THRILLING PERFORMANCE BY FEAR THE DRAGON TO TOP HIS RIVALS IN THE $332,900 SAM HOUSTON DERBY (G3)
Impressive Showing by Members of the Ramirez Family in Three of the Additional Stakes on the Card
HOUSTON, TX –It was a special evening at Sam Houston Race Park for each of the winning connections. Trainer Adrian Huitron, who won the $332,900 Sam Houston Derby (G3) with Fear the Dragon, celebrated his 31st birthday and the Ramirez family was well represented in three of the other stakes on the card.
Fear The Dragon Outclassed the Field in the $332,900 Sam Houston Derby (G3)
Sam Houston Race Park ran ten trials on Friday, May 14 for the $332,900 Sam Houston Derby with Huitron saddling fastest qualifier Fear The Dragon and two additional finalists.
Jose J. Espinoza’s Fear The Dragon was very imposing in his trial victory, setting the top mark of :17.331 seconds in his trial and returned tonight with equal conviction. Breaking from the rail under jockey Rodrigo Vallejo, he took the lead right from the break and crossed the wire of the 350 yard final in :17.745 seconds, earning a 95 speed index.
“He was perfect,” said Vallejo of the son of Favorite Cartel out of the Dean Miracle mare Hidden Dragon.
Espinoza, who lives in Georgetown, Texas, was thrilled with the first graded stakes win by Fear the Dragon.
"We bought this horse at the Heritage Place Sale (for $37,000)," Espinosa said. "He ran in a couple of futurities and we wanted to bring him back to Texas which is home. This was a really good birthday for Adrian."
Huitron, who also qualified Ojd Chavela J and Special Mariposa for the final, had won the 2016 edition of the race with TLC Dale. His father, Eusevio saddled two previous champions: Easy Dashin Sixes in 2008 and Charal Kid in 2009.
"I want to thank the entire team for their hard work,” said Huitron. “It's been quite a month qualifying for both the Sam Houston Derby and Futurity. He's a very special horse!"
Bred by Rafter W Stables, Fear The Dragon ($3.40) earned $133,160 in the Sam Houston Derby to nearly double his earnings mark to $223,824.
Runner-up Jess A Dashin Angela ran the biggest race of career to earn $66,580 for second. Owned by Cesar Rosales, the daughter of Dash Master Jess was ridden by Luis Vivanco for trainer Rolando Almanza. Rosales and Almanza teamed to race both the sire, , and the dam, Mi Angela.
Gianniy, under jockey Jorge Garcia, was another neck back in the blanket finish to earn $33,290 for third. Juan Diaz, Jr. saddled the son of One Famous Gianni for owner Manuel Reyes. Jose R. Espinosa bred Gianniy in Texas from the Moon Shake mare Chalinashake.
Completing the Sam Houston Derby field were Tall Timbers, Blame The Fed, Special Mariposa, Fm Steel Rock, Jesslightninglegs and Ojd Chavela J.
Fear The Dragon is paid into the Grade 1 Texas Classic Derby to be run later this year at Lone Star Park.
San Lorenzo who became a millionaire when he won his trial race was scratched. He showed distress early Friday morning and was vanned out of Sam Houston for medical attention. Owner Rogelio Marquez, Jr. reported that he was resting comfortably on their farm in Rosenberg, Texas and had not required surgery.
Jockey Paulina Ramirez Triumphed as a New Mom Winning the $54,000 Governors’ Cup Marathon
The first stakes of the evening is the $54,000 Governors’ Cup Marathon with a field of seven competing at the distance of 870 yards.
Just three months after giving birth to her son, Luciano, jockey Paulina Ramirez set the pace with Masons Jet Black off the inside rail then held sway to defeat Holy Storm by half-a-length. The sorrel gelding was clocked in :46.594 seconds into a 5 mph headwind. The win was worth $32,400.
"This is home to us and I couldn't be prouder to be back " said Ramirez after the ride. "I had a baby three and a half months ago. My husband works for Trey and this is the last horse I was riding when I told everyone I was pregnant!"
