150th Kentucky Derby
May 4th, 2024
Jul 27, 2021


Six Stakes for Texas-Breds on Friday Night with the $435,910 TQHA Sale Futurity and $207,905 Retama Park Derby on Saturday, July 31

HOUSTON, TX –Live Quarter Horse racing returns to Sam Houston Race Park this week with the first two four-day cards, beginning on Wednesday, July 28. Stakes action will be plentiful beginning on Friday, July 30 with Texas-breds in six Texas Summer Showdown stakes and the $435,910 TQHA Sale Futurity and $207,905  Retama Park Derby on Saturday, July 31. 



Field of Seven Entered in the $60,000 TQHA Classic Stakes (RG3)

The first stakes on the card is the $50,000 TQHA Classic Stakes (RG3) featuring seven Texas-breds competing at 400 yards.


Trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. has been winning at pretty much every level throughout the 2021 Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse meet and hopes that his trainee, Kiss My Annee Gl, continues his winning ways.


Bred by Francisco Javier Garcia, the 4-year-old son of Kiss My Hocks out of the Devon Lane (TB) mare Grande Annee was claimed for $7,500 at Remington Park in May, 2019 by Felix Rodriguez and Sergio Holguin. He made starts in New Mexico before competing at Retama Park and Lone Star last year and finishing her 3-year-old campaign with a sixth-place finish in the $111,000 Evangeline Downs Derby.


The 4-year-old gelding ran fifth in the 350-yard Harris County Stakes on May 21, before capturing the $106,000 Texas-Bred Championship here on June 12. His second stakes score of 2021 came on July 3 in the Hill County Stakes at Gillespie Fair Grounds.


“This is pretty exciting,” said Holguin, following the victory. “For a $7,500 claimer to win a $100,000 race is really something. We like this horse very much and are glad it worked out!”


Jorge Javier Garcia will have the return call aboard the 9-5 morning line choice, who will break from post position four. He enters this stakes with six wins from 15 starts and earnings of $129,750.


 His rivals include Carry The Memories, trained by Rolando Almanza, Beduino La Jolla, who has won three races this season, including the Friendship Stakes and Tomball Stakes winner Air To Em Jess.


The TQHA Classic runs as the fourth race on the card with an approximate post time of 7:49 pm.


Viva Le Don Goes for 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, which will run as the sixth race. The even-money favorite in the 870-yard race is 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.


Bred and owned by Rockin J Running Horses, the 5-year-old son of Rock Solid Jess from the Pyc Paint Your Wagon mare Viva Arriba is trained by Tammy Kay Johnson. Has won from posts four and five with Josh Romero in the irons, and drew post position seven for his third stakes appearance. The well-traveled Texas-bred has won nine of his 28 career starts, banking $441,806.


Trainer Lewis “Tooter” Jordan will saddle Jerry Windham’s Show Time, who will break from the rail under jockey Noe Villatoro and The Kings Horse, a Bullard Farms  homebred who ran second to Viva Le Don in the Jesse Yoakum. Jerry Lee Yoakum will break from post two aboard the 5-year-old son of Classy King.


“I was really pleased with our draw,” said Jordan. “Even with inside posts, we know we are up against a phenomenal runner. Tammy’s horse seems to get faster every time he runs!”


Jordan was a good friend of the late Benny Pennington, who ran horses in each of the Texas racetracks from 1994-2011. His highest earner was the intrepid Windville, who made 71 career starts, competing in four editions of the Governors’ Cup Marathon at Sam Houston, winning the stakes in 1998. 


“Benny didn’t shop for 870 horses, but knew when he had a good one,” added Jordan. “He was a great friend to so many horsemen; I can’t remember him without a smile on his face.”



Familiar Foes Meet Again in the $50,000 TQHA 550 Stakes (RG3) 

Some very talented mid-distance runners will meet once again in the 550-yard $50,000 TQHA 550 Stakes (RG3).  

Jessica Remington’s Ten Sent has hit the board in each of his three starts at Sam Houston Race Park. Trained by Ty Remington, the son of Country Chicks Man’s most recent effort was a second-place finish to Stone Cold Leader in the 550-yard Tower of the Americas Stakes on July 12. He reunites with his regular pilot Cordarelton Benn. They will break from post position three as the 2-1 morning line choice.

