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May 7, 2024


Prominent Texas Horsemen Leon Bard and John Buchanan To be Honored with Named Stakes on Friday Night’s Card

HOUSTON, TX -Racing fans and longtime Texas Quarter Horse supporters are in for a treat on Friday, May 10 when Sam Houston Race Park will host five stakes. Post time for the ten-race card is 6:30 pm (Central)  and will include the following featured events:


Friday, May 10

Race 6:            $50,000 Leon Bard Memorial Stakes 3 YO 350 yards

Race 7:            $50,000 John Buchanan Memorial Stakes 3 YO Fillies 350 yards

Race 8:            $69,938 Adequan Derby 3 YO 400 yards

Race: 9            $75,000 Sam Houston Classic(G2) 3 YO & up 440 yards

Race 10:          $102,392 John Deere Juvenile(G3) 2 YO 350 yards


Millionaire San Lorenzo Jet Faces  Seven in the $75,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2)

It is always a thrill to see experienced older horses compete at the “classic” Quarter Horse distance of 440 yards, and this year’s edition will not disappoint! Eight runners are entered with San Lorenzo Jet installed as the 8-5 morning-line favorite.


San Lorenzo Jet  is owned by Rogelio Marquez, Jr. and has won eight of his ten career starts, including the 2002 LQHBA Louisiana Million Futurity. Bred in Louisiana by Jennie and Tim Rogers, the son of Jet Black Patriot eclipsed the million-dollar earnings mark earlier this year with a victory in the Winner’s Circle Church Stakes at Louisiana Downs. Marquez, who lives in Rosenberg, Texas, just south of Houston, is looking forward to attending the races with his family.


“This race is perfect for him,” said Marquez. “The classic distance is the true test for Quarter Horses. “Jet” made one previous 440 start at Ruidoso Downs in trials for the All American Derby. He drew a good post for this, and we always enjoy running at Sam Houston Race Park; I have always felt that it is one of the best track surfaces in the country.”


Marquez won the 110-yard Texas Twister here in 2017 with Wild Tycoon and had a memorable evening at Sam Houston on March 21,2021 when his San Lorenzo became a millionaire, winning his trial for the Sam Houston Derby.


“These milestones mean a great deal to me and my family,” added Marquez. “We name the majority of our horses in honor our family birthplace,San Lorenzo, Mexico. My dad and I come up with the names; San Lorenzo Jet is sired by Jet Black Patriot, so that one was easy!”


Trained by Jesus Marquez, San Lorenzo Jet will be ridden by David Alvarez, who piloted The Louisiana Cartel to victory in the 2011 Sam Houston Classic.


Last year’s leading Quarter Horse conditioner Juan Diaz, Jr. will saddle A Famous Ribbon for owner Adrian Aleman. The 5-year-old son of One Famous Eagle began his career at Los Alamitos and will make his Sam Houston debut off  a second-place finish in the 440-yard Remington Park Challenge Championship.


Jess the Leader is a multiple stakes winner, bred and owned by Pete Scarmardo and will be ridden by Oscar Andrade, Jr.  The gelded son of Jess Louisiana Blue was honored as the 2023 Texas Quarter Horse Association (TQHA) Champion Older Gelding and TQHA also presented Scarmardo and his wife, Jo, with a Special Recognition Trophy for Cartel Leader, the mare that produced Jess The Leader. John Stinebaugh trains the 5-year-old gelding, as well as  Hes a Jet One, ,who qualified for both the All American Derby as well as the Texas Classic Derby at Lone Star Park.


Donna and Kie Mushinski bookend the field with their homebreds Dm Moonpie and Dm Preacher Boy.

Since its first running in 1994, the Sam Houston Classic boasts a stellar list of champions including Streakin Sin Tacha, The Louisiana Cartel andKool Kue Baby as well as AQHA world champions Tailor Fit and Jessies First Down.

$50,000 John Buchanan Memorial Stakes Features Eight Texas-Bred Fillies

The $50,000 John Buchanan Memorial Stakes is named in honor of Texas horseman John Buchanan, who passed away in 2020. The resident of Peaster, Texas, was a “hands on” trainer who took extraordinary care of each of his horses throughout a career that spanned over 30 years. He was prominent in each of the Texas racetracks with major stakes wins at Sam Houston Race Park from Pivotal Decision, Gone Celebrating, Lead Story and the diminutive filly, No Fees. Buchanan gained national recognition winning the 1987 All American Futurity (G) with Elans Special, and with Brimmerton who won the Rainbow Derby and All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs. 


