May 1, 2018


Special 1:00 pm Live Racing Post Time on Saturday, May 5

Sam Houston Race Park will present an action-packed weekend of live racing and the always thrilling simulcast of the 144th Running of the Kentucky Derby. Live racing resumes on Friday, May 4 at 7:00 pm with the $20,000 Sam Houston Stakes as the weekend’s lone stakes feature.


There will be a special 1:00 pm afternoon live racing program on Saturday, May 5, so that fans can enjoy the excitement of Quarter Horse action and each of the stakes from Churchill Downs leading up to the Run for the Roses.


Festivities Set for the 144th Kentucky Derby Simulcast at Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park invites Houstonians to celebrate the heritage, fashion and excitement of racing’s most prestigious day with the 144th Running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 5. The day-long sporting and social event will include live Quarter Horse racing, simulcast of the entire race card from Churchill Downs, a Kentucky Derby Hat Contest, traditional Mint Juleps, and Derby merchandise!            


Fans of all ages are encouraged to wear their favorite Kentucky Derby hat and register for the Kentucky Derby Hat contest beginning at 1:00 pam. Judging will take place at  3:00 pm). The panel of celebrity judges will award prizes to the top three patrons with a $500 first prize to the winner! 


The schedule of events is as follows:

9:00 a.m.         Gates Open

9:30 a.m.         First race from Churchill Downs

1:00 -3.00       Hat Contest Registration

1:05 p.m.         First Live Sam Houston Race

3:00 p.m.         Kentucky Derby Hat Contest Judging

5:50 p.m.         Running of the 144th Kentucky Derby


For those unable to be a part of the festivities on Saturday, Sam Houston Race Park will offer advance wagering on Friday, May 4 from 7:30 a.m. until closing. Fans can also take advantage of "Kentucky Derby Early Bird Wagering" where they can place a bet by driving to the valet parking circle from 7:30 - 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. For more information, visit


Thecartelofmiracle Leads the Field in the $20,000 Sam Houston Stakes

The $20,000 Sam Houston Stakes at 350 yards, will be contested on the Friday, May 4 live racing program.


Thecartelofmiracle returns to action for owner Mauro Luciano Villarreal and trainer Abel Flores, Jr. Bred in Texas, the gelded son of Tough and Good won the $874,000 Texas Classic Futurity last November at Lone Star Park. Jockey Manuel Gutierrez has ridden him in his last three starts and has the call Friday night on the 5-2 morning-line choice. He ran in trials three weeks ago for the Sam Houston Derby, but failed to qualify.


“He wasn’t ready,” admitted Flores. “We had turned him out on the farm following his Texas Classic Futurity win. But he came out of the trial really well and should be good to go on Friday.”


The ten-horse field includes Bellissima Chocolata, a 4-year-old Valiant Hero mare trained by Jimmy Padgett. She competed in the rich All American Derby last September at Ruidoso Downs and will make her Sam Houston debut with AQHA 2017 champion jockey Rodrigo Vallejo in the irons. One Sweet Picky ran third in the Miss Sam Houston Stakes opening weekend and drew the far outside post with Noe Suarez up.


Returning for his second start of the meet is Desdemona Rambler, owned by Dan Grube and trained by Gilbert Aguirre, III. The 4-year-old son of Tempting Dash shortens up from the 550-yard Harris County stakes on March 31, when he finished fourth under rider Juan Garcia, Jr.


The Sam Houston Stakes will run as the ninth race on the card.



Cat Scratch Dash and Tres Miracles Capture Monday Paint Stakes

Sam Houston Race Park hosted two stakes races for Paints on Monday, April 30.  Multiple stakes winner Cat Scratch Dash closed from the far outside to edge Tell Him Bye by nose in the $19,500 Colors of Texas Paint Maturity.  The 6-year-old son of  Country Quick Dash was ridden to victory by Manuel Gutierrez, covering 350-yards in  :18.302 seconds. Cat Scratch Dash is owned by Melissa Dehoyos and trained by Abelardo Flores, Jr.  Sent off as the favorite, he paid $4.80 for the victory, which was is eighth career win. Jose Martinez piloted Tell Him Bye to his runner-up finish; LP's Taken It To the Limit ran third and Jess Icy completed the superfecta.


Tres Miracles made the most of her debut, scoring the upset in the $20,000 Colors of Houston Paint Juvenile Stakes (G2). Bred and owned by Sandra Garnett-Tatom, the filly by View Me Flying broke from the rail under rider Noe Villatoro and prevailed by a neck over favorite C R B Eyes. Trained by Esteban Rubio, Tres Miracles was dismissed at odds of 13-1, rewarding her followers with a win payout of $28.80. She earned $11,000, crossing the wire of the 300 yard stakes in :16.270 seconds. Indestructibull ran third, followed by Big Red Crush.


Sam Houston Race Park to Support Fundraiser for the PDJF

Sam Houston Race Park will join the Kentucky Derby Day fundraising campaign to be held on Saturday, May 5 at tracks and racing venues across the U.S. to raise funds for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF).


Fans can show their support by stopping bidding on a variety of items including a special edition of a 2018 Woodford Reserve Kentucky Derby limited edition bottle autographed by each of the Derby jockeys. Additionally, donations will be accepted with proceeds to benefit permanently disabled jockeys' health care and living expenses. 



Sam Houston Race Park, Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, is located just 15 miles from downtown Houston, and offers a variety of attractions including 16 luxury suites overlooking the race track, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and Jockey Club.  For more information on upcoming shows, events and tickets, please visit