THREE HOUSTON SHOWCASE NIGHT STAKES CLOSE OUT THE 2021 SAM HOUSTON RACE PARK THOROUGHBRED MEET ON A HIGH NOTE
Trainer Brad Cox and Jockey Diego Saenz Won Both Turf Stakes on the Card
HOUSTON, TX- Sam Houston Race Park closed out its 2021Thoroughbred racing season on Saturday, April 3 with Houston Showcase Night. Three exciting finishes on the newly formed racing event capped a very successful meet on a high note!
Sky Ride Returns to the Winner’s Circle in the $75,000 Bucharest Stakes
The $75,000 Bucharest Stakes featured just five runners, with a solid showing once again by Triple V Racing LLC’s Sky Ride to clinch back-to back stakes this meet.
The Kentucky-bred son of Candy Ride won the $75,000 Stonerside Sprint on January 31 in a dead heat with Hollis. Jockey Leandro Goncalves was aboard in two very different finishes, Sky Ride won the Stonerside with a powerful closing effort, but this evening, the bay gelding pretty much did it on the front, and was able to hold off his rivals, covering seven furlongs in 1:24.28.
Goncalves, who notched his 2,000th career win here on March 27, took command at the half-mile mark, which was completed in :45.72. Heading into the final turn, he was able to build a commanding lead over his stablemate Good Scout, drawing off to an impressive eight length score.
"Last time he made up ground, but today we had a different plan," explained Goncalves. "He just galloped around the track; I never hit him, just asked him and he responded. J.R. Could have ridden him tonight."
"Maybe I could have ridden him for the first 25 yards," quipped Caldwell. "He's a great horse, won three races here, including two stakes. We pointed him to this meet, and we couldn't have asked for more. He was a little fresh today; I was a little surprised to see him on the lead, but it was a good win."
Good Scout ridden by Ezequiel Lara, held for second. Gold Street ran third and Trunps Revenge completed the superfecta.
Sent off as the heavy favorite, Sky Ride ($2.80), has won five of his 16 starts and will be pointed to Lone Star Park, according to Caldwell.
The stakes is named in honor of the late Thoroughbred sprinter Bucharest, owned by Israel Flores and trained by Amos Laborde, who set three track records at Sam Houston Race Park, including the lightning fast six furlong time of 1:08.88 on May 11, 1994, as well as his 1:12.29 seven furlong clocking on May 4, 1996.
Raven’s Cry Takes the $75,000 Miss HoustonTurf Stakes with a Powerful Closing Kick
The popularity of the Connally Turf Course at Sam Houston Race Park has grown in unprecedented fashion and attracted a very classy field of fillies and mares to the $75,000 Miss Houston Turf was very strong.
Raven’s Cry (IRE) will be a force if she draws in from the also eligible list. The 4-year-old daughter of Raven’s Pass has won three of her eight turf starts for owner Martin S. Schwartz. She’s trained by Eclipse Award winning condition Brad Cox who gave the call to Louisiana-based jockey Diego Saenz.
Saenz guided the bay filly through fractions of :22.48; :46.19 and 1:11.48 before gaining the lead at the top of the stretch. She was able to hold off a late charge by Valentines Day, crossing the wire of the one mile turf feature in 1:36.09.
"I knew she was a nice filly," said Saenz. "The pace set up very well for her today."
Cox was in Kentucky winning the Grade 2,Toyota Blue Grass with Essential Quality, so assistant Ricky Giannini saddled Raven’s Cry at Sam Houston.
"She drew pretty wide, but after her win at Fair Grounds, this was a good fit for her,” said Giannini. “Diego got her into a very good striking position."
Love Partnership Interests LP’s Valentines Day ran third in the $75,000 Jersey Lilly on January 31 for trainer Bret Calhoun. The 4-year-old daughter of Summer Front closed gamely for second under rider Lindey Wade. Brandon’s Babe completed the trifecta with Iram Diego in the saddle. Our Iris Rose ran fourth, followed by Quick, Quick, Quick, Palio Flag, Curlin's Journey, After Red Son, Good Fight, Simple Pleasure, Miss Perfecta and early pacesetter Believe In Beauty (IRE).
Raven's Cry ($5.00) improved her career record to four wins from nine starts and purses of $116.748.
Royal Prince Makes Sam Houston Debut a Winning One in $75,000 Bayou City Stakes
In the final stakes race of the 2021 Sam Houston Thoroughbred meet, Royal Prince($2.80) captured the $75,000 Bayou City Stakes for trainer Brad Cox and owner Steve Landers Racing LLC.
Louisiana-based jockey Diego Saenz gave Royal Prince a confident and well-timed ride in the final stake of the night. The pair stalked the pace and dueled with Holy Vow and Sophie Doyle in the stretch before pulling away to win by three-quarters of a length.
“I was trapped for a little while, but I got the chance to get out and he responded for me,” said Saenz.
The 1 1/16 miles event for 3-year-olds was contested on a firm turf course with a final time of 1:43.88.
Royal Prince was the heavy post-time favorite after winning his last out, the $75,000 Black Gold Stakes at the Fair Grounds in late February. The well-traveled colt had previously raced at Del Mar, Keeneland and Kentucky Downs before arriving at Sam Houston.
The 3-year-old son of Cairo Prince is out of Rose and Shine, by Mr. Sekiguchi, and was bred in Kentucky by Sandra Sexton and Silver Fern Farm.
“We wanted to take a logical step forward before we run him in a graded stakes,” added Gianinni. “This was a nice race after the Black Gold; he needed every inch, but got the job done.”
Holy Vow finished in second for trainer Scott Young, with Drivehappy closing to gain third for trainer Steve Asmussen. Texas Bad Boy, War Falcon, Red N Wild and I’m Money completed the field. Stans Hookin Bull was scratched.
A press release on handle and end of the meet winners will be forthcoming. The 2021 Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse meet will commence on Friday, April 23 and run through Saturday, June 12.
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 visitwww.shrp.com.
Photo Credits: Coady Photography