SAM HOUSTON RACE PARK TO HOST THE $50,000 SAN MARCOS STAKES, $50,000 SELMA STAKES, $50,000 KING WILLIAM STAKES AND $50,000 TOWER OF THE AMERICAS STAKES ON FRIDAY, JULY 2
Post Time of 6:45 pm (Central) for the Ten Race Program
HOUSTON, TX –The Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse season continues this week with live racing set for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 6:45 pm (Central). On Friday, July 2, the northwest Houston racetrack will host four stakes, ranging from 330 yards to 870 yards. Several previous stakes winners are in the fields as well as some notable veterans making their first start in Houston.
Viva Le Don Returns in the $50,000 San Marcos Stakes
The first feature of the evening, $50,000 San Marcos Stakes will run as the fourth race. The 870-yard race has drawn eight distance specialists including Viva Le Don, who was an impressive winner of the $81,000 Jesse Yoakum 870 Stakes run three weeks ago.
Bred and owned by Rockin J Running Horses, the 5-year-old son of Rock Solid Jess from the mare Viva Arriba is trained by Tammy Kay Johnson. He drew off to a 7 ½ length victory with Josh Romero in the irons, who has the return call on the 4-5 favorite.
Johnson reported that her charge came out of his most recent victory in good order.
“He’s doing really good,” she said. “He’s a very smart horse. I have no problem with his draw (post position five). A hook race is all about how the horse breaks; you can figure it out in advance, but it will be up to Josh once the gates open.”
The well-traveled Texas-bred has won eight of his 27 career starts, banking $411,806. His rivals on Friday night include Jerry Windham’s Show Time who ran third in the Jesse Yoakum 870; Sue Fike’s Love Ta Zoom who drew the rail for trainer Kie Mushinski and Favorite Kool Cartel, the runner-up in the 2020 San Marcos Stakes which took place last August at Retama Park. The son of Favorite Cartel, owned by Enrique Ibarra, is trained by Rolando Almanza.
Ss Classy Jess Leads a Competitive Field of Fillies and Mares in the $50,000 Selma Stakes
Edgar Rosales’ Ss Classy Jess lived up to her post time favoritism in the 330-yard, $80,200 Miss Sam Houston Stakes on June 12 and will take on nine rivals in the $50,000 Selma Stakes.
The 5-year-old mare by Rock Solid Jess, closed powerfully under rider Juan Garcia in :16.733 seconds, equaling a 99 speed index. She is the top earner for trainer Jose Carrizales, who began as a groom before taking out his training license three years ago.
"I loved the way she closed in the Miss Sam Houston Stakes and know she can get 350 yards on Friday," said Carrizales. “This mare loves the competition and is a blessing for our stable.”
The Texas-bred has won 15 of 34 starts with stakes wins at Louisiana Downs, Evangeline Downs, Retama Park and Lone Star adding to her $330,446 career bankroll. She will break from post position nine as the 2-1 morning line favorite with her regular pilot Garcia back aboard.
Sheza Freighttrain T will make her Sam Houston debut for owner Patrick Richardson and trainer Eric Long. The 3-year-old daughter of Freighttrain B garnered attention last year when she began her year with a runner-up finish in the Mardi Gras Futurity at Louisiana Downs prior to winning the $329,410 Lassie Futurity at Delta Downs. She has two wins already in her 3-year-old season, including a victory in the 250-yard Delta Dash on May 10. Everardo Rodriguez, the current leading rider at Delta Downs, has the call.
“She was so good as a 2-year-old and although she is not the biggest runner on the track, no one has a bigger heart,” said Long. “We felt that this was a good stakes opportunity for her.”
Breaking from the far outside post is Egoizzta Partnership’s Hh Gailforce, also sired by Freighttrain B. Purchased for $12,000 at the LQHBA Yearling Sale, she won the 2019 Mardi Gras Futurity for trainer Joel Cantu and has earned $284,121 in 17 lifetime starts. This will be her second start this meet following her seventh-place finish in the $112,000 Sam Houston Classic, at 440-yards. Hh Gailforce is cross entered in the King William Stakes.