Sarah Huskey’s Ghost Bear ran fourth in that feature following an exciting dead-heat victory shared with Dak in the $80,000 Sam Houston 550 Stakes on June 12.  Trainer Esteban Rubio had faith that the 4-year-old Phantom Menace gelding could compete at the stakes level and has given the call to veteran rider Raul Ramirez, Jr., who drew post position seven at odds of 4-1.

Dak, trained by Brian Stroud for owner Blue Star Racing, is the highest earner in the seven-horse field with earnings of $270,607. The gelded son of Dominyun won the $479,196 TQHA Sale Futurity in 2018. Bred by Bullard Farms, the 5-year-old will be making his 19th career start under jockey Carlos Chacon.



Ss Classy Jess Leads a Competitive Field of Fillies and Mares in the $50,000 Miss Retama Stakes

Edgar Rosales’ Ss Classy Jess lived up to her post time favoritism in the  330-yard, $80,200 Miss Sam Houston Stakes on June 12 and will take on nine rivals in the $50,000 Miss Retama Stakes.


The 5-year-old mare by Rock Solid Jess has won stakes at Louisiana Downs, Retama Park and Lone Star Park, adding her first championship at Sam Houston Race Park in the 330-yard, Miss Sam Houston Stakes. 



She is the top earner for trainer Jose Carrizales, who began as a groom before taking out his training license three years ago.  In her next start, she finished a game second to multiple-stakes winning filly Sheza Freighttrain T.


"She’s run well all year," said Carrizales. “Sheza Freighttrain T is something else; we ran a good race against her and came out of the race fine. She won this race last year (when it was run at Retama Park) and I think she will run another good one on Friday.”


Ss Classy Jess has won 15 of her 35 starts with earnings of $340,446. Her regular pilot Juan Garcia will be in the saddle aboard the 9-5 favorite.


Other notables include Juan Manuel Pastrana’s Greysland who won the $50,000 La Villita Stakes here on June 23.The daughter of Kiss My Hocks is trained by Juan Diaz, Jr. who will give a leg up to leading rider Victor Urieta, Jr. Fulton Quien Sabe Ranch’s Silks and Stilettos makes her second start of the meet for trainer Trey Wood. 


The Miss Retama Stakes will run as the ninth race on the card with an approximate post time of 10:10 pm.


Pa Cha Ching Takes on Nine Rivals in the $50,000 TQHA 250 Stakes 

The $50,000 TQHA 250 Stakes attracted a field of ten in the final Texas Summer Showdown race of the evening. 


Pa Cha Ching, a son of Tempting Dash will make his third start of the meet, all in stakes company. Bred by Pat Allen and trained by John Stinebaugh, the sorrel colt runs for the ownership group of Robert Armor and Samuel and Helen Henderson.  His past history at Sam Houston Race Park began with a trial win to the 2019  Sam Houston Futurity, finishing second to Trump My Record in the Grade 2 final. This season, he ran seventh in the 110-yard Texas Twister, had a game victory in the $80,250 Sam Houston 250 Stakes and finished second in the $50,000 King William Stakes on July 2.


The 4-year-old stallion will be ridden by jockey Jose Ivan Martinez, as the 2-1 choice in the TQHA 250 from post position five.


Sam Houston Derby runner-up Jess A Dashin Angela returns for owner Cesar Rosales and trainer Rolando Almanza. Ricardo Garza-Cruz will guide the 4-year-old daughter of Jess Master Jess at odds of 4-1. Pamela S. Stone’s homebred Easy Blinkers makes his first start of 2021 for trainer Brian Stroud. The 4-year-old son of Dealagame won the 2020 TQHA Sires’ Cup Derby before competing in two stakes last fall at Lone Star Park.  Claudio Aguilar has the call.

In addition to the six black-type stakes, the $30,000 Jones Bloodstock Starter Stakes will run as race seven with Carlos Ponce’s Alluring Winner leading the field of eight accredited Texas-breds who have started for $7,500 or less in 2020 -2021.

Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse Season Continues Through August 7

The 20-day 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