Aug 8, 2021


Valiant Tiberias Wins the $55,726 Bank of America Texas Challenge

HOUSTON, TX - Sam Houston Race Park hosted a stakes-filled 11 race card on Saturday, August 7 to wrap up its 2021 Quarter Horse live racing season. The evening also concluded by honoring leading owner John Boegner; trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. and jockey Victor Urieta, Jr.


Valiant Tiberias Dominates in the $55,726 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship 

Eight older horses competed 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 punched his ticket to the national competition with a brilliant performance under jockey Victor Urieta, Jr. The pair broke well and extended their early lead to a two-length victory. The final time for the 440-yard final was 21.697 with a 104 speed index.


Valiant Tiberias is trained by Juan Diaz, Jr. for owners Sergio Holguin, Clifton Nielsen and Felix Rodriguez.


"We've had him since he was three," said Holguin. "We got him when he was a maiden and he has won a lot of races for us. Horses like this are hard to come by!”


The 5-year-old Valiant Hero gelding was disqualified in his most recent start, the King Williams Stakes, also at Sam Houston.


 Regarding the King William, Holguin said, "It's not the first time he has done that. We are always praying he will come out straight. He did that today, and Victor did a great job; we are very proud of him."


The accomplished multiple graded stakes winner earned $26,749 in the win, bringing his lifetime earnings to $688,432. He has 11 wins from 24 starts, including the Refrigerator Stakes (G1) at Lone Star and the Sooner State Stakes (G1) at Remington. He is no stranger to the Challenge Championships, having won the Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G3) in 2019 after winning the Ruidoso Adequan Derby Challenge and qualifying to the All American Derby (G1).


Valiant Tiberias ($2.40) was bred in Oklahoma by Reliance Ranches, LLC, out of the Feature Mr Jess mare American Feature. 


My Fast Prize and Nestor Duran chased the winner and finished in second place, a neck in front of Tempting Violet in third. Patrick Clemons trains the 4-year-old son of Mr Jess Perry for Ruse Ranch LLC. He was bred in Texas by Weetona Stanley, out of the Corona Cartel mare Coronas Fast Prize.

My Fast Prize qualified to the All American Futurity (G1) and the Texas Classic Futurity (G1) in 2019 and was second in the All American Invitational Stakes as a 3-year-old. He has two wins from 17 starts and added $11,424 to his lifetime total of 246,469.

Prior to Saturday’s Challenge qualifier, My Fast Prize competed in the Miss Polly Classic Stakes (G2) at Delta and was third in the Sam Houston Stakes in May.

Tempting Violet completed the trifecta at odds of 50-1. Eleazar Hernandez rode the 4-year-old filly for trainer Leonel Hernandez and owner SLC Racing, LLC. 

Completing the field were Dm La Jolla Cartel, Krash Course, Hb Birdman, Bv Last Kiss and Winter Brook.


Pete Scarmardo Homebreds Run First and Second in the $89,180 Sires’ Cup Derby

Prominent Texas breeder Pete Scarmardo had 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.

In the final tonight, it was fastest qualifier His Time to Deal who overcame traffic at the start to win by nearly two lengths as trainer John Stinebaugh and owner/breeder Pete Scarmardo swept the exacta.

His Time to Deal ($8.80) and Francisco Calderon covered the 400 yards in 20.125 and earned a 101 speed index.

His Time to Deal qualified to the TQHA Sires Cup Futurity in 2020 after winning the John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge (G3). His winner’s share of $35,672 brings his career earnings to $98,921 and he is now five for eight lifetime.

John Stinebaugh trains the graded stakes winner for owner and breeder Pete Scarmardo.

"Pete and I have just started working together," said Stinebaugh. "His Time to Deal looked killer in the trials; both horses did. I liked our draw as sometimes drawing together can be the kiss of death!"

The same connections teamed up for the second-place finisher, Watch Him B Famous. Scarmardo bred the gelding in Texas, by One Famous Eagle and also out of Lady Lilia, by First Down Dash.

After finishing first and second in the race, Scarmardo said, "I was really pleased. His Time to Deal looked very professional. Watch Him B Famous did well and it always means a lot when you have two homebreds running one-two in a race. I enjoy racing; always tell everyone it's my therapy and it's always good when you win."

The gelding was the third fastest qualifier from two trials on July 16 and earned $17,836 as the runner-up in the final. He has $125,894 earned from 12 starts, including a third-place finish in the Texas Classic Futurity (G1).

Im Jess Dashing and Luis Vivanco were third for trainer Toby Keeton and owner Darrell Hooper. Completing the field were Ur El Modelo, Shezasecretknockout, Eye Will Decide, River Rat, War Eagle, Onemoreandiamgone and El Chocolatito.




