Belmont Stakes & Bag of Donuts
June 8, 2024


Jan 31, 2021


Houston Racing Festival Set for Sunday, January 31

HOUSTON, TX-  Texas-breds took center stage Saturday night at Sam Houston Race Park with the running of the $75,000 Darby’s Daughter and the $75,000 My Dandy. Both features were contested at the distance of five and one-half furlongs on the main track.


Impressive Texas Debut for Star of the North in the $75,000 Darby’s Daughter

A classy group of Texas-bred fillies were featured in the first stakes race of the 2021 Sam Houston Race Park meet with Star of the North living up to her post-time favoritism.


Trained by Francisco Bravo, the daughter of The Hunk out of the Danhill mare Always A Star (IRE) made her racing debut at Canterbury Park in Minnesota last July. She broke her maiden on August 17 and scored a four-length victory in the $100,000 Northern Lights Debutante on September 9. Jockey Ry Eikleberry was aboard for all three starts in Minnesota and had the return call this evening.


Eikleberry guided the dark bay filly from the rail, holding off a brief challenge by Swift Red Bird before drawing clear by 2 ¼ lengths. Her final time, over a fast track, was 1:05.88


“She’s always had a ton of speed and has been very professional,” said Eikleberry. “The only time she was beat was in her first start; she’s been great ever since. The six horse out broke me, so I just tried to hold my position. She was much the best!”


She is the first stakes winner by The Hunk who stands in Fredericksburg, Texas for owner, Michael Grossman. He was trackside to see Star of the North win her second consecutive stakes.


“I leave all the racing decisions to Francisco,” he said. “We are very proud of this filly!”


Bravo liked how well Star of the North ran off the four-month layoff.


“This filly she’s been really good and knows how to take care of herself,” he said. “She’ll stay at Sam Houston until it’s over. Michael and I will have a couple of beers and decide what to do!”


Wink Texas completed the exacta under Lindey Wade followed by Swift Red BirdCosmetology, Bebop Baby and Great Affection.


Star of the North ($3.60) has now won three of her four career starts. Her earnings stand at $125,350, including tonight’s winner’s share of $44,550.


The Texas Thoroughbred Association sponsors the Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Texas Stallion Stakes Series (TSSS), a set of races for progeny of nominated Texas-based stallions. The series features three sets of races, each split into two divisions (colts/geldings and fillies) for a purse of $75,000 per division. The races honor a notable Texas horse of the past.  Darby’s Daughter made her racing debut in 1988, winning two stakes at Louisiana Downs, the Grade 2, Miss Grillo at Aqueduct and the San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar. She retired with an impressive record of five wins from 15 starts and earnings of $435,104.



Front Running Score for Carbon Stryker in the $75,000 My Dandy

A field of eight colts and geldings entered the starting gate in the $75,000 My Dandy, but there was no catching Three Feathers Farm’s Carbon Stryker, who took the lead under jockey Ernesto Valdez-Jimenez and drew off by 2 ¼ lengths.


This was the seventh start for the gelding sired by Crossbow out of the Silver Train mare Whiskey Girl. Bred by Randel Ray Riley, Carbon Stryker is trained by Karl Broberg. He made his debut at Lone Star Park, running third in the Texas Stallion Stakes before breaking his maiden on September 4 at Prairie Meadows.


“My instruction to Ernesto is that no lead would be big enough,” said Broberg. “He faced a pretty tough field when he ran here on January 9 (finishing third, but place second following a disqualification).

Valdez-Jiminez rode TTA Horse of the Year Mr Money Bags for the majority of his races last year and was very comfortable aboard Carbon Stryker this evening, drawing off in 1:05.26.

“Last time, I tried to hold him back and he did not like it,” said Valdez-Jiminez. “Today when I talked to Mr. Broberg, he said let him go and see what he does. He is happier when he goes to the lead.”

Doug Scharbauer’s Stone Cafe rallied for second under Lindey Wade with longshot Sr. Bi completing the trifecta. KC Tiz Moro, Tap the Dot, Dust Em, Policy Limit and Island Sun completed the order of finish.

Sent off as the second choice in the wagering, Carbon Stryker paid $8.00 for the win and increased his career bankroll to $86,977.

My Dandy was a 1925 Texas-bred foal who boasted a lifetime record of 191 starts with 47 wins and earnings of $137,923.  A true “iron horse”, he ran from 1927 to 1935 and in 1930 made 43 starts in a single year. 


Sam Houston Race Park will showcase additional stakes races for Texas-breds on Saturday, February 20 with Texas Preview Day featuring the five stakes and Saturday, March 20 when the northwest Houston racetrack presents Texas Champions Day with seven $100,000 stakes on the card.


Houston Racing Festival Set for Sunday, January 31

The stakes-filled weekend at Sam Houston Race Park continues Sunday, January 31 with the Houston Racing Festival. The ten-race card gets underway with a special afternoon post time of 1:45 pm (CT). Six stakes, including the following Grade 3 features will be contested.


The ninth renewal of the Grade 3, $300,000 Houston Ladies Classic will run as the eighth race on the Houston Racing Festival Card. The field of seven, from the rail, with riders and morning line odds, is as follows: Motion Emotion, Miguel Mena, 7-2; Jeweled Princess, Reylu Gutierrez, 8-1; Ujjayi, Rafael Manuel Hernandez, 6-1; Lady Apple, Stewart Elliott, 4-1; Figure It Out, Lane Luzzi, 15-1; Shes Our Fastest, Ry Eikleberry, 20-1 and Letruska, Jesus Castanon, 1-1. 


In addition, the Grade 3, John B. Connally Turf Cup, which will run as the ninth race on the card, attracted a full field of turf specialists. The field for the one and one-half mile stakes, from the rail, with riders and morning-line odds is as follows: Celerity, Iram Diego, 30-1; Signalman, Reylu Gutierrez, 12-1; Ajourneytofreedom, Jesus Castanon, 10-1; Tenfold, Stewart Elliott., 6-1; Conviction Trade, Rafael Hernandez, 7-2; Marzo, Albin Jimenez, 10-1; Tuts Revenge, Ry Eikleberry, 9-2; Chagi, Weston Hamilton, 50-1; Vettori Kin(Brz), Miguel Mena, 20-1; Spooky Channel, Julien Leparoux, 5-2; Strong Tide, Sophie Doyle, 30-1 and Henley’s Joy, Declan Carroll ,15-1.


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