TEXAS SUMMER SHOWDOWN AT SAM HOUSTON RACE PARK FEATURED REPEAT STAKES WINNERS AND MORE THAN A FEW SURPRISES
Trainer Rolando Almanza Won Three Stakes on the Friday Night Card
HOUSTON, TX – Sam Houston Race Park hosted an action-packed Quarter Horse card saluting Texas-breds with six Texas Summer Showdown stakes on the program.
Won Famous Dash Tops His Stablemate in the $63,500 TQHA Classic Stakes (RG3)
The stakes-filled card began with an upset when Won Famous Dash delivered an impressive victory in the $63,500 TQHA Classic for 3-year-old and up Texas-breds.
The Giorgino gelding picked up his first career stakes win in gate-to-wire fashion, winning the 400-yard event by over two lengths. He earned a 111 speed index and posted a final time of 19.719.
Bryan Candanosa had the call on Won Famous Dash ($23.40) for trainer Rolando Almanza. The 3-year-old is owned and bred by Scarlett Hill Farm Inc., out of the graded stakes winning mare Lil Famous Dash, by One Famous Eagle.
Won Famous Dash has now earned $80,451 in 11 starts with three victories. He has finished in the money in four of five starts at Sam Houston as a 3-year-old; as a 2-year-old, he qualified for the Evangeline Downs Futurity (G3) in December.
Almanza swept the exacta with Won Famous Dash and Carry the Memories, who led the rest of the field by a half-length to finish in second place.
"To be honest, I didn't think he would run that fast!” said Almanza about the winner. “Our choice was Carry the Memories, that’s why Ricardo [Garza-Cruz] picked him. I was just really happy that we were able to run one-two!”
Almanza also co-owns Carry the Memories with Cesar Rosales and breeder Scarlett Hill Farm, Inc.
Completing the field were Beduino La Jolla, Air to Em Jess, Kiss My Annee GI and Doz Coronas.
Viva Le Don Clinches His Third Stakes win of the Meet in the $50,000 Benny Pennington Memorial
Distance specialists return in the $50,000 Benny Pennington Memorial Stakes. The even-money favorite in the 870-yard race was Viva Le Don, who has dazzled in both the $81,000 Jesse Yoakum 870 Stakes on June 12 and the $50,000 San Marcos Stakes on July 2. Once again, the Viva Le Don, under jockey Josh Romero, dug in before the wire to defeat The Kings Horse by a neck; the third consecutive stakes win for the son of Rock Solid Jess during this meet.
Racing for Rockin J Running Horses and conditioned by Tammy Kay Johnson, Viva Le Don won the San Marcos Stakes on July 2nd and the Jess Yoakum Memorial 870 Stakes on June 12th. Earlier this year he won the Grade 2 Remington Park Distance Challenge Championship.
"We're just so fortunate to have this horse and never take it for granted," Johnson said after the win. "As far as breaking from the seven hole, you always want to draw inside; maybe not the rail, but the two, three or four or five. But he's fixing to meet some tougher company ahead and needed this test."
The 5-year-old gelding clocked the 870 yards in :46.116 seconds tonight to equal a 94 speed index. It was the fourth win in seven starts this season.
Bred by Johnson and Jack Manning, from the Pyc Paint Your Wagon mare Viva Arriba, Viva Le Don has compiled a (29) 10-3-7 record and used the $38,250 Pennington winner's purse to bring his earnings mark to over $480,000.
According to Johnson, Viva Le Don could make his next start at Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Oklahoma for the Distance Challenge before heading to Albuquerque for the $125,000 Grade 1 AQHA Distance Challenge Championship on October 23rd.
Trainer "Tooter" Jordan sent out runner-up The Kings Horse for owner-breeder Bullard Farms. The multiple stakes-placed son of Class King is out of the Hadif (TB) mare Fletta Dif (TB). Ridden by Jerry Lee Yoakum, The Kings Horse earned $12,750 to bring his earnings to $49,476.
Jack Ketel, a 9-year-old son of champion Ketel Won finished seven-lengths behind the leaders to earn $7,013 for third. Arnold Lewis trains the gelding for owner Diamond L Racing. Joe and Elaine McAnally bred Jack Ketel from the Heza Fast Man mare Sheza Moon Bar Baby. The stakes winner has earned $106,960.