Fastest Qualifier EM High Country Takes the $155,880 Sires’ Cup Futurity (RG3)

With an impressive late kick under jockey Rodrigo Vallejo, fastest qualifier Em High Country returned Saturday night to win the $155,880 TQHA Sires' Cup Futurity(RG3) at Sam Houston Race Park.


Em High Country raced over the 350 yards in :17.762 seconds, equaling a 94 speed index into an 8 mph headwind, to defeat Kas Shes Ec by one-length. The son of second-crop sire Docs Best Card pocketed $62,352 for the effort.


"He didn't break as well tonight as he did in the trial, but zoomed at the end," Vallejo said.


Trainer Robert Madrigal conditions the Oklahoma homebred for owner-breeder Efrain Mendez.


"We bred him and are very proud of how he runs," Mendez said. "He is paid into the Texas Classic Futurity at Lone Star."


Out of the Mr Eye Opener mare Johns Party Girl, Em High Country has compiled a (5) 3-2-0 record and banked $253,855 this season. He was second in the RG1 Remington Park Oklahoma-Bred Futurity(RG1) and the Fl Lady Bug Stakes (RG3) earlier this year.


Runner-up Kas Shes Ec picked up $31,176 for finishing second. Juan Diaz, Jr. trains the daughter of champion EC Jet One from the Make It Anywhere mare Beaukas. The lightly raced filly was making only her fourth career start for owner-breeder Francisco J. Garza. 


The John Boegner bred-owned and trained Jb Shiner Bok finished three-quarters back to earn $15,588 for third. Francisco Giles rode the Boknaai gelding out of Streakin N Dancin by Streakin Lajolla. The gray gelding entered the race with a perfect 2-for-2 record and has banked $40,638 in three starts this year.


Reimagine, Nothun On Me, Sign And Shine, Jess Perfect Moon, A Kool Kiss and Favorite Temptation completed the field.



Wearereadynow Surges to Victory in the $50,640 Colors of the Alamo Paint & Appaloosa Futurity(G2)

Stakes action got underway on Saturday’s card at Sam Houston Race Park in the third race with the $50,640 Colors of the Alamo Paint and Appaloosa Futurity(G2).


Trials were contested on July 15 with fourth-fastest qualifier Wearereadynow closing gamely from his far outside post for the victory.


Owned by Leonard Breeden, the gelded son of APHA World Champion Painted Turnpike crossed the wire of the 350-yard final in :17.929 seconds, 89 speed index into an 8 mph headwind, under rider Gaspar Garcia.


"He got out a little in his trial," said trainer Randall Read. "He just had to get a hold of him and he ran a good one tonight."


This was the third win in four starts for the Texas-bred gelding($7.40) who will make his next start at Lone Star Park. The $19,244 winners' purse boosted Wearereadynow's earnings to $47,688.


Secret Livewire earned $8,609 for second and Cheyenne News picked up $5,570 for third.  Party In The Wagon, Fourwinds De Capi, Dos Pennies, Drive, Little Wagon Dreams and Wf Wisakejak completed the order of finish. Cl Painted Shadows was an early scratch.



Snow Advisory Scores the Upset in the $25,000 Colors of the Wind Paint and Appaloosa Stakes


Jennifer Chapa's Snow Advisory made the most of her Sam Houston Race Park debut on Saturday, finishing with a flourish to win the $25,000 Colors Of The Wind Paint and Appaloosa Stakes.

The 5-year-old daughter of multiple stakes sire Lota Pyc (QH) picked up her first stakes win in her 20th lifetime start. Trainer Anselmo Cruz gave a leg up to jockey Rolando Cabrera, who had never ridden the mare before. The $9,500 winner's purse boosted her bankroll to $52,877.

"I just told him to be ready because she likes to come running in the end," he explained.

That she did, covering 350-yards in :18.031 seconds over the fast track and rewarding her supporters with a Win payout of $18.60.

Post time favorite WB Stevie Nix ran second followed by Live Moonshine and just Wishn, Separate Wagons, Jess Mean N Wild, Moonpiebywire, Heza Wicked Man, Paint Your Lips and Junipers Bull.


Leading Jockey, Trainer and Owner Were Honored Saturday Night 

Victor Urieta, Jr. won his first Sam Houston jockey title with domination throughout the season as he made 54 trips to the winner’s circle. 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. Luis Vivanco won 41 races to finish second.


Juan Diaz, Jr. held the commanding lead in the trainer standings throughout the meet, finishing with 43 wins and $1.6 million in purses. Toby Keeton was second with 24 victories. 


The leading owner title went down to the wire  with  John Boegner winning seven races over Carlos Ponce and Jose R. Espinosa who tied with six wins each. 



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