May 26, 2024


Ten Fastest Qualifiers From Trials Will Return on Saturday, June 15

HOUSTON, TX –Sam Houston Race Park conducted a total of 14 trials for the $621,810 Sam Houston Futurity (G2) on Friday, May 24 and Saturday, May 25. The talent was evident on both nights and the ten fastest 330-yard qualifiers are set to return for the final on Saturday, June 15.


Machiavelli, who was ultra impressive winning his 330-yard trial on Friday night, tops all qualifiers, drawing off by a margin of 1 ¼ lengths in :16.786 seconds.  The son of Tempting Dash was one of twenty trial entrants trained by Juan Diaz, Jr., who has won the last three editions of the richest race held at Sam Houston Race Park.  CH Horse Racing, LLC purchased the California-bred gelding for $51,000 at the 2023 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale. Nestor Duran rode the winner, who won the third trial on Friday and his time held through the completion of the remainder of that evening and each of Saturday’s seven heats.


Diaz ran 20 juveniles in the Sam Houston Futurity trials and hopes to add a fourth title this after winning with BH Inxs          in 2021: Bye Corona Bye in 2022 and last year’s final with Jess Flying Cowgirl. He will have his usual task of lining up riders for four other top qualifiers, which include Tailwynde (:17.036); Dk Marney Jess (:17.045); Marfalous (:17.089) and Mi Favorito Whiskey(:17.121).  Last year, the leading Texas Quarter Horse conditioner called top Louisiana-based jockey Ubaldo Luna to pilot Jess Flying Cowgirl, who left the gates at 11-1.


“I am hoping for the call again!” said Luna.


Trainer Toby Keeton, who won the 2014 Sam Houston Futurity with Kiss My Hocks, has qualified two for this year’s final. Hocksareback, sired by Kiss My Hocks, finished second to Machiavelli in a time of :16.983 seconds under jockey Luis Vivanco. Cindi Keeton, who owns the Texas-bred gelding, saddled for her husband, who is overseeing the Keeton trainees at Ruidoso Downs. Keeton’s other Sam Houston Futurity finalist is Kevin Hogan’s homebred Hogans Hero, who was the runner-up in the $102,382 John Deere Juvenile Challenge(G3) here on May 10. 


On Saturday night, Jesus Molina’s Celebratingtheeagle set the top qualifying time of :17.006 seconds for trainer Janessa Muniz. Eric Reyes guided the son of 2017 Sam Houston Futurity champion This is An Eagle

to victory. Muniz and  Reyes qualified Trixlee for last year’s final.


Here is a link to the ten qualifiers who will return for the 2024 Sam Houston Futurity on Saturday, June 15 with the winner taking home a check in the amount of $248,724. In addition, the 11th through 20th qualifiers are invited to compete in the $69,090 Sam Houston Juvenile, which will also be contested on June 5. Click here for a list of the ten qualifiers eligible for the Sam Houston Juvenile.


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.


Fire Cowboy Posts Top Qualifying Time in $280,450 Sam Houston Derby Trials

Five 350-yard trials for the $280,450 Sam Houston Derby were completed on Thursday, May 23.  It was another successful score for Emmanuel Villarreal’s Fire Cowboy who blazed to victory in :17.905 seconds under jockey Victor Urieta, Jr. The win as the sixth in a row for the son of Flying Cowboy 123, trained by Juan Diaz, Jr.  who won last year’s Sam Houston Derby with Triple Racing’s Delight Interest.


Hesa Gamer won his trial in the second-fastest clocking of :17.594 seconds. The son of Fdd Dynasty, bred in Texas by AQHA Champion breeder Jerry Windham, is owned by Hector Menchaca.  Eleazar Hernandez had the call for trainer Leonel Hernandez.


 Guerras Racing Stables’ Swanky B and Mr Dashin Yess were tied for the tenth-fastest time of :18.150, with Swanky B winning the shake conducted in the racing office following the final trial.


Click here to view the list of the ten fastest qualifiers who will return for the final on Saturday, June 15.


Belmont Stakes Activities Planned for Saturday, June 8 at Sam Houston Race Park

Fans are invited to enjoy a great day of racing and entertainment on Saturday, June 8 at Sam Houston Race Park. Gates will open at 8:00 am so fans can enjoy the entire racing program from Belmont Park, highlighted by the final jewel of Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, the 156thth running of the Belmont Stakes. Live Quarter Horse racing begins at 1:00 pm and fans are invited to enjoy the afternoon in the air conditioned comfort of the Winner’s Circle Restaurant. Reservations are strongly encouraged.


Also, Sam Houston Race Park will host a special event, Horsepower & Brews Classic Car Show on Saturday, June 8 followed by Bag of Donuts in concert.  Admission is just $5.00 and children five and under are FREE. For more information, visit


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 or follow on: FacebookInstagramTwitterTikTok or YouTube.




Photo: Coady Photography