The notable accredited Texas-bred fillies in the field include Pete Scarmardo’s Ladys Gotta Jet, who drew the rail as the 2-1 favorite. Sired by Ec Jet One out of one of Scarmardo’s top mares, Lady Lilia,  she was a finalist in the 2023 TQHA Sale Futurity at Retama Park and exits an allowance win here on April 19. 


Donna Mushinski’s homebred DM Bella Star has two wins to date and is the high earner in the field. The daughter of Coronas Leaving You prepped for this in a $18,000 allowance here last month. She was a gate to wire winner under jockey Froylan Ramirez, who has the return call. 


John Boegner will saddle Boks Dream Catcher who will break from the far outside post under rider Adrian Morales. The daughter of Boknaai, who was bred by Boegner ran sixth in the 2023 John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge. This will be her ninth lifetime start.


The John Buchanan Memorial will run as the seventh race on the program. Buchanan’s wife, Iris and daughter Amanda, will be at Sam Houston Race Park to present the trophy.


Gotagogh Headlines the Field  in the $50, 000 Leon Bard Memorial Stakes 

Quarter Horse trainer Leon Bard who was a leading conditioner at Sam Houston Race Park from its opening in 1994-2021, will be honored Friday night in the $50, 000 Leon Bard Memorial Stakes. Highly respected in the Texas Quarter Horse racing community as a skilled horseman and industry leader, Bard passed away in 2022. Bard saddled 2,275 Quarter Horses since 1993, with purses of $5.9 million. He won a record five editions of the TQHA Sale Futurity(RG1), beginning with Silver Gol in 2015 as well as  Grey Daze (2014), Cartels Pop (2015), Just Another Natural (2017) and Dak (2018). SF Hot Pass, had an exceptional record at the classic distance of  440-yards, including a victory in the 2019 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1). He also won the 2017 Sam Houston Futurity(G2) with This Is An Eagle.  


Triple Five Racing’s Gotagogh headlines the compact field of  accredited Texas-bred colts and geldings who will compete at the distance of 350 yards. Trained by Juan Diaz, Jr., Gotagogh will break from post four under jockey Victor Urieta, Jr.


Triple Five is an ownership group of five friends from San Antonio, Belton, and Temple, Texas. Individually they have been involved in Quarter Horse racing for 15 years and purchased Gotagogh at the 2022 TQHA Yearling Sale for $150,000.  Sired by Favorite Cartel out of the mare Signs Zoomer,  the bay colt won four of his seven starts last year. He qualified for Texas Futurities, running fourth in the Sam Houston Futurity(G2) and TQHA Sale Futurity(G1), finishing the season with an eighth place finish in the Grade 1 Texas Classic Futurity. TQHA named Gotagogh 2023 TQHA Champion Two Year Old Colt.


Tempting Alibi returns to Sam Houston Race Park for his eighth lifetime start. Bred by Michael Amburn and owned by Cruz E. Nava, the son of Tempting Dash will be ridden by leading Houston jockey Luis Vivanco. 


The Leon Bard Memorial Stakes will run as the sixth race on Saturday night’s card. His daughters Shelly Burnett and Caryl Merchant as well as Bard’s partner, Jackie Riddle will make the presentation to the winner.


A press release on the $69,938 Adequan Derby and $102,382 John Deere Juvenile Challenge(G2) will be forthcoming.


About Sam Houston Race Park

Operated by Penn Entertainment Inc., Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located just 15 miles northwest of downtown Houston. The racetrack, which opened in 1994, offers a variety of attractions for businesses, group outings and families during racing and the off-season. The track is best known for its award-winning dining and features multiple areas for fans looking for casual to upscale dining options including its Winner’s Circle Restaurant, Jockey Club, Luxury Suites and Pavilion Centre. For more information or tickets to upcoming live racing, shows and events, please visit or follow on: FacebookInstagramTwitterTick Tok or YouTube.





Photos: Coady Photography