Love Ta Zoom, Kw Cowboy, What Huh and Show Time completed the field. Tek Ni Color was scratched.
Ten Sent Breaks Through Winning His First Career Stakes in the $50,000 TQHA 550 (RG3)
With a strong drive under jockey Cordarelton Benn, Ten Sent held sway to defeat Dak by neck in the $53,500 TQHA 550 Stakes Friday night at Sam Houston Race Park. Eye Am Tuff finished 1-½ lengths back to take third.
Racing for owner Jessica Remington and trainer Ty Remington, Ten Sent completed the 550 yards in :27.702 seconds, equaling a 98 speed index. Ten Sent bounced off a second-place effort to Stone Cold Leader in the Towers Of The Americas Stakes at Sam Houston July 2nd.
Bullard Farms bred the son of champion County Chicks Man from the Jet Cartel mare Pink Cartel. The 4-year-old has compiled a (23) 3-6-4 record and the $32,100 winner's purse tonight boosted his bankroll to $100,628.
"I've been so used to him being the bridesmaid, and not the bride, so this was very special," Jessica Remington said following the race. "A big thanks to Dr. (Tommy) Bullard and his wife Joanna. I've always admired their breeding program. What a horse to own; he takes you on a ride every time!"
Dak, a graded stakes winning son of Dominyun, earned $10,700 for second. Trainer Brian Stroud saddled the 5-year-old for owner Blue Star Racing. Another Bullard Farms' Texas-bred, Dak won the 2018 TQHA Sale 79,Futurity(RG3) and has earned $301,307. Carlos Chacon had the riding call aboard the gelding out of Fleet Elis by Fishers Dash.
Also a graded stakes winner, Eye Am Tuff races for owner-breeder Sue Fikes and trainer Kie Mushinski. Claudio Aguilar rode the 5-year-old son of Carters Cartel from the Royal Shake Em mare Loves Easter Bunny. Winner of the TQHA Sires' Cup Futurity (RG3) at 2, Eye Am Tuff earned $5,885 in tonight's 550 stakes to bring his earnings total to $79,607.
Ghost Bear, Steves Klassy Jess, River Runs Fast and Open Zippin Diamond completed the field.
Silk and Stilettos and Jess Eleven Or Seven Dead Heat in the $54,500 Miss Retama Stakes
In an exciting dead heat for the win, Silk and Stilettos and Jess Eleven Or Seven hit the wire together in the $54,500 Miss Retama Stakes. The Miss Retama Stakes is a 350-yard race for Texas-bred fillies and mares; both Silk and Stilettos and Jess Eleven Or Seven earned their first career stakes victories on Friday night. The final time was 17.729 and gave a 95 speed index to the two winners.
Silk and Stilettos ($5.80) was ridden by Raul Ramirez, Jr. for trainer Trey Wood. Wood’s assistant, Paul Leal, was on-hand for Friday’s stake.
“I was really impressed with the way she finished,” said Leal of the filly’s win. “She didn't break all that well; but she ran down the track. We're happy; we don't mind sharing the win!"
Silk and Stilettos was bred by her owner, Fulton Quien Sabe Ranches LP, by Favorite Cartel and out of Tallulah Moon, by Corona Cartel. She is three for 13 lifetime with earnings of $81,633. As a 3-year-old, Silk and Stilettos qualified to the Texas Classic Derby (G1) and was second in the Adequan Ruidoso Downs Derby Challenge.
Jess Eleven Or Seven ($30.20) and Ricardo Garza-Cruz teamed up for the win for trainer Rolando Almanza. "She's a real honest filly. We finally got it figured out and look forward to running her in some filly and mare stakes for Texas-breds in Dallas."
The Jess Louisiana Blue mare is a homebred for Esmeralda and Chad Peck, out of the Fredricksburg mare Eleven to Seven. She has won three of her 17 starts and has earned $80,619.
Jess Eleven Or Seven was second in her previous start, the Sam Houston 250 Stakes, as well as the Yellow Rose of Texas Stakes at Lone Star last year.
