May 14, 2023


Trainer Juan Diaz Will Saddle Four in the June 3 Final

HOUSTON, TX –Sam Houston Race Park ran 18 trials for the richest race of the 2023 Quarter Horse meet,  the $461,835 Sam Houston Futurity (G2). with impressive efforts on both Friday and Saturday evenings. Five qualifiers from each night will return on Saturday, June 3.


The second night of trials had weather challenges with the first three trials running on schedule, but an intense thunderstorm delaying the running of the fifth race for an hour. However, it did not have an adverse effect on 

Rogelio Marquez, Jr.’s San Lorenzo Queen made her racing debut in the sixth trial of the evening. The daughter of Ivan James out of Dashnunder Afullmoon set the fastest time of :16.873 seconds, over a sloppy track. Luis Vivanco had the call for trainer Jesus Marquez.


“We bred 12 horses in 2021 and San Lorenzo Queen and Apollitical Jess were the two standouts,” said Rogelio Marquez. “I was nervous that our filly was making her first start under the lights and over a sloppy track. So grateful that she handled everything so professionally!”


Marquez, who lives in Rosenberg, Texas, has been a force in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas racing with the majority of his horses named after the Marquez family birthplace, San Lorenzo, Mexico. Dashnunder Afullmoon was his first stakes winner with a record of eight wins from 11 starts.  She banked $711,851 before retiring to the breeding shed.


“She was the mare who started everything for us,” added Marquez.


The fastest clocking on Friday, May 12 was achieved by Gotagogh, who was making his second start for trainer Juan Diaz, who has won the last two editions of the Sam Houston Futurity. Triple Five bid $150,000 for the colt by Favorite Cartel at the 2022 TQHA Yearling Sale. Breaking from the rail under jockey Jose Herbert, the colt bred by Bobby D. Cox, out of the Shazoom mare Signs Zoomer, surged to the finish line in :17.065 seconds, into a 12 mph headwind.  He prepped for his trial with a maiden win here on April 21, and Diaz was pleased that Gotagogh was making such progress at an early age.


“He has been great for us,” said  Diaz. “We were all there at the TQHA Yearling Sale. He was pricey, but got a lot of votes! The owners have been great; no pressure and trust the work that we do. You can’t go wrong with a fast horse!”


Triple Five is an ownership group of five friends from San Antonio, Belton, and Temple, Texas. Individually they have been involved in Quarter Horse racing for 15 years and Eduardo Leon and his wife, Vanessa, shared their experience.


“Everybody went to the Sale and were in agreement on purchasing Gotagogh,” said Leon.“We liked his pedigree and felt confident in Juan as a trainer. “Watching him win his trial was an amazing experience! In 15 years, this is our first qualifier to a major Futurity; we can’t imagine how it will feel to watch him run in the final!”


In addition to Gotagogh on Friday night, Diaz also qualified Colley’s Cartel for owner Josefina Guzman;  Juan M Lozano’s homebredJess Flying Cowgirl and Hardtotempt for owner-breeder Louis Malechek III. 


Here is a link to the ten qualifiers who will return for the 2023 Sam Houston Futurity on Saturday, June 3 with the winner taking home a check in the amount of $184,734. In addition, the 11th through 20th qualifiers are invited to compete in the $51,315 Sam Houston Juvenile, which will also be contested on June 3. Click here for a list of the ten qualifiers eligible for the Sam Houston Juvenile.


The notable list of past Sam Houston Futurity champions includes War Colors, Azoom, All American Winner, Snowy Alibi, Especially Tres, Ivan James and This Is An Eagle. Several winners have gone on to national prominence, including  Kiss My Hocks, who won in 2014 and was honored as AQHA Champion 2-Year-Old Colt, and Trump My Record, who was named 2019 AQHA Champion 2-Year-Old Gelding.


Two Graded Stakes are Set for Friday, May 19 at Sam Houston Race Park 

Live racing continues from Thursday, May 18 through Saturday, May 20. Friday’s card will feature two excellent features, the $209,200 Sam Houston Derby (G3) and the $50,000-added Sam Houston Classic (G2)


Trials were run for the Sam Houston Derby on April 29 with Jess Good Wine setting the fastest 350-yard time of the evening of :17:323 seconds, aided by a 12 mph tailwind. Owned by Guns Up Racing, the Oklahoma-bred son of Jess Good Reason Sa out of the Mr. Jess Perry mare Mr. Perrys Wine has been installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite and will break from post eight under rider Bryan Candanosa.  A field of eight will compete in the Sam Houston Classic at a distance of 440 yards. Carlos Ponce’s Jet Black Grace drew the rail for trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. at odds of 2-1. The son of Jet Black Patriot ran in the 2022 Texas Classic Futurity and followed that with back-to-back victories. Juan Pulido will pilot the 4-year-old gelding, who has finished in the money in seven of his eight career efforts. Post time for Friday’s program is 6:15 pm with the Sam Houston Classic running as race nine and the Sam Houston Derby as the 10th race.


Sam Houston Race Park to Simulcast the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 20

The second leg of Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown is the Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, May 20. Sam Houston Race Park will open at 8:00 am on Saturday, May 20. Fans can watch and wager on the entire Preakness card, which begins at 9:30 am as well as Sam Houston’s live Quarter Horse races, with an early first post of 1:00 pm. The popular Corgi Races will take place in between races; something for everyone on Preakness Day at Sam Houston Race Park!  For more information on racing and special events in the 2023 Quarter Horse live racing season, visit


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 Entertainment 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