Belmont Stakes & Bag of Donuts
June 8, 2024
May 18, 2022


Simulcast of the 147th Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 21

HOUSTON, TX – Last weekend Sam Houston Race Park conducted twenty exciting trials for the $700,000-estimated Sam Houston Futurity (G2). On Friday, May 20, the spotlight will be on older horses with four stakes, highlighted by the final of the $255,400 Sam Houston Derby (G3).  Post time is 6:45 pm (CT).


Fastest Qualifier Special Apollitical  Headlines the $255,400 Sam Houston Derby (G3)

Sam Houston Race Park ran seven trials on Saturday, April 30 for the $255,400 Sam Houston Derby (G3)with impressive performances throughout the card.


Adam Smith’s homebred Special Apollitical set the fastest qualifying time of :17.900 seconds in the 350-yard trials under rider Luis Vivanco. The gelding by Apollitical Jess out of the Pyc Paint Your Wagon mare Scouts Special Wagon returned to action following his seventh-place finish in the $1.1 million Texas Classic Futurity (G1) at Lone Star Park last November. 


Trainer Toby Keeton is hopeful that Special Apollitical can pick up his fourth career win on Friday night.


“I got this horse after the All American Futurity trials last August at Ruidoso Downs,” said Keeton. “He won his trial to the Texas Classic Futurity, but got run over in the final. He was “studdy” colt, so we gelded him after Lone Star.  He ran a real good race here in his trial and came back well.”


This would be the second title in the Sam Houston Derby for Keeton, who won the 2000 edition with Bens Coasting.


Rogelio Marquez Jr., who resides in Rosenberg, Texas, hopes that his qualifier San Lorenzeaux has a better break in the final than he did in his trial. The gelded son of Carters Cartel stumbled out of the gate, but recovered under jockey Raul Ramirez, Jr. to secure the fifth-fastest qualifying time.


“The hardest thing about owning a Quarter Horse is watching them in the gate,” said Marquez. “When they stumble, your heart sinks to your stomach! He found his stride and was able to qualify. I was fortunate to have “Chico” riding. He always knows how to handle those situations.”


San Lorenzeaux was bred in Louisiana by Kenneth Garcia and ran second in the Laddie Futurity and Delta Downs before winning the LQHBA Sale Futurity last October at Evangeline. He was narrowly defeated in the LQHBA Louisiana Million, completing his 2-year-old season with earnings of $551,883. Jesus Marquez trains the bay gelding, who will break from post position seven at odds of 9-5.  

Dealarunner secured the second fastest clocking for his owner and trainer Mario G. Rodriguez. Jockey Francisco Giles has the return call. The gelding sired by Dealagame was a finalist in the 2021 Dash For Cash Juvenile at Lone Star Park last October.

Lucky Dice, owned by J & J Stone Company, will break from the far outside post with Manuel Gutierrez in the saddle. The colt sired by One Sweet Jess is trained by Pedro A. Lopez and ran third in the 2021 Sam Houston Futurity (G2).


The Sam Houston Derby (G3) will run as the eighth race on the card with an approximate post time of 9:55 pm (Central). 


Multiple Stakes Winner Stone Cold Leader Takes on Six Rivals in the $50,000 Harris County Stakes

Six entrants will duel 550 yards in the $55,000 Harris County Stakes, with Patrick Richardson’s Stone Cold Leader installed as the 4-5 morning line favorite. The Indiana-bred son of Brookstone Bay will return in search of his eleventh stakes win. The 7-year-old gelding has bankrolled $606,427 in 34 career efforts.


Bryan Candanosa will guide Stone Cold Leader from post position six for trainer Charles Duke Shults and proud owner Richardson, who lives in South Carolina. He rode him to victory in last year’s  $50,000 Tower of Americas Stakes, also at 550 yards.


“He likes the Sam Houston surface and still loves to run,” said Richardson. “For him to be so good as a 2-year-old and still be competitive as an aged horse is really something. I don’t think there are words for it.” 


Richardson will be in Houston on Friday night, to watch his accomplished gelding compete in what could be his last race.


“He’s done so much for our family and his success has allowed us to buy some younger horses,” explained Richardson. “We have a finalist in the Laddie Futurity at Delta Downs, so I am prepared to say this looks like Stone Cold Leader’s final race before we bring him home to South Carolina.”


