Jun 17, 2024


Talented Filly Gives Trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. His Fourth Victory in the Richest Championship at Sam Houston Race Park

HOUSTON, TX –Sam Houston Race Park closed out its 30th anniversary live racing season with a stakes-filled card culminating with the running of the richest race of the meet, the $621,810 Sam Houston Futurity (G2)  Since its inception in 1994, the 330-yard championship for 2-year-old Quarter Horses has never disappointed in showcasing a mega-talented field and thrilling finish.  


This year was no exception with Dk Marney Jess surging to the wire under jockey Juan Pulido in a blazing:16.644 seconds.  One of five finalists trained by Juan Diaz, Jr., the sixth fastest qualifier gave the Floresville, Texas trainer his fourth victory in the prestigious championship, after winning in 2021 with BH Inxs, 2022 with Bye Corona Bye, and last year with Jess Flying Cowgirl.  


Diaz entered 20 in trials on May 24 and 25 and has won the race with his fourth owner and fourth jockey! Juan Pulido picked up the mount after Nestor Duran opted to ride the fastest qualifier, Machiavelli.

"Nestor Duran qualified her, so I looked at the tapes and saw that she does well in the gates and today she didn't miss," said Pulido. "She took me to first! I thank the connections, Juan, and the owner, for this opportunity!"  


CH Horse Racing LLC.owns the daughter of champion Apollitical Jess out of the Corona Cartel Mare Marney Jo.  Bred in Mexico by Cuadra La Presita, she is undefeated in four starts, beginning with her trial victory in the Louisiana Downs Futurity and her win in the $397,402 Louisiana Downs Futurity(G2) on March 24. Sent off as the second choice in wagering, she paid $8.40 for the win and increased her lifetime earnings to $436,690. DK Marney Jess vaulted to second in the 2024 leading money-earning Quarter Horse in the country. 


 "She showed what she was capable of at Louisiana Downs," stated Diaz. "One of the things that we were excited about was running her under the lights; her first two starts in Louisiana were during the afternoon. We wanted to see how she would do. "Machivelli ran his race; but when they go into the gates, the clock starts back at zero. Obviously, DK Marney Jess ran a better race tonight."


Always noting the effort required in preparing horses for big races, Diaz spoke about what it takes. 


"Like I have always said, it's a team effort. Between the jockeys, grooms, and team back home and of course, great owners, it's all that and more. "We have the numbers, but our owners spend money to buy well-bred horses."  


Trainer Toby Keeton, who clinched his first Sam Houston Leading trainer title, ran second with Hocksareback.  Owned by his wife, Cindi, the son of 2014 Sam Houston Futurity champion Kiss My Hocks was ridden by top Sam Houston rider Luis Vivanco. Fastest qualifier and post-time favorite Machiavelli broke in at the start but put in a late rush under jockey Nestor Duran to complete the trifecta. Tailwynde, Celebratingtheeagle, Mi Favorito Whiskey, Walk Thru Favorite, Favorite Mvp Z, and Hogans Hero completed the field.  


DK Marney Jess added her name to a distinguished group of Quarter Horses. The notable list of past Sam Houston Futurity champions includes War Colors, Azoom, All American Winner, Snowy Alibi, Especially Tres, Ivan James and This Is An Eagle. Several winners have gone on to national prominence, including  Kiss My Hocks, who won in 2014 and was honored as AQHA Champion 2-Year-Old Colt, and Trump My Record, who was named 2019 AQHA Champion 2-Year-Old Gelding.



Seis Chilitos Notches First Career Stakes Win in the $60,090 Sam Houston Juvenile

It is often the case that mere hundredths of a second can separate a trail runner from earning a spot in the final in the Sam Houston Futurity. That was certainly the case this year with Seis Chilitos, who won her trial on May 24 in:17.126 seconds, just missing the cut-off of:17.121 set by Mi Favorito Whiskey. However, Seis Chilitos' performance in the $69,090 Sam Houston Juvenile Stakes tonight marked her as a filly to watch in the 2024 futurity competition. 

  Jockey Nestor Duran guided the daughter of first-crop sire Chilitos to her second victory and first career stakes win in four starts.  The gray filly crossed the wire of the 330-yard final in:16.756 seconds over the fast main track. She rewarded her supporters with a $15.60 win payout.

Trainer Juan Diaz, Jr., who qualified three for the final saddled the $28,000 TQHA Yearling Sale graduate for owner Jaime Cardenas, who lives just 10 minutes from Sam Houston Race Park in Cypress, Texas. He currently owns 20 Quarter Horses and felt that she was the best-looking prospect at last year's sale in San Antonio.

"Since the beginning, she showed a lot. We were excited about running her in the Sam Houston trials as we felt she would do well," Cardenas said after the win. "She didn’t make the final but ran a really good race tonight. We have her paid into the TQHA Sale Futurity."  


Richard Arizpe bred Seis Chilitos from the Tres Seis mare Seis Passes. With two wins in four starts, she has earned $31,224. Magic Apollitical completes the exacta under rider Jose Alvarez, followed by Outcome Is Income, Some Ones Diva, Jess Louisiana Girl, This Eagles Armed, Sheaux Bizz, Coco Ravin, Muddys King Trace, and Kvn Valiant Corona.     


 Sam Houston Race Park to Simulcast Royal Ascot – June 19-22

The 30th anniversary of Sam Houston Race Park live racing concludes on June 15, but throughout the remainder of 2024, horseplayers can enjoy simulcasting from race tracks across the country as well as special racing festivals in Europe! Next week, Sam Houston Race Park will celebrate one of the most anticipated international racing events, Royal Ascot from Ascot Racecourse in Windsor, England.  Sam Houston Race Park will open at 10:00 am on Wednesday, June 19, and Thursday, June 20; then 8:00 am on June  21 and 22 so that fans can enjoy the pageantry of this esteemed British Racetrack with elite Thoroughbreds from North America, Europe and Japan competing in numerous Group 1, 2 and 3 stakes run over the four-day event. For more information on simulcasting and special events, visit shrp.com.  



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 www.shrp.com or follow us on: FacebookInstagramTwitterTikTok, or YouTube.




Photos: Coady Photography