Jun 6, 2023

Sam Houston Race Park's winner's circle has no formal name.

Article By: Hal Lundgren

Sam Houston Race Park's winner's circle has no formal name. 

    Were there an official title during this year's Quarter Horse meet, it would have been the Juan Diaz Jr. Winner's Circle. 

    Diaz has won his second consecutive SHRP training championship.  

    The high moment came in back-to-back races. His Jess Flying Cowgirl won the $462,000 Sam Houston Futurity. One race earlier, his Dollar Bill scored in the $51,000 Sam Houston Juvenile. 

    "Luck is always a factor in racing," Diaz said. "We were lucky." 

Maybe training skill was a bigger factor than luck. He had four horses in the Futurity. His top finishers ran first, third and fourth. 

    Diaz had lined up only three jockeys to ride his horses in that race. Juan Lozano, who owns Jess Flying Cowgirl, offered a suggestion. Lozano asked Diaz to see if Louisiana jockey Ubaldo Luna would be available as his fourth jockey in the Futurity.   

    "That was a good suggestion," Diaz said. 

Luna came to town and rode the 2-year-old maiden to her first win despite being pegged with 10-1 odds. 

    That race was the high moment of a dominant night for Diaz. His Colley's Cartel and Gotagogh ran third and fourth behind Jess Flying Cowgirl. 

    One race earlier, his Dollar Bill and Line Drive Dash ran first and third in the Sam Houston Juvenile.  

    Diaz has rested all those horses after their big weekend. 

    "We just walked them and gave them some pasture time," he said. 

There was no rest for Diaz. He had 20 stalls at SHRP. He will probably take about that many runners to Retama Park's 23-date Quarter Horse meet, which opens June 29.

    Quarter Horse summer talk often leads to speculation about Labor Day's, $3-million (estimated) All-American Futurity. Diaz won't join in speculation. 

    "Those decisions require lots of conversation," he said. "We have to talk with owners and learn about their intentions."