The Selma Stakes will run as the sixth race on the card with an approximate post time of 9:10 pm.
Valiant Tiberias The One to Beat in the $50,000 King William Stakes
The $50,000 King William Stakes, at a distance of 350 yards, attracted a field of eight including multiple graded stakes winner Valiant Tiberias. 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. said that the connections were looking to regroup after Valiant Tiberias finished last in the $320,000 Debbie Schauf Remington Park Invitational Championship (G1) on May 29. Installed as the 7-5 choice, the Oklahoma-bred will shorten from 440 yards with Sam Houston leading jockey Victor Urieta Jr.in the saddle.
“He ran really well in the Sooner State (at Remington Park) but had a tough race in the Remington Park Invitational,” explained Diaz. “He didn’t break, and you can’t make a mistake against horses of that caliber, so James (Flores) just eased him. He’s been training well, and we thought this was a good stakes for him to get his confidence back. The owners like Sam Houston and Victor has been riding very well there.”
Pa Cha Ching, a 4-year-old son of Tempting Dash will make his second stakes run here following a game victory in the $80,250 Sam Houston 250 Stakes. Bred by Pat Allen and trained by John Stinebaugh, the sorrel colt made his 12th career start for the ownership group of Robert Armor and Samuel and Helen Henderson, The runner-up to Trump My Record in the 2019 Sam Houston Futurity (G2), Pa Cha Ching returns with jockey
Jose Ivan Martinez, as the 3-1 second choice in the King William, which will run as race seven.
CT Racing Stables Katchi Dat returns off his fourth-place finish in the Sam Houston Classic. The 4-year-old son of Favorite Cartel will be ridden by Everardo Rodriguez for trainer Eric Long.
Stone Cold Leader Headlines the Field in the $50,000 Tower of the Americas Stakes
The final stakes on Friday night’s card is the 550-yard $50,000 Tower of the Americas Stakes.
Patrick Richardson’s Stone Cold Leader headlines the eight-horse field as he returns off his runner-up finish in the $112,000 Sam Houston Classic. The Indiana-bred son of Brookstone Bay has eight stakes wins since he made his debut at Indiana Grand, capturing two futurities in 2017. He made his presence felt the following year Louisiana, winning both the Firecracker Derby at Delta Downs and the Evangeline Downs Derby. The 6-year-old gelding has bankrolled $563,293 in 30 career efforts.
Bryan Candanosa has the return call aboard Stone Cold Leader from post position eight for trainer Eric Long as the 8-5 morning line favorite.
“He’s run well at 400 and 440 yards, but we chose this race based on how well he has been closing at the end,” said Long. “Bryan has galloped for us in Louisiana, is a young rider with natural talent We believe in him and know how hard it is to break through in Texas and Louisiana with so many established jockeys.”
Sarah Huskey’s Ghost Bear returns off a dead-heat victory in the $80,000 Sam Houston 550 Stakes on June 12. Trainer Esteban Rubio had faith that the 4-year-old Phantom Menace gelding could compete at the stakes level, and he was rewarded when the Texas-bred finished in a dead-heat with Dak.
"The owner didn't want me to run him in the 550 stake, but I knew he could do it," said Rubio, who will give a leg up to rider Ali Rivera.
Jessica Remington’s Ten Sent has hit the board in both of his starts at Sam Houston Race Park. Trained by Ty Remington, the son of Country Chicks Man finished a head behind Ghost Bear and Dak and reunites with his regular pilot Cordarelton Benn. They will break from post position three at odds of 6-1.
Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse Racing Post Times
Post time will be 6:45 pm (Central) throughout the 20-day season, which will conclude on August 7. A complete list of racing dates, stakes and trial dates is available on shrp.com.
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