150th Kentucky Derby
May 4th, 2024
May 15, 2022


Trainer Juan Diaz Will Saddle Three in the June 4 Final

HOUSTON, TX –Sam Houston Race Park ran 20 trials for the richest race of the 2022 Quarter Horse meet with impressive efforts on both Friday and Saturday evening. Five qualifiers from each night will return on Saturday, June 4 in the $700,000-estimated Sam Houston Futurity (G2).


The fastest clocking came in the final trial on Saturday, May 14, when Maria Solis’ homebred  Jmg Apollitical Capo unleashed a powerful gate-to wire performance, covering 330-yards in :17.005 seconds under rider Luis Vivanco. This was the fourth career start for the son of  Capo de Capi out of the Apollitical Jess mare Gold Ounce. Trained by Raul Rodriguez, Jr., the Louisiana-bred colt qualified for the $324,288 Louisiana Downs Futurity (G3), running seventh in the April 3 final. He also had one out at Sam Houston Race Park three weeks later, finished fourth.  He earned a 92 speed index, running into a 6 mph head wind.


The later races on the card produced two additional top qualifiers: Pink Kiss (:17.066) and Bye Corona Bye(:17.067).  Pink Kiss, bred by Bullard Farms, made two starts at Remington Park and prepped for his trial with a bullet work at Sam Houston on April 27. Nestor Duran rode the son of 2014 Sam Houston Futurity winner, Kiss My Hocks for owners Heavy Hitters Racing Stables and Triple R Racing Stables. Carlos Ponce’s Bye Corona Bye,  who won the $217,000 West Texas Futurity (G1) at Sunland Park on April 3, was also extremely impressive winning the eighth trial of the evening. The son of Ivory James was a $27,000 purchase at the 2021 TQHA Yearling Sale, and was ridden by Victor Urieta, Jr.


“He came out of the West Texas Futurity with no issues,” said Diaz of the undefeated Bye Corona. “We were never worried about pointing him to these trials. He’s not a big horse, but when he breaks well, which he did again tonight, he’s hard to beat.”


Diaz also qualified Hotamale, a colt by Duponte on Saturday for owners Sandoval Brothers and the Tempting Dash colt Rinc on Friday evening. Rinc runs for TYKHE Racing LLC, who won the 2021 Sam Houston Futurity with  BH Inxs.


Friday’s fastest qualifier was Omar Mireles’ Jlc Payaso Ed who covered 330 yards in :17.051 seconds under 

jockey Luis Ruiz. On Friday, the five qualifiers came from the early races on the card and the gelded son of Strawflys Eagle earned a 90 speed index, and held on as the second-fastest overall qualifier.  John Louis Chamberlain bred the chestnut gelding from the Game Patriot mare Bt Flair. He is trained by Joel Cantu, of Roma, Texas, whose top runner to date is 2019 Mardi Gras Futurity winner Hh Gailforce. Cantu was pleased with the maiden-breaking score of Jlc Payaso Ed in Friday night’s third trial as he finished strongly into a 8 mph head wind, earning a speed index of 90.


“We got him in December and thought he was a nice horse,” said Cantu. “The second time we worked him from the gates, he left quickly and blew them away the first time we worked him in company. Hard to figure out what happened at Louisiana Downs; he didn’t run the way we expected, but his trial win in Houston was really good! He ate up well Saturday morning and is settling in nicely.”


It will be an interesting rematch for several finalists in the Louisiana Downs Futurity as Jmg Apollitical will face Ponte Trucha, who won the final at the Bossier City racetrack as well as fifth-place finisher Hotamale.  


Ponte Trucha was bred in California by Rancho El Cabresto Inc. The son of Duponte out of the Apollitical Jess mare Apollitical Dasher is owned by Armando Cortez and trained by Josue Huitron. The bay gelding won the first trial on Friday under jockey Heriberto Aguilar-Orozco in :17.107 seconds.


Here is a link to the ten qualifiers who will return for the 2022 Sam Houston Futurity on Saturday, June 4.   


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.


Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse Racing Post Times

Racing will take place Thursday at 4:00 pm, Friday and Saturday at 6:45 pm (Central) with special post times of 1:00 pm for the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 21 and the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 11. The 2022 Quarter Horse meet continues through June 18.


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 National Gaming. 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