Trainer Trey Ellis saddled Masons Jet Black to his fourth career win for his wife, owner Courtney Dugas Ellis. Bred in Louisiana, from the Eugen's Third Stop (TB) mare Ruston Kitty (TB), Masons Jet Black was named after Elllis' son Mason.
"This is a whole family deal," said Ellis. "Paulina has been with us from the start; she helped us break him as a baby. We'll go back to Delta for a stakes and just pick and choose from there."
Masons Jet Black has compiled a (14) 4-3-2 record and banked $76,333. At Evangeline Downs last November he was a close second in the $30,000 Races and Aces 870 yard stakes.
Runner-up Holy Storm races for owner-breeder Danley Kjorsvik and is conditioned by Patrick Swan. Victor Urieta, Jr. rode the 5-year-old Red Storm Cat gelding earning $10,800 to increase his earning to $125,208.
Post time favorite, Favorite Kool Cartel chased throughout and ran third for Rolando Almanza; the Oklahoma-bred 5-year-old brought five race win streak into the Governors Marathon.
Completing the Marathon field were Freakin Patriot Dash, Love Ta Zoom, Silver City Lights and Let There Be Sound.
Ramirez Brothers Team Up with Longshot Black Cazador in the $55,500 Sam Houston Stakes
The Ramirez family had another major celebration as Black Cazador lit up the toteboard in the $55,000 Sam Houston Stakes.
Racing for owner-breeder Raul Rubalcava, Black Cazador completed the 350 yards in :17.686 seconds, equaling a 96 speed index. Saul Ramirez, Jr. saddled the son of former world champion and multiple stakes sire Oak Tree Special to his fifth career win. He earned $33,300 for the effort.
“I had never ridden Black Cazador before," jockey J. R. Ramirez said. "He was on the muscle and I couldn't tell we had won until the photo came up. It's great to ride for my brother (trainer Saul), he trusts me and I trust him."
Racing for owner-breeder Raul Rubalcava, Black Cazador completed the 400 yards in :17.686 seconds, equaling a 96 speed index. Saul Ramirez, Jr. saddled the son of former world champion and multiple stakes sire Oak Tree Special to his fifth career win. He earned $33,300 for the effort.
"We've had him for a year," Ramirez, Jr. said. "He's a nice horse, but a handful in the paddock. We thought he had a chance, but didn't think he'd go off at 40-1!"
Ramirez, Jr. said the horse may be pointed at the Grade 1 $100,000 Sam Houston Classic next.
The 5-year-old Oklahoma-bred, out of Miracle Hook by Shazoom, has compiled a (20) 5-4-4 record and banked $109,596. Black Cazador was third in the Sam's Town Stakes in his last start December 12th at Evangeline Downs.
"Having our family together means the world to us," jockey J.R. Ramirez added. "We travel together - we've seen Paulina (rode the winner of the Governors' Cup Marathon stakes earlier on the card) grow since she was a baby; it's a real honor for us to see her do so well."
Black Cazador returned $91.80 to win, $30.80 to place and $9.60 to show.
Making his first start since a third-place finish in the Evangeline Downs Derby on December 12th, Wagons Dash earned $112,100 for his second-place effort. Eric Long named jockey Everardo Rodriguez to ride the 4-year-old son of leading sire .
Ruse Ranch LLC's My Fast Prize earned $6,105 for third. Adrian Huitron named Nestor Duran to ride the Texas-bred son of leading sire from the mare Coronas Fast Prize. A finalist in the All American Futurity(G1) and Texas Classic Futurity(G1) at 2, My Fast Prize was second in the All American Invitational Stakes at Ruidoso Downs last season. Bred by Weetona Stanley, he has earned $235,045.
Mp Shinning, SS Classyjess, Inaugurator, FM Zantanas D, Watch Him B, Jess B One and Jess A Fast Rouge completed the field.
