COMPETTIVE FIELD ASSEMBLED FOR THE $112,000 SAM HOUSTON CLASSIC (G2) ON FRIDAY, MAY 28
John Buchanan Memorial and Tomball Stakes Will Also be Contested
HOUSTON, TX – An exceptional night of Quarter Horse racing is set for Friday, May 28 at Sam Houston Race Park with five stakes, highlighted by the $731,650 Sam Houston Futurity (G2) and the $73,165 Sam Houston Juvenile. Three additional stakes races will be contested, including the $112,000 Sam Houston Classic, the $54,000 Tomball Stakes and the running of the John Buchanan Memorial Stakes honoring the prominent Texas horseman who passed away last September. Post time will be 6:45 pm (Central).
Stone Cold Leader Returns in the $112,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2)
A field of ten will compete in the $112,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2) which will be run at the “classic” Quarter Horse distance of 440 yards.
Sam Houston Race Park did not conduct a Quarter Horse meet last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but in 2019 Patrick Richardson’s Stone Cold Leader ran a game second to Hawkeye. The Indiana-bred son of Brookstone Bay will return in search of his eighth stakes win after capturing two futurities in 2017 at Indiana Grand. He made his presence felt the following year Louisiana, winning both the Firecracker Derby at Delta Downs and the Evangeline Downs Derby. The 6-year-old gelding has bankrolled $535,393 in 28 career efforts.
Bryan Candanosa will guide Stone Cold Leader from post position eight for trainer Eric Long and proud owner Richardson, who lives in South Carolina.
“For him to be so good as a 2-year-old and still competitive as an aged horse is really something,” said Richardson.” Bryan is a young rider who has galloped for us in Louisiana, and he knows the horse. We chose this race because we respect the Sam Houston track surface and would love to get the win in our second try in this stakes. I never imagined I would own a horse who made over $500,000; he’s one of a kind!”
Several horses who ran in stakes here on May 14 will return to action, including Valeriano Racing Stables LLC’s Inaugurator, a graded stakes winning 4-year-old son of Apollitical Jess. He brings solid credentials and will make his second start in 2021. Luis Vivanco, who rode the sorrel gelding to a sixth-place finish in the Sam Houston Stakes, has the return call for trainer Toby Keeton.
“He needed that out,” said Keeton. “That was his first race since last November; he’ll run a lot better Friday.”
The winner of the $55,000 Sam Houston stakes was Black Cazador, who lit up the toteboard at odds of 44-1 under jockey J. R. Ramirez and his brother, Saul, trainer of the son of Oak Tree Special.
"We had him for a year," Ramirez, Jr. said. "He's a nice horse, but a handful in the paddock. We thought he had a chance but didn't think he'd go off at 40-1!"
Another stakes winner from May 14 is Moment of Fury, who came off a layoff to score the upset in the $55,500 Harris County Stakes. It was the first stakes win by the 5-year-old son of Furyofthewind in the 550-yard feature. Owned by Rogelio Marquez, Jr and trained by Hector Alcala, the Texas-bred will be ridden by Rolando Cabrera.
The field also includes Hot Dam Bam A Lam, bred and owned by Gene Cox, will ship in for trainer Trey Ellis. Damian Martinez has the call aboard the 6-year-old gelding by Captain Courage, who has earned $205,197 in 22 lifetime starts.
The Sam Houston Classic had its first running in 1994. The winner will join a stellar list of champions, who have achieved success on the racetrack and broodmares and stallions. Past winners include Kool Kue Baby, AQHA world champions Tailor Fit and Jessies First Down, Streakin Sin Tacha and The Louisiana Cartel.
Not to be ignored is the lone mare in the race, Hh Gailforce, who will make her Sam Houston Race Park debut for Egoizzta Partnership, brothers Juan, Joel and Jose Cantu as well as Eric Hinojosa. They purchased the daughter of Freighttrain B out of the First Prize Perry mare Open My Prize, a half-sister to Open Me A Corona,
for $12,000 in the 2018 LQHBA Yearling Sale. Hh Gailforce won the 2019 Mardi Gras Futurity at Louisiana Downs and added her latest win earlier this year capturing the Decketta Stakes at Remington Park.
