150th Kentucky Derby
May 4th, 2024
Mar 9, 2021


Stakes Named for Prominent Texas Horsemen John Buchanan and Jesse Yoakum

HOUSTON, TX - Sam Houston Race Park will kick off its 2021 Quarter Horse racing season on Friday, April 23.  The 23-day meet continues through Saturday, June 12.


Purses are up significantly from 2019 as Sam Houston Race Park was unable to run their Quarter Horse meet last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The increases will be prominent from the claiming level through stakes races, with Texas-breds running for $3,000 more than open competition in maiden special weights.  

  • Maiden special weights for Texas-breds will run for $27,000 compared to $9,000 in 2019; open-bred purses will be increased to $22,000
  • Allowance races will start at $24,000 compared to $10,000 in 2019
  • Texas-bred purses will be increased by $5,000 for all conditions


Nineteen stakes will be contested, including the running of the $150,000-added Sam Houston Futurity (G2) on Friday, May 28.   Past Sam Houston Futurity winners include Azoom, All American Winner, 2014 AQHA Champion 2-Year-Old Colt Kiss My Hocks, Especially Tres, Ivan James, This Is An Eagle and 2019 victor Trump My Record, who was honored as 2019 AQHA Champion 2-Year-Old Gelding.


Sam Houston Race Park will also pay tribute to Texas horseman John Buchanan and Jesse Yoakum with stakes named in their honor. Both trainers were prominent when Sam Houston Race Park opened in 1994 and for decades to follow. The $50,000 John Buchanan Memorial Stakes for 3-year-old fillies will be run on Friday, May 28 and the $75,000 Jesse Yoakum Memorial 870 Stakes is set for Saturday, June 12.

Racing will take place Thursday at 4:00pm, Friday and Saturday at 6:45 pm (Central) with special post times of 1:00 pm for Kentucky Derby Day on Saturday, May 1; the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 15 and the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 5.

Frank Hopf, Senior Director of Racing, reports that interest has been strong for the annual Quarter Horse racing season.  The Thoroughbred meet will wrap on Saturday, April 3.


It was very disappointing that the 2020 Quarter Horse meet was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hopf. “We are excited for this upcoming meet with the increase purse levels and improved stakes program, especially for the Texas breds.”


Stall applications for the upcoming meet are due by Wednesday, March 10.  The online application is available on shrp.com as is additional information on the upcoming season. The first condition book is available at Sam Houston Race Park and Retama Park and posted on Equibase.com. The racing office is under the direction of racing secretary James Leatherman; phone (281) 807-8780 and fax (281) 890-5485.


2021 Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse Stakes Schedule


Friday, May 14, 2021

$100,000-added Sam Houston Derby (G3)                3 YO                          350 yards

$50,000-added Governors’ Cup Marathon                 3 YO & Up                870 yards

$50,000-added Harris County Stakes                         3 YO & Up                 550 yards

$50,000-added Sam Houston Stakes                          3 YO & Up                 350 yards

$50,000-added Texas Twister                                    3 YO & Up                110 yards


Friday, May 28, 2021

$150,000-added Sam Houston Futurity (G2)             2 YO                          330 yards

$35,000-estimated Sam Houston Juvenile Stakes      2 YO                          330 yards

$100,000-added Sam Houston Classic (G2)              3 YO & Up                440 yards

$50,000-added John Buchanan Memorial Stakes      3 YO Fillies                350 yards

$50,000-added Tomball Stakes                                  3 YO                           350 yards


Saturday, June 5, 2021

$40,000-added Colors of Hou Paint Juvenile (G2)    2 YO                          300 yards

$30,000-added Colors of Hou Paint Maturity(G2)    3 YO & Up                350 yards


Thursday, June 10, 2021

$50,000-added John Deere Juvenile                           2 YO                           350 yards

$50,000-added Adequan Derby                                  3 YO                           400 yards


Saturday, June 12, 2021

$100,000 Sam Houston Texas-bred Championship   3 YO & Up                400 yards

$75,000 Jesse Yoakum Memorial 870 Stakes            3 YO & Up                870 yards

$75,000 Miss Sam Houston Stakes                            F & M 3 YO & Up     330 yards

$75,000 Sam Houston 250 Stakes                              3 YO & Up                 250 yards

$75,000 Sam Houston 550 Stakes                              3 YO & Up                 550 yards

$50,000 Sam Houston Starter Stakes                         3 YO & Up                 350 yards


2021 Quarter Horse Trial Dates

Saturday, April 24                                          Sam Houston Derby

Friday, May 7 & Saturday, May 8                 Sam Houston Futurity

Thursday, May 20                                           Adequan Derby Challenge Trials 

Thursday, May 20                                           John Deere Juvenile Challenge Trials                        

Thursday, May 20                                           Colors of Houston Paint Juvenile Trials


A complete list of the 2021 Quarter Horse schedule 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.