Moment of Fury Pulled the Upset in the $55,500 Harris County Stakes
There was a pleasant consolation for owner Rogelio Marquez, Jr. who was forced to scratch San Lorenzo from the Sam Houston Derby. His other stakes entrant, Moment of Fury scored a major upset in the $55,500 Harris County Stakes.
Moment of Fury ($41.40) earned his first stakes win in the Harris County. He finished a half-length in front of the field and posted a time of 27.819 with a 96 speed index.
"He didn't break all that sharp, but after he passed the gap, he made a huge run,” said winning rider Raul Ramirez, Jr. “I put my trust in the owner and trainer; they told me he was ready.”
Winning trainer Hector Alcala noted that Moment of Fury had not competed at 550 yards before the night’s stake. "This is the first race for this horse at this distance, so we are very happy."
Though unseen on the track since 2019, the layoff proved to be no problem for the 5-year-old Fury of the Wind gelding who had shown talent early in his career. As a 3-year-old, he qualified for the 2019 Heritage Place Derby (G3). At two years of age, he competed in the Sam Houston Futurity (G2) and the Firecracker Futurity (G2) at Delta. Bred in Texas by Sarah Huskey, out of Moment of Epiphany, by Relagate. He is now four for 13 lifetime with $132,030 earned.
Second-place finisher Ten Sent made his first start at Sam Houston in Friday’s stake; the gelded son of Country Chicks Man frequently races on the Oklahoma circuit. Cordarelton Benn had the call for trainer Ty Remington.
Ten Sent was bred by Bullard Farms in Texas, out of the Jet Cartel mare Pink Cartel. He has 20 career starts and qualified to the Will Rogers Adequan Derby Challenge last fall.
Dm La Jolla Cartel completed the trifecta with Claudio Aguilar aboard. Donna Mushinski owns and bred the gelding; Kie Mushinski trains. The Texas-bred 5-year-old is out of Mary La Jolla, by Streakin La Jolla. Dm La Jolla Cartel made his first start of 2021 in Friday’s stake. He is five for 18 lifetime and qualified to the Retama Park Derby in 2019.
Completing the field were One Sweet Merlot, Kiss My Annee GI, I Am Valiant, Struttinmyjewelsoff, Dak, Jax Louisiana Game and One Mighty Eagle.
Krash Course Takes the $55,500 Texas Twister in an Exciting Blanket Finish
The always popular Texas Twister Stakes closed out the Friday card featuring ten runners “super sprinting” at the distance of 110 yards.
Krash Course ($22.20) completed the sprint in 7.170 and earned an 81 speed index for trainer Jose Nevarez, Jr. and owner Martha Nevarez. Jockey Abraham Gonzalez-Munoz celebrated his first career win.
"We have owned him since he was a baby, he's done very well for us," Nevarez, Jr. said after the win. "He's very sound and we plan on running him next in the Challenge that was going to run at Retama Park, but now will be held in Houston. We are really excited for this win."
The Texas Twister was Krash Course’s first start of the year and his second attempt at 110-yards. The 6-year-old horse was bred in Texas by Bennie and Terri Jeter, out of the Mr Eye Opener mare Rare Eye Opener.
Card One Starter finished a nose behind in second place with Juan Diaz, Jr. aboard for trainer Victor Urieta, Jr. The post-time favorite has won six of his 12 career starts, including the Oklahoma Derby (G3) at Remington in March. Lucas Constantin rode All About the Kiss to a narrow third place finish for trainer Marc Jungers.
Completing the field were Ed O, Pyc Lovestruck, Jess a Boy, Pa Cha Ching, Johnny de Capo and Cartel Jr. There was a dead heat for fifth between Pyc Lovestruck and Jess a Boy and a dead heat for seventh between Pa Cha Ching and Johnny de Capo. Straw Bux was scratched.
Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse Racing Post Times
Racing will take place this Thursday at 4:00 pm (CT); Friday at 6:45 and a special 1:00 pm start for the live card and simulcast of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 15. The 23-day meet continues 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 visit www.shrp.com.
Photos: Coady Photography