Last year’s winner of the Miss Retama and post-time favorite Ss Classyjess finished a neck behind the winning duo in third place. Juan Garcia had the call for trainer Jose Carrizales and owner Edgar Rosales.
The multiple stakes winner is 15 for 36 lifetime and has earned $346,441 to date. She won the Miss Sam Houston Stakes in June and the Sam’s Town Stakes in December at Evangeline. In 2020, she won the Miss Retama, kicking off a four-race win streak of all stakes, including the Nevill Stakes and Yellow Rose of Texas Stakes.
Completing the field were Greysland, Leading Senorita, My Rockin Memories, Mia Favorita and First Lady Tlc. Fancy Pants Heidi and Pronto Alexa were scratched.
Jess a Dashin Angela Earns First Career Stakes Win in $55,000 TQHA 250 Stakes
Jess a Dashin Angela gave trainer Rolando Almanza his third stakes winner of the Texas Summer Showdown card as she captured the $55,000 TQHA 250 Stakes.
Jess a Dashin Angela ($4.60) and Ricardo Garza-Cruz crushed in the 250-yard stake for Texas-bred 3-year-olds and up. The post-time favorite came home in 13.081 and earned a 110 speed index.
Cesar Rosales owns and bred the Dash Master Jess filly, out of Mi Angela, by Jet Black Patriot. Almanza expressed gratitude toward Rosales for the training opportunity.
"I want to thank my owner Cesar Rosales,” said Almanza. “The big thing with Jess A Dashin Angela is that she is a very honest filly. To be able to train Dash Master Jess and have one of her fillies in my barn is a really good feeling. At the end of the day, it is always the good Lord who is blessing us."
Jess a Dashin Angela added $33,000 to her lifetime earnings, which now total $145,760. She was the runner-up in the Sam Houston Derby (G3) in May, followed by a second-place finish in the Miss Sam Houston.
Graded staked placed Pa Cha Ching finished three-quarters of a length behind the winner and a length clear of the rest of the field. Jose Martinez had the call for trainer John Stinebaugh and owners Robert Armor, Samuel Henderson and Helen Henderson.
Pat Allen bred Pa Cha Ching in Texas, by Tempting Dash and out of the Jody o Toole mare Toole N Round. As a 2-year-old, he finished second in the Sam Houston Futurity (G2). He won the Sam Houston 250 Stakes in June and was second in the King William Stakes earlier this month.
Pa Cha Ching has earned $177,248 in 14 starts with five wins.
Chief Lark made her first start in a stakes race an honest one as she and Victor Urieta Jr finished in third place. Martin Rodriguez trains the Chief Corona mare for owner Mario Rodriguez. Rodriguez also bred the mare, out of the Mr Eye Opener mare Pie Opener.
Nikola, Easy Blinkers, All About the Kiss, Dash N Leader, I Got Daddys Eyes, Alamitos Dreams and Zef Garcia Seis completed the order of finish.
In addition to the six black-type stakes, Carlos Ponce’s Alluring Winner, the heavy post-time favorite, did not disappoint as the winner of the $31,600 Jones Bloodstock Starter Stakes at Sam Houston on Friday night.
Alluring Winner ($2.60) and Victor Urieta, Jr. won as they pleased in the starter stakes event. The pair led from the gate and extended it into a one and one-quarter easy win in 17.977 for the 350-yard race. Alluring Winner earned an 88 speed index.
Alonso Neri trains the 4-year-old gelding for owner Carlos Ponce. He was bred in Texas by Thomas and Elizabeth Mills, by Specially Alluring and out of the Runaway Winner mare Runaway Nightmare.
Completing the field were Senorita Teekila, Arturo Carrillo, Francisco Mendez, Jose Olivo and Our Prize Fighter.
$435,910 TQHA Sale Futurity (RG2) and Retama Park Derby Will be Contested Saturday July 31
Saturday’s live racing program will feature the final of the $435,910 TQHA Sale Futurity as well as the $207,950 Retama Park Derby. Post time will be 6:25 pm with the Derby running as the eighth race on the program and the Futurity following as race 9 with an approximate post time of 10:09 pm (CT).
The 20-day live Quarter Horse season, which began on June 23, will conclude on Saturday, August 7. A complete list of racing dates, and stakes is available on shrp.com.
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