His main rivals appear to be Bluestar Racing’s Dak, who is trained by Tob Keeton and will be ridden by Luis Vivanco and Love Ta Zoom, who will break from the rail under jockey Froylan Ramirez for owner Zoom Racing. Kie Mushinski trains the 8-year-old son of Azoom.


The Harris County Stakes will run as the fifth race on the card, with an approximate post time of 8:36 pm.


The Kings Horse Draws the Rail in the $50,000 Governors’ Cup Marathon

Distance specialists square off in the second stakes of the evening, the $50,000 Governors’ Cup Marathonwith a field of eight competing at the distance of 870 yards.

Sam Houston Race Park is a one-mile track, and the inside posts offer horses a ground saving advantage versus 

the outside gates.  Trainer Lewis “Tooter” Jordan was pleased that his runner The Kings Horse drewthe rail.


“The one hole makes a big difference; he’s been training well, and I look for a good effort from him,” said the veteran Texas horseman.


The 6-year-old is bred and owned by Bullard Farms and ran second in the 2021 Benny Pennington Memorial 

last summer.  Claudio Aguilar, who was aboard for his seven-length score on May 6, retains the mount.



Stakes winning Thoroughbred trainer Karen Jacks has entered Slp Mighty High, a 9-year-old son of Mighty Invictus owned by Carl Moore Management. Francisco Giles has the call and will break from post seven. Daniel Kjorsvik’s homebred Holy Storm ships in from Remington Park for trainer Patrick Swan with Ali Rivera in the saddle. The stakes-placed Minnesota-bred is the high earner in the field with $168,999 banked in 45 starts.


Stakes winning Thoroughbred trainer Karen Jacks has entered Slp Mighty High, a 9-year-old son of Mighty Invictus owned by Carl Moore Management. Francisco Giles has the call and will break from post seven. Daniel Kjorsvik’s homebred Holy Storm ships in from Remington Park for trainer Patrick Swan with Ali Rivera in the saddle. The stakes-placed Minnesota-bred is the high earner in the field with $168,999 banked in 45 starts.


Defending Champion Black Cazador Faces Nine Rivals in the $50,000 Sam Houston Stakes

The $50,000 Sam Houston Stakes will be one of the more competitive undercard features on Friday night with a field of ten competing at the distance of 350 yards.


Raul Rubalcava’s homebred Black Cazador, a 6-year-old son of Oak Tree Special, scored a huge upset here in this feature last year, at odds of 44-1. Now in the barn of Roberto Madrigal, the multiple-stakes winner will be ridden by Luis Vivanco from post position eight.


Rogelio Marquez Jr.’s Diane to be a Hero makes his Sam Houston debut and second start of his 4-year season

Sired by One Valiant Hero, qualified for the Firecracker and Delta Derbies at Delta Downs as well as the 

Evangeline Derby last December at Evangeline Downs. Jesus Marquez trains with Raul Ramirez, Jr. on the 

5-2 morning line choice.


Da Devil Made Me Do It won the $208,000 Retama Park Derby last year, which was contested at Sam 

Houston Race Park due to winter storm damage at Retama Park. Tooter Jordan trains for owners Geri J. 

Partnership.  Claudio Aguilar will break from the rail aboard the gelded son of Fdd Going Grand. 


“He had minor surgery after the Dash For Cash Derby at Lone Star,” said Jordan. “That was a very tough

Race, but he’s doing well and worked a bullet (11.01) on April 28.”


El Camino Cl, has topped the $300,000 earnings mark and is now in the barn of Justin Powell as he ships in

from two stakes appearances at Remington Park. 


The Sam Houston Stakes is carded as the seventh race on the ten-race program.


Sam Houston Race Park to Simulcast the 147th Preakness Stakes

Sam Houston Race Park invites racing fans to enjoy live Quarter Horse racing and the simulcast of the second leg of Thoroughbred’s Triple Crown on Saturday, May 21. Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen, who won his 14th leading trainer title here in March, will saddle Epicenter, the runner-up in the 148th Kentucky Derby. Nine are entered in this year’s Grade 1, Preakness Stakes at Pimilico Race Course.


Live Quarter Horse racing begins at a special early post time of 1:00 pm.  For those unable to wager on the Preakness on Saturday, Sam Houston Race Park will offer advance wagering on Friday, May 20.  


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





Photos:  Coady Photography