“She’s taken on the boys plenty of times before,” said trainer Joel Cantu. “We are lucky that she is such a calm mare and handled the 14 hour trip from our farm to Remington Park last year. She’s never gone 440 yards before, but I believe she can handle it.”
The Sam Houston Classic will run as the eighth race on the card with an approximate post time of 9:54 pm (Central). The field, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds is as follows:
- Cajun King (Jose Vega), 20-1
- DM La Jolla Cartel (Claudio P. Aguilar), 10-1
- Moment Of Fury (Rolando Cabrera), 8-1
- Hot Dam Bam A Lam (Damian Martinez), 15-1
- Inaugurator (Luis Vivanco), 7-2
- Katchi Dat (Everardo Rodriguez), 20-1
- Black Cazador (J.R. Ramirez), 9-2
- Stone Cold Leader (Bryan Candanosa), 5-2
- Jess B One (Juan F. Garcia Jr.), 12-1
- HH Gailforce (Luis F. Ruiz), 6-1
Dash N Leader Takes on Six Rivals in the $54,000 Tomball Stakes
Stakes action Friday night begins in race four with the $54,000 Tomball Stakes for Texas-bred 3-year-olds.
A field of seven will compete at 350 yards with Pete Scarmardo’s homebred Dash N Leader as the 2-1 morning line choice. Trained by Leon Bard, the son of Down N Dash began his career last May at Ruidoso Downs before returning to Texas and earning a berth into the $406,000 TQHA Sale Futurity at Retama Park as well as the $1 million Texas Classic Futurity last November at Lone Star Park. He made his first start of his 3-year-old campaign here on April 24, running third in his trial for the Sam Houston Derby.
Sam Houston Race Park’s leading trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. will saddle Manuel Reyes’ Gianniy, a gelding by
One Famous Gianni. Victor Urieta has the call aboard the Texas-bred who ran third to Fear The Dragon, in the Sam Houston Derby (G3) on May 14. El Chocolitito will make his second start of the meet for owner Jomas Race Horses. The colt by Carters Cartel competed in trials for the Sam Houston Derby on April 21 and is conditioned by Adrian Huitron.
$54,000 John Buchanan Memorial Stakes Features Six Texas-Bred Fillies
Friday’s $54,000 John Buchanan Memorial Stakes is named in honor of Texas horseman John Buchanan, who passed away last September. 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, winner with Brimmerton who won the Rainbow Derby and All American Derby at Ruidoso Downs.
Six Texas-bred fillies will compete in the John Buchanan Memorial Stakes, led by Greysland. Sired by (2014 Sam Houston Futurity champion) Kiss My Hocks is trained by Juan Diaz Jr. for owner Juan Manuel Pastrana. Purchased for $15,500 at the TQHA Yearling Sale, she will make her ninth career start as the 2-1 favorite under rider Victor Urieta Jr.
Other entrants in the 350-yard feature include Jorge Haddad’s homebred Pronto Alexa, who drew the far outside post with Luis Vivanco up. Another Kiss My Hocks filly A Fleeting Kiss will make her stakes debut with Jerry Lee Yoakum riding for trainer Lewis “Tooter” Jordan.
He took a minute to reflect on the legacy of the highly respected trainer and friend, John Buchanan.
“John was one of the very best horsemen I have ever known,” stated Jordan. “He was always a good friend and would help anyone in need. In addition to what he accomplished in Texas, he made a huge footprint in American Quarter Horse racing. His passing was a true blow to our industry.”
Buchanan’s wife, Iris, and daughter Amanda, will be at Sam Houston Race Park Friday to present the trophy.
“My father would have been very pleased that Sam Houston Race Park named a race in his honor,” said Amanda. “He supported all the Texas racetracks, but really loved Sam Houston and its track surface, which he always felt was very forgiving for all horses and especially the babies. It’s hard to count all the stakes wins he had in Houston, but we have a lot of great memories here.”
Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located just 15 miles from downtown Houston. The Park 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