SIX STAKES INCLUDING THE $649,710 SAM HOUSTON FUTURITY SET FOR SATURDAY, JUNE 4 AT SAM HOUSTON RACE PARK
$72,190 Sam Houston Juvenile Will Also be Contested on the Program
HOUSTON, TX - Sam Houston Race Park will host a stakes spectacular on Saturday, June 4 with six Quarter Horse features highlighted by the richest race of the season, the $649,710 Sam Houston Futurity (G2). Ten talented juveniles clinched their berths trials run on Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14. Ten 330-yard trials were completed each night with the five fastest qualifiers from each night advancing to the final.
The fastest clocking came in the final trial on Saturday, May 14, when Maria Solis’ homebred Jmg Apollitical Capo unleashed a powerful gate-to wire performance, covering 330-yards in :17.005 seconds under rider Luis Vivanco. This was the fourth career start for the son of Capo de Capi out of the Apollitical Jess mare Gold Ounce. Trained by Raul Rodriguez, Jr., the Louisiana-bred colt qualified for the $324,288 Louisiana Downs Futurity (G3), running seventh in the April 3 final. He also had one prep race at Sam Houston Race Park three weeks later, in which he finished fourth.
Texas horseman Rodriguez has been training since 2018 and looks forward to saddling the bay colt as he makes his fifth career start.
“He continues to mature, and we are impressed on how he has improved every time he runs,” said Rodriguez. “It’s a very competitive race, but he came out of his trial in good shape and seems comfortable (stabled) here at Sam Houston.”
Veteran rider Luis Vivanco, who won the 2014 Sam Houston Futurity aboard Kiss My Hocks, will guide Jmg Apollitical Capo from post position six.
Friday’s fastest qualifier was Omar Mireles’ Jlc Payaso Ed who covered 330 yards in :17.051 seconds under
jockey Luis Ruiz. The gelded son of Strawflys Eagle earned a 90 speed index, and held on as the second-fastest overall qualifier. John Louis Chamberlain bred the chestnut gelding from the Game Patriot mare Bt Flair. He is trained by Joel Cantu, of Roma, Texas, who was pleased that his charge will break from the nine hole.
“I really like the draw as he did well on the outside in his trial,” said Cantu. “We were lucky to have run early in the card as the wind picked up and no horses qualified after the third race that night. He has been doing very well and worked twice.”
Trainer Juan Diaz, Jr, who won last year's edition of the championship with BH Inxs, qualified three juveniles for Saturday's final. Carlos Ponce’s Bye Corona Bye is undefeated after winning his trial and final of the $217,000 West Texas Futurity (G1) at Sunland Park on April 3. The son of Ivory James was a $27,000 purchase at the 2021 TQHA Yearling Sale, and was an impressive trial winner on May 14 under jockey Victor Urieta, Jr. He will break from post position five at odds of 3-1.
“He came out of the West Texas Futurity with no issues,” said Diaz of the undefeated Bye Corona. “He’s not a big horse, but when he breaks well, which he did again in his Sam Houston Futurity trial, he’s hard to beat.”
Diaz also qualified Hotamale, a colt by Duponte on Saturday for owners Sandoval Brothers and the Tempting Dash colt Rinc on Friday evening. Rinc runs for TYKHE Racing LLC, who won the 2021 Sam Houston Futurity with BH Inxs.
It will be an interesting rematch for several finalists in the Louisiana Downs Futurity as Jmg Apollitical will face Ponte Trucha, who won the final at the Bossier City racetrack as well as fifth-place finisher Hotamale.
Ponte Trucha was bred in California by Rancho El Cabresto Inc. The son of Duponte out of the Apollitical Jess mare Apollitical Dasher is owned by Armando Cortez and trained by Josue Huitron. The bay gelding won the first trial on Friday under jockey Heriberto Aguilar-Orozco in :17.107 seconds.
