Belmont Stakes & Bag of Donuts
June 8, 2024
Jun 19, 2022


HOUSTON, TX –Texas-breds closed out the 2022 Quarter Horse season at Sam Houston Race Park on  Saturday, June 18. Several familiar names made successful returns to the winner’s circle, including El Tartanero Jess in the Sam Houston 250 Stakes; Dak in the Sam Houston 550 Stakes and  Just A Perfect Grace winning her first stakes and Lethal White Veil impressing an enthusiastic crowd with her finish in the Sam Houston Starter Stakes.


El Tartanero Jess Keeps Streak Alive in the $53,250 Sam Houston 250 Stakes

Eleazar Martinez, Sr’s homebred El Tartanero Jess returned to action in the first stakes of the evening, the $50,000 Sam Houston 250 Stakes.

The 4-year-old son of Apollitical Jess out of the Corona Cartel mare Darling Corona, was a convincing winner in the Texas Twister on June 4 and extended his win streak to five races this evening. Sam Houston leading jockey Ali Rivera had the return call for conditioner Raul Galvan. 

El Tartanero Jess ($2.60) went off as the heavy post-time favorite. Leading rider Ali Rivera broke on top and held on to win by a neck in :13.441 to earn a 91 speed index.

"He's so fast and just does everything right," said Rivera. "I'm blessed to have ridden him this meet and thank the owner and trainer and everyone for taking such good care of him."

His owner was also impressed with the grit of his colt.

"He's won each of his three races here, and two stakes!" said Martinez. "We are so proud of him. I believe he will get a rest and come back at Lone Star."

The 4-year-old colt added the winner’s share of $31,950 to his career earnings of $119,418. 

Sunset Well Service, Inc.’s homebred Ima Catboy and jockey Bryan Candanosa threatened but could not catch El Tartanero Jess on Saturday. The son of Pyc Paint Your Wagon, trained by Jorge Valenzuela is out of the Mr Jess Perry mare Jess Goldiggers and has earned $44,273 in 15 career starts. Lucchesse completed the trifecta as a triple play for owner, trainer and breeder Jorge Haddad; Nestor Duran had the call. Completing the field were L Capone, Patoranado and Corona Moonin. Amateur Night was scratched.

Dak Defends His Title in the  $50,000 Sam Houston 550 Stakes 

It is always exciting to witness a dead-heat in a Quarter Horse stakes and Sam Houston racing fans enjoyed that one year ago when Dak and Ghost Bear crossed the wire in unison in the Sam Houston 550 Stakes. The talented duo were both entered in this year’s edition of the race, and Dak did not disappoint.


Racing for owner Blue Star Racing and trainer Toby Keeton, Dak is a 6-year-old son of multiple stakes sire Dominyun. Luis Vivanco had the return call aboard the Bullard Farms gelding from the Fishers Dash mare Fleet Elis. They crossed the wire in :28.262 seconds, earning an 86 speed index.

The graded stakes winner is trained by Toby Keeton. Co-owner Stormy Fisher of Blue Star Racing explained the gelding’s recent absence from the track. 

"He had stifle surgery and has come back really well,” said Fisher. “Toby and Cindi have done an amazing job with him. One thing about Dak is that you never give up on him. He's not all that good with the break, but that sucker never gives up!”

Dak broke last of seven in Saturday’s stake but closed well to get up for the win.

"The horse is very sound right now; he'll go Retama next, added Keeton."

Now a 6-year-old, Dak ($4.00) has earned $344,107 in 21 career starts with five wins and five second place finishes. He won last year’s edition of this stake; since then, he was the runner up in the TQHA 550 Stakes and the Harris County Stakes, all at Sam Houston. Dak showed talent early in his career as the winner of the TQHA Sale Futurity (RG3) at Retama in 2018. He finished fourth in the Dash for Cash Derby (G2) at Lone Star and is multiple stakes placed.

A Fleeting Kiss put her head in front of The Eruption to place second in the stake under jockey Claudio Aguilar for trainer Lewis Tooter Jordan. The 4-year-old Kiss My Hocks filly is owned by Scott Sherwood, Amanda Luke and Jeff Luke. Completing the trifecta was The Eruption, who earned his first stakes placing in the 550 after spending much of his career in the claiming and allowance ranks. Victor Urieta, Jr. was up for trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. and owner Carlos Ponce. Completing the field were Patriot Tic, Eye Am Tuff, Jax Louisiana Game and Ghost Bear.


Just a Perfect Grace Notches Her First Stakes in the $54,000 Miss Sam Houston Stakes

A field of eight fillies and mares traveled 330 yards in the $54,000 Miss Sam Houston Stakes. It was a standout performance by Just A Perfect Grace who drew away from the field late to get her first career stakes win under jockey Froylan Ramirez.


 Just A Perfect Grace covered the 330 yards in :17.028 seconds, which was the third career win in nine starts for the daughter of multiple stakes sire Ja Jess Perfect.

Manuel Flores trains the 3-year-old filly for owner-breeder Shirley Flores. The resident of Franklin, Texas, was pleased with the effort of both horse and rider.

"The jockey did a real good job," said Flores. "She stumbled, but recovered and it was an excellent race, she loves this track and we are happy she is a stakes winner.  She has a big heart!"

Jus A Perfect Grace ($10.80) is out of Selma Stakes winner Bz Amazin Grace by Tinys First Corona.

Heavy post-time favorite Leading Senorita was gaining late, under jockey Nestor Duran, to finish second. Ricardo Aguirre trains The Louisiana Cartel mare for owner Esmael Garcia. The multiple stakes-placed 6-year-old was making her first start this season. Third in the Miss Sam Houston last year, she has earned $51,755. Jesus Garcia bred Leading Senorita from the Lead The Field mare Leading Princess.


Jorge Haddad's homebred La Inseparable finished one-length back to earn $5,940 for third. Ali Rivera had the riding call for the Haddad trainee out of Cindys First Cd by Corona CartelBest Moonflash, Pronto Alexa, Kiss My Cowgirl, A Fast Ribbon and Class With Flash completed the field.




Lethal White Veil Triumphs in the $43,750 Sam Houston Starter Stakes

Sam Houston Race Park’s leading owner Carlos Ponce and trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. added another victory on closing night Lethal White Veil in the $43,750 Sam Houston Starter Stakes.  The 350-yard race was written for Texas-breds who have started for a claiming price of $10,000 or less in 2021-2022.

Lethal White Veil ($4.00) won impressively, as expected by those who backed her as the even-money post-time favorite. Victor Urieta, Jr. guided the filly to victory by nearly two lengths over Dashin Maxx and Ladys Diamond.

The 4-year old filly by Lethal Corona crossed the wire in :17.932; she earned an 88 speed index. The victory was her fourth in 13 career efforts and increased her bankroll to $69,428.

Second place finisher Dashin Maxx was ridden by Juan Torres for trainer Noe Sanchez and owner M Racing. Ladys Diamond completed the trifecta under jockey Oscar Cordova; followed by Em Jess Ronas Cash, Butch Glory, Severene and Running for Rain. Roll One Doc was scratched.


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


Photos:  Coady Photography