Apr 25, 2021


Trainer Adrian Huitron Will Have Four, Including Fastest Qualifier Fear The Dragon in the Saturday, May 14 Final

HOUSTON, TX – It was an exciting start for the 2021 Quarter Horse racing season at Sam Houston Race Park, which commenced on Friday, April 23. On Saturday, April 24, the card was highlighted by ten trials for the $332,900 Sam Houston Derby (G3) with Rogelio Marquez Jr’s San Lorenzo becoming Quarter Horse racing’s newest millionaire.


Trials for futurities and derbies are always stressful for the connections, but there was added pressure tonight for Marquez and trainer Hector Alcala. If San Lorenzo, a son of Coronas Leaving You out of the Mr Eye Opener mare In The Open, were to win his trial, he would become the first million dollar earner for Marquez. As fate would have it, he would have to wait until the tenth and final trial of the evening to clinch the exceptional milestone.


San Lorenzo had won both the $1 million Lee Berwick Futurity (RG1) at Delta Downs as well as the LQHBA Louisiana Million Futurity last December 16 at Evangeline Downs. Under regular rider David Alvarez, the striking bay colt exploded from the starting gate and drew clear of his six rivals, crossing the wire of the 350-yard trial in :17:408 seconds, earning a 105 speed index. 


It was a relief and tremendous blessing for Marquez, who named his horse in honor of  the family birthplace, San Lorenzo, Mexico. Marquez and his father own a construction company in Rosenberg, Texas and have been Quarter Horse owners since 2017. Their first stakes foray came that year at Sam Houston Race Park when Wild Tycoon ran in the Texas Twister. Success came quickly with stakes winners in Louisiana, including eight victories by the sensational filly, Dashnunder Afullmoon. She won the Lassie and Lee Berwick Futurities at Delta Downs and retired with earnings of $711,951.


"People told us that we would never have another horse as great as Dashnunder Afullmoon, "said Marquez. "That was just the beginning. We just stayed focused and then San Lorenzo came.  Thank God we were able to have our first million dollar earner tonight." 


San Lorenzo was a $68,000 LQHBA Yearling Sale repurchase, and Marquez spoke highly of the breeders.


"I have always said that Jim and Natalie Montgomery are one of the top breeders in Louisiana. San Lorenzo’s dam, In The Open, is one special mare," he added.


"We knew it was going to be tough, but this is an amazing horse,” said trainer Hector Alcala.



San Lorenzo won his trial with the second-fastest clocking of the evening as Jose Espinoza’s Fear The Dragon was very impressive is his victory, setting the top mark of :17.331 seconds. Jockey Manuel Gutierrez, who won four races on the card, guided the son of Favorite Cartel to the wire, earning a 107 speed index.


Trainer Adrian Huitron saddled eight potential qualifiers, but knew that Fear The Dragon, who qualified last year for the Speedhorse Futurity(G3), the Dash For Cash Futurity(G2) and Evangeline Downs Futurity(G3), was a very solid competitor.

"Two-year-old's are still learning; as 3-year-olds, you just have to work with them," Huitron said after the win. "You make little tweaks and get them ready. We knew he had it in him. Manny did a great job. He shipped to three surrounding states last year; we felt he was going to be one of our best runners in the trials."

Tall Timbers won the opening trial owner Dianna Karen Estrada and trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. Also ridden by Manuel Gutierrez, the son of Corona Cartel posted a half-length win in :17.488 seconds, a 103 speed index with a 12 mph tailwind, the fourth fastest on the night.


 "He came out strong," said Diaz. "He had a little bit of a tail wind behind him and could have gone a couple more yards. His owners are here in Texas; we have high hopes for him."


The top ten qualifiers will return on Friday, May 14 with the winner earning a check in the amount of $133,160. Click here for a complete list of the finalists.


Jonathan Horowitz Next in the Sam Houston Race Park Announcer Rotation 

Racing fans will have the opportunity to listen to unique race calls from a variety of guest announcers throughout the 2021 Quarter Horse meet. Opening weekend duties went to John McGary, the voice of Louisiana Downs. He will be back in the Louisiana Downs booth for opening day of their Thoroughbred meet on Saturday, May 1.  


When live racing returns on Thursday, April 29, Jonathan Hororwitz will be in the booth and co-hosting the SHRPe preview show with Sam Houston Race Park’s racing analyst Trey Stiles. An industry veteran who called his first at Los Alamitos Race Course in 1999, Horowitz broadcasts horse races around the world for the Arabian Jockey Club and is the president of CANTER USA.


Other respected industry professionals lending their voices to Sam Houston Race Park through the 2021 Quarter Horse meet include Nick Tammaro, John Lies and Jessica Paquette.  


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 1:05 pm for Kentucky Derby Day on Saturday, May 1; the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 15 and the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 5. The 23-day meet continues through Saturday, June 12.


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