally learned how to leave the gates " said Scarmardo, "His style was to make a late run, but had too much ground to make up. He's starting to show more talent."


Revenant Dynasty, who also finished second to Hes Jess Dealin in the Adequan Derby trials, earned $18,233 for his second-place effort today. The son of A Revenant was ridden by current leading Ali Rivera.  Finishing third was Sir Thorn Dash under jockey Pedro Espinosa. Donttemptthisnatural, Brookes Brioni, Jlc Walk Don’t Run, Biden Record and Ryder Lee completed the field. Catch and Toro O Nada were scratched.


Hes Jess Dealin ($3.40) will make his next start at Retama Park and is paid into the Retama Park Derby. The victory today secured him a berth into the $150,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G3) at Horseshoe Indianapolis on October 22. For more information on the 2022 Bank of America Challenge Championships, CLICK HERE.


Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse Meet Wraps on Saturday, June 18

Live racing continues on Friday, June 17 at 6:45 pm. The final night of the meet will take place on Saturday, June 18 with the following six stakes as well as the presentation of the end of the meet awards to leading owner, trainer and jockey: 


$50,000 Jesse Yoakum Memorial 870 Stakes            3 YO & Up                870 yards

$50,000 Miss Sam Houston Stakes                            F & M 3 YO & Up     330 yards

$50,000 Sam Houston 250 Stakes                              3 YO & Up                 250 yards

$50,000 Sam Houston 550 Stakes                              3 YO & Up                 550 yards

$40,000 Sam Houston Starter Stakes                         3 YO & Up                 350 yards

$100,000 Willie Hickman Memorial                          3 YO & Up                400 yards



About Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located just 15 miles from downtown Houston.  Owned by Penn National Gaming. Inc., the racetrack, which opened in 1994, offers a variety of attractions including a Suite Level featuring luxurious suites overlooking the racetrack, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and the Jockey Club. For more information on upcoming live racing, shows, events and tickets, please visit www.shrp.com


Photos:  Coady Photography