Post time for Saturday’s card is 6:50 pm (CT). The Sam Houston Futurity (G2) will run as the ninth race, with an approximate post time of 10:26 pm. The winner will earn $259,884 and join a distinguished list of past winners, including 2014 AQHA Champion 2-year-old colt, Kiss My Hocks; Azoom; Snowy Alibi, Ivan James, Especially Tres and 2019 champion Trump My Record.
Here is the field, in post-position order, including jockey assignments and odds:
1. Ponte Trucha (Heriberto Aguilar-Orozco), 4-1
2. Jess Sea Louisiana (Ali Rivera) 8-1
3. Rinc (Jose Hebert), 20-1
4. Moonin Deluxe (Bryan Candanosa), 15-1
5. Bye Corona Bye (Victor Urieta, Jr.), 3-1
6. Jmg Apollitical Capo (Luis Vivanco), 7-2
7. Lj Luna Llena (Francisco Calderon), 15-1
8. Pink Kiss (Nestor Duran), 8-1
9. Jls Payaso Ed (Luis Ruiz), 6-1
10. Hotamale (Jorge Garcia), 20-1
Trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. to Saddle Four in the $72,190 Sam Houston Juvenile Stakes
One of the toughest realities in Quarter Horse racing is that hundredths of a second can make the difference in qualifying for a major championship. The top ten fastest runners earned a place in the final in the Sam Houston Futurity; the eleventh through 20th timed entrants from the trials have been invited to run in the $72,190 Sam Houston Juvenile Stakes.
Not that it’s all about the numbers, but Diaz ran 24 juveniles in trials for the Sam Houston Futurity. In addition to his three finalists for the rich final, he has four who will compete in the Sam Houston Juvenile. Lady Valiant finished second to Jmg Apollitical Capo in the May 14thtrials. Owned by Romeo Mireles, the filly by Valiant Hero made one start at Remington Park prior to shipping to Houston. Jorge Garcia will ride. Triple Five’s Irish Vamoose won her trial on May 14 in :17.375 seconds under jockey Ali Rivera who has the return call aboard the Oklahoma-bred daughter of Big Lew. Eyeing A Goodtime, owned by Juan Julian Sandoval, remains a maiden as she makes her fourth career start. Victor Urieta Jr., who rides first call for Diaz, will pilot the filly by Duponte. TYKHE Racing LLC’s Orbyson drew off by a margin of 2 ½ lengths as he made his debut on the first night of trials. Jose Hebert will reunite with the gelded son of One Fabulous Eagle and break from post position six.
From the rail, the field for the Sam Houston Juvenile is as follows:
1. Feature Five Bar (Eddi Martinez), 5-1
2. Lady Valiant (Jorge Garcia) 12-1
3. Irish Vamoose (Ali Rivera), 6-1
4. Tlc It To The Dance (Luis Vivanco), 9-2
5. Eyeing a Goodtime (Victor Urieta, Jr.), 15-1
6. Orbyson (Jose Hebert), 7-2
7. Lil Kevin (Nestor Duran), 4-1
8. Valiant Lancer (Modesto Pina), 15-1
9. Gone Grand (Eliazar Vera), 10-1
10. Sygnyfcant Impact (Bryan Candanosa), 20-1
Four Additional Stakes Set for Saturday Night
Sam Houston Race Park will also present four stakes in addition to the Sam Houston Futurity and Sam Houston Juvenile. The $50,000 John Buchanan Memorial Stakes will get the stakes action rolling in the fourth race. The 350 yard race for 3-year-old Texas-bred fillies will honor the respected Texas conditioner who passed away in 2020. Texas-bred colts and geldings will compete in race five.the $50,000 Leon Bard Memorial Stakes named for the late horseman who was prominent at Sam Houston Race Park from its opening ins 1994 to his passing earlier this year. The always exciting 110-yard $50,000 Texas Twister will run as the sixth race. In addition, a full field will compete at the “classic distance” of 440 yards in the $100,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2), carded as the eighth race on the card. An advance on the fields for these stakes will be forthcoming.
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 National Gaming. 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 www.shrp.com.
Photos: Coady Photography