DELIGHT INTEREST DUELS IMPRESSIVELY TO TAKE THE $209,200 SAM HOUSTON DERBY (G3)
Rj Lets Get Fiscal Scored an Upset in the $57,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2)
By Martha Claussen
HOUSTON, TX – Sam Houston Race Park hosted two graded stakes tonight under clear skies and a jubilant group of owners were on hand celebrate the victory by Delight Interest in the $209,200 Sam Houston Derby (G3) and an exciting head bob by Rj Lets Get Fiscal in the $57,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2).
Delight Interest, a gelded son of Separate Interest out of Volcom’s Delight, set the fourth-fastest clocking of :17.638 seconds in his Sam Houston Derby trial on April 29 under jockey Juan Pulido. That was his first start at Sam Houston after a game victory in the $144,000 West Texas Derby (G3) at Sunland Park on February 25.
Jockey Juan Pulido had the return call aboard the bay gelding for trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. and commented on the close finish with fastest qualifier Jess Good Wine.
“He’s an easy horse to ride; tries every time,” said Pulido. “He ran a good race in the trial, but came out sharp tonight, breaking right next to a very good horse, they hooked up together and it was an amazing finish.”
Delight Interest crossed the wire of the 35o-yard final in :17.564 over a fast track, earning a 104 speed index.
Three of the members of Triple Five were in Houston to watch Delight Interest win the final.
Jess Good Wine ran second by a neck, earning a 102 speed index. Owned by Guns Up Racing, the Oklahoma-bred son of Jess Good Reason Sa out of the Mr Jess Perry mare Mr Perrys Wine, began his career at Sam Houston Race Park last year, before shipping to Ruidoso Downs. He is trained by Toby Keeton and was ridden by Bryan Candanosa.
“He was really coming at the end,” said owner Kevin Hogan. “We feel he can go further and will pay him into the Rainbow Derby at Ruidoso Downs.
Lil Perry Wagon trained by Frank Mendez, and ridden by his son, Francisico, completed the trifecta, followed by Apollitical Dynamite, Tic It To The Dance, Daddy Caliente, Passage Of A Woman Eagle Powers, Sygnyfycant Impact and Tdz Jambalaya Wave.
Delight Interest was sent off as the favorite and paid $5.00 for the win. This was his sixth victory from 12 starts and with the winner’s share of $83,680, his earnings stand at $239,473.Triple Five also own , who was the fastest qualifier on night one of the trials for the $461,835 Sam Houston Futurity. The $150,000 TQHA Yearling Sale graduate will return the final on June 3.
Rj Lets Get Fiscal Denies Heavy Favorite Jet Black Grace in the $57,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2)
The second stakes of the evening was the $57,000 Sam Houston Classic, contested at the “classic” distance of 440 yards. Juan Carlos Meza’s Rj Lets Get Fiscal stepped up impressively to defeat four rivals, including 1-5 favorite Jet Black Grace by a neck.
Trainer Mary Meza saddled the 3-year-old Oklahoma-bred son of The Fiscal Cliff and both she and her husband, owner Juan Carlos Meza, were thrilled with their first graded stakes win.
“We are ecstatic,” she said. “Lloyd Moreland trained Rj Lets Get Fiscal previously; we have just had him since December. He is so easy to train; we hauled in from Wichita Falls, which took six hours, but he just laid down in his stall and was not nervous at all. This is the first graded stakes win for me and my husband, Juan Carlos. We have a great team and jockey!”
Jockey Agustin Silva was pleased that he was able to edge the heavy favorite Jack Black Grace crossing the wire in a swift 21.826 seconds, equaling a 102 speed index. He admitted having a few nervous moments when Viva Le Don broke through the starting gate. The multiple-stakes winner was caught without incident, but scratched by order of the stewards.
“You never like for things like that to happen, but this is a nice horse and I was glad to get the win for this awesome team!”
Carlos Ponce’s Jet Black Grace finished second for trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. The son of Jet Black Patriot ran in the 2022 Texas Classic Futurity and followed that with back to back victories. Juan Pulido piloted the 4-year-old gelding, who had finished in the money in seven of his eight career efforts.
“We are not sure where he will run next,” said Diaz. “Several options were on the table; we believe he is a very talented horse.”
OntheRocks finished third by a margin of 3 ½ lengths for trainer Esteban Rubio and rider Raul Ramirez, Jr. Won Famous Dash, Biden Record Hes Jess Dealin completed the order of finish. Shockinglyfamous was an early scratch.
This was the fourth win in seven starts for Rj Lets Get Fiscal ($12.20), who picked up a check for $34,200. Since its first running in 1994, the Sam Houston Classic boasts a stellar list of champions including Streakin Sin Tacha, The Louisiana Cartel and Kool Kue Baby as well as AQHA world champions Tailor Fit and Jessies First Down.
Sam Houston Race Park to Simulcast the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 20
The second leg of Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown is the Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, May 20. Sam Houston Race Park will open at 8:00 am on Saturday, May 20. Fans can watch and wager on the entire Preakness card, which begins at 9:30 am as well as Sam Houston’s live Quarter Horse races, with an early first post of 1:00 pm. The popular Corgi Races will take place in between races; something for everyone on Preakness Day at Sam Houston Race Park! For more information on racing and special events in the 2023 Quarter Horse live racing season, visit www.shrp.com.
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 Entertainment 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