DE LAURENTIS CAPTURES THE $103,598 JOHN DEERE JUVENILE CHALLENGE AT SAM HOUSTON RACE PARK
Shezasecretknockout Victorious in the $60,401 Adequan Sam Houston Derby Challenge
HOUSTON, TX - Sam Houston Race Park hosted two regional qualifying races for the 2021 Bank of America Racing Challenge on Thursday, June 10. De Laurentis, was a convincing winner in the $103,598 John Deere Juvenile Challenge and Shezasecretknockout was equally impressive in the $60,401 Adequan Sam Houston Derby Challenge.
De Laurentis, the fastest qualifier in trials held here on May 20, did not disappoint as the favorite in the $103,598 John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge (G3). Bred by Bobby D. Cox, the undefeated juvenile is owned by Reynolds Munoz and Heavy Hitters Racing Stables. Leading Sam Houston trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. trains the colt, with regular rider Victor Urieta, Jr. back aboard this evening.
Breaking from the rail, the son of American Runaway out of the Invisible Injun mare Babe on the Beach, took the lead and surged to the wire of the 350-yard final in :18.166 seconds into 10 mph head wind, equaling an 84 speed index. He won by a margin of a neck over Kas Shes Ec, also trained by Diaz.
“We had high expectations of this colt and he did what we knew he could do,” said Diaz.
De Laurentis was a $30,000 TQHA Yearling Sale purchase by owners Reynold Munoz and Heavy Hitters Racing Stables. Marcus Galvan spoke on behalf of the owners.
“My partners and I liked him on paper and even more when we looked at him,” said Galvan. “We pulled the trigger and haven’t looked back. He’s three-for-three and has been professional since day one. We felt we had a superior horse going into this final and he showed it.”
The gray colt made one previous start on March 8 at Remington Park, winning his 300-yard trial for the Oklahoma Futurity (G2). He has earned $72,901 in his three career starts.
Kas Shes Ec completed the exacta for owner/breeder Francisco Javier Garza. The daughter of second-crop sire Ec Jet One was ridden by Jorge Garcia. Hot Dynasty Z, at 30-1 ran third, followed by Dm Moonpie, Sign and Shine, Wicked Eagle One, Grandfreighttrain, Hes Jess Dealin, Miss Never To Late and Cj Classy Sassy Chic.
Galvan said that DeLaurentis will run in trials for the TQHA Sale Futurity prior to the $125,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge where he will face regional winners from across the United States, Mexico and Canada. This year’s event returns to the Downs of Albuquerque on October 23.
Shezasecretknockout Dominates in the $60,401 Adequan Derby Challenge
No trials were run for the in the 400-yard, $60,401 Adequan Sam Houston Derby Challenge but the heavy favorite, Five Puig Racing LLC’s homebred Shezasecretknockout, more than lived up to her name.
Bred in Oklahoma by her owners, the daughter of Hez Our Secret out of the Tres Seis mare, Adolph Tres Knockout broke her maiden here on May 21. She turned it up a notch today, and ran a very professional race for trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. With regular rider Victor Urieta, Jr. in the irons, the gray filly left the gate in front of her seven rivals and never relinquished her lead. She covered 400 yards in :20.293 seconds, earning a 96 speed index.
“She ran exactly as we expected,” said Diaz. “She’s getting better all the time.”
Longshot River Rat ran second under Ali Rivera. Owned by LA Racing Stables LLC, the Ivory James gelding is trained by Hector Alcala. Hot Lady Returns, Docs Favorite Wave, A Sweet Capo, Favorito, Viva La Merica and Flying Kisser completed the order of finish.
Shezasecretknockout ($3.40) will represent Texas in the Adequan Derby Challenge Championship on October 23 at the Downs of Albuquerque.
“She woke up as a 3-year-old,” added owner Larry Puig, from Laredo, Texas. “This will be our first time running in a Challenge final and we are excited about going to New Mexico!”
Racing This Weekend at Sam Houston Race Park
Post time has been moved up to 6:05 pm (CT) for Friday and Saturday’s 12-race cards. The Saturday, June 12th program will feature six stakes races including the $106,000 Texas-Bred Championship and the $81,000 Jesse Yoakum 870 Stakes named in honor of the late Quarter Horse trainer Jesse Yoakum.
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