SAM HOUSTON RACE PARK CLOSES OUT ITS 2021 LIVE QUARTER HORSE SEASON ON SATURDAY, AUGUST 7
Five Stakes Including the $55,726 Bank of America Texas Challenge Will be Contested
HOUSTON, TX - Sam Houston Race Park presents the final four days of the 2021 Quarter Horse live racing season with evening cards set for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The Friday, August 6th program includes two Graded Arabian Stakes. Fillies and mares will compete in the one-mile $30,000-added Texas Arabian Oaks (G3) and their male counterparts will travel one and one-sixteenth miles in the $30,000-added Texas Arabian Derby G3). Saturday’s finale features five stakes as well as the presentation of the leading owner, trainer and jockey awards.
Fourwinds De Capi Leads Finalists to the $50,640 Colors of the Alamo Paint & Appaloosa Futurity(G2)
Stakes action gets underway on Saturday’s card in the third race with the $50,640 Colors of the Alamo Paint and Appaloosa Futurity. Trials were contested on July 15 with Fourwinds De Capi, a son of Capo de Capi setting the fastest qualifying time. Owned by Felix Rodriguez and Sergio Holguin, the bay colt won his 350-yard trial in :17.927 seconds under Sam Houston Race Park leading jockey Victor Urieta, Jr. Juan Diaz, Jr. trains the 5-2 morning line favorite, who has won three of his five lifetime starts. Another to watch will be Cl Painted Shadows winner of the $60,030 Colors of Houston Paint Juvenile (G2) here on June 5. The filly by Painted Turnpike, owned by Guerra Racing Stables, is trained by Jose U. Lopez. She drew off to a neck victory over Party in the Wagon, who will also be in the field for owner/trainer Oscar Nunez.
The $20,000 Colors of the Wind Paint and Appaloosa Stakes follows with a field of ten competing at 350-yards. Remington Park stakes winner Live Moonshine makes his Sam Houston debut for owners Dan and Kaye Jones. Trainer Lewis “Tooter” Jordan will saddle the 5-year-old son of Crm Livewire with his regular rider Cody Roger Smith breaking from post three as the 5-2 choice.
Valiant Tiberias Headlines the Field in the $55,726 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship
Eight older horses will compete in the 440-yard $55,726 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship in hopes of securing a berth to the $250,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) in October at The Downs of Albuquerque.
Multiple graded stakes winner Valiant Tiberias makes his second start at Sam Houston Race Park, hoping for a better outcome than his start in the $50,000 King William Stakes on July 2, when he finished first, but was disqualified due to interference and placed eighth. The 5-year-old son of Valiant Hero has earned $661,683 in Oklahoma and New Mexico for owners Sergio Holguin, Cliften Nielsen and Felix Rodriguez.
Trainer Juan Diaz Jr. will give a leg up to Victor Urieta, Jr. aboard the 7-5 choice, who drew post position seven. Donna Mushinski’s homebred DM La Jolla Cartel will make his 20th career start with regular rider Claudio Aguilar in the saddle. Trained by her husband, Kie, the son of Favorite Cartel out of the Streakin La Jolla mare Mary La Jolla, ran third in the Harris County Stakes on May 14 before fading to sixth in a very tough edition of the $112,000 Sam Houston Classic two weeks later.
The Bank of America Texas Challenge will run as the eighth race, with an approximate post time of 9:41 pm.
Two Pete Scarmardo Homebreds Return in the $89,180 Sires’ Cup Derby
Prominent Texas breeder Pete Scarmardo has two qualifiers in the 400-yard $89,180 Sires’ Cup Derby. The muddy track was no problem for His Time To Deal who won his trial in :19.958 seconds on July 16. 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. He drew post four under Francisco Calderon with Scarmardo’s other qualifier, also trained by Stinebaugh, Watch Him B Famous and jockey Jose Vega, breaking from the far outside post.
El Chocolatito owned by Jomas Race Horses set the second fastest clocking in trials, under Ali Rivera, who piloted the son of Carters Cartel to the wire in :19.998 seconds. Bred by Chad Hart and Bobby D. Cox, El Chocolatito is trained by Roberto Madrigal.
Five Puig Racing LLC’s Shezasecretknockout drew the rail post and will be ridden by Victor Urieta Jr. for trainer Juan Diaz Jr. The homebred gray daughter of has banked $42,973 from three starts this season, and her two wins include a half-length victory as the odds-on favorite in the June 10, $60,000 Adequan Sam Houston Derby Challenge.
EM High Country Takes on Nine Juveniles in the $155,880 Sires’ Cup Futurity (RG3)
Efrain Mendez’s EM High Country was a standout winner in his 350 yard trial to the $155,880 TQHA Sires’ Cup Futurity (RG3) here on July 16. The son of Docs Best Card out of the Mr Eye Opener mare Johns Party Girl blazed to the wire in :17.820 seconds under rider Rodrigo Vallejo. The fastest qualifier was heavily bet in his trial, based on his runner-up finish in the $926,000 Remington Park Futurity (RG1) and will likely be well-supported in the final as he leaves the gates from his far outside post for trainer Roberto Madrigal.
Francisco Javier Garza’s homebred Kas Shes Ec 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 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. 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.
The Sires’ Cup Futurity runs as the tenth race and final stakes of the closing night card.
Leading Jockey, Trainer and Owner to Be Honored Saturday Night
Heading into the final four days of the season, Victor Urieta, Jr. leads Luis Vivanco by 12 wins. The 27-year-old rider was third in the standings in 2019; Sam Houston Race Park did not conduct a Quarter Horse meet last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Juan Diaz, Jr. holds a commanding lead in the trainer standings with 42 wins to Toby Keeton’s 24 victories. The leading owner title could go to the wire as Carlos Ponce, Jose R. Espinosa and John Boegner are tied with six wins each. Eight owners have won four races, so the Sam Houston Racing office made a very smart choice scheduling the Owner of the Meet race as the eleventh on Saturday night!
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 www.shrp.com.
Photos: Coady Photography