Belmont Stakes & Bag of Donuts
June 8, 2024
Jul 17, 2021


His Time To Deal Will Lead the Field for the 89,180 Sires’ Cup Derby

HOUSTON, TX - Sam Houston Race Park hosted trials Friday night for the $89,180  Sires’ Cup Derby and the $155,880 Sires’ Cup Futurity (RG3). Daily showers in Houston throughout the week, so the card began on a muddy racetrack, but was upgraded to good prior to the trial races.

Efrain Mendez’s EM High Country was a standout winner in the second of six 350 yard trials to the $155,880 TQHA Sires’ Cup Futurity (RG3).  With Rodrigo Vallejo in the irons, the son of Docs Best Card out of the Mr Eye Opener mare Docs Best Card blazed to the wire in :17.820 seconds, equaling a 92 speed index. Bred in Oklahoma by his owner, EM High Country ($3.60) won his second of four career starts this evening. He was heavily bet in his trial, based on his runner-up finish in the $926,000 Remington Park Futurity (RG1) on April 17, and did not disappoint.

Francisco Javier Garza’s homebred Kas Shes Ec ($3.20) has run well at Sam Houston this season and added her second win of the meet as she won the fifth trial :17.970 seconds. Trained by leading conditioner Juan Diaz, Jr., the filly by Ec Jet One closed gamely from her outside post, earning a 88 speed index under top Sam Houston rider Victor Urieta, Jr. She broke her maiden in her trial for the $104,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge on May 20, running second in the final three weeks later.

Another talented Oklahoma-bred, Reimagine earned the third-fastest qualifying time of :17.997 seconds, for his owner Jose R. Espinosa in the following trial. Bred by Bobby D. Cox, the son of  Freighttrain B qualified for both the Remington Park Futurity and Heritage Place Futurity prior to making his Sam Houston debut this evening. Francisco Calderon piloted the Heritage Place Yearling Sale graduate to the victory by a margin of 1 ¼ lengths, earning a speed index of 87. Jose “Pepe” Lopez trains the gelding, who has won three of his five starts.

Click HERE for a list of the ten fastest qualifiers who will return for the final Saturday, August 7.


His Time to Deal Tops the Qualifiers to the $89,180 Sires’ Cup Derby

Friday night’s card also included two 400-yard trials for the $89,180 Sires’ Cup Derby. Pete Scarmardo’s homebred His Time To Deal ($6.80) won the second trial in :19.958 seconds under jockey Francisco Calderon. Trained by John Stinebaugh, the sorrel gelding by Dealagame out of the First Down Dash mare Lady Lilia earned a 105 speed index for the victory, his fourth in seven career starts.


Winning the first trial was El Chocolatito owned by Jomas Race Horses. Ali Rivera piloted the son of Carters Cartel to his fifth win from five starts, crossing the wire in :19.998, earning a 104 speed index. Bred by Chad Hart and Bobby D. Cox, El Chocolatito is trained by Roberto Madrigal.


Scarmardo also bred and owns third-fastest qualifier Watch Him B Famous who was the runner-up in the first trial at :20.042. Sired by One Famous Eagle, also out of Lady Lilia, the sorrel gelding is conditioned by John Stinebaugh. 


Here is the link to the ten qualifiers who will return on Saturday, August 7, closing night of the extended Sam Houston Race Park 2021 Quarter Horse meet.



Upcoming Stakes Schedule at Sam Houston Race Park

There will be no live racing next week so that horsemen and women can attend the annual TQHA Yearling Sale on July 23 and 24 in San Antonio.


Live racing resumes on Wednesday, July 28.  The 2021 Quarter Horse season will conclude on Saturday, August 7.  The remaining stakes schedule is as follows:


Friday, July 30, 2021

$50,000-added TQHA”550” Stakes(RG3)*               3 YO & up                  550 yards

$30,000-added Jones Bloodstock Starter Stakes*      3 YO & up                  350 yards

$50,000-added Miss Retama Stakes*                         3 YO & up F&M        350 yards

$50,000-added Benny Pennington Memorial S.*      3 YO & up                  870 yards

$60,000-added TQHA Classic Stakes(RG3)*            3 YO & up                  400 yards

$50,000-added TQHA “250” Stakes*                                    3 YO & up                  250 yards


Saturday, July 31, 2021

$100,000-added TQHA Sale Futurity (RG2)             2 YO                          350 yards

$100,000-added Retama Park Derby                        3 YO                          400 yards


Friday, August 6, 2021

$30,000-added Texas Arabian Oaks(G3)                   3& 4 YO Arabian F&M    1 Mile

$30,000-added Texas Arabian Derby G3)                 3& 4 YO Arabians           1 1/16  Miles


Saturday, August 7, 2021

$50,000-added Sires Cup Derby                                3 YO                           350 yards

$75,000-added Sires’ Cup Futurity (RG3)                 2 YO                           350 yards

$50,000-added Bank of America TX Challenge        3 YO & up                  440 yards

$35,000-added Colors of the Alamo Paint and          2 YO                           350 yards

              Appaloosa Futurity

$20,000-added Colors of the Wind Paint and            3 YO & up                  350 yards

              Appaloosa Stakes     


*Accredited Texas-breds



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




Photos:  Coady Photography