TRAINER ADRIAN HUITRON TO SADDLE FOUR FINALISTS IN THE $731,650 SAM HOUSTON FUTURITY (G2) ON FRIDAY, MAY 28
$73,165 Sam Houston Juvenile Will Also be Contested on the Card Which Begins at 6:45 pm (Central)
HOUSTON, TX – The richest race of the 2021 Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse meet, the $731,650 Sam Houston Futurity (G2) will take place Friday, May 28. Ten exceptional juveniles clinched their berths in trials run Friday, May 7 and Saturday, May 8. The wind picked up considerably on the second night with head winds up to 18 mph facing those runners in the 330-yard trials.
It was a spectacular showing both nights for trainer Adrian Huitron who will saddle four of the ten finalists this Friday, including the 2-1 favorite, Apollitical Crystal. Bred in California by EG High Desert Farms LLC, the daughter of Apollitical Jess out of the Walk Thru Fire mare Walk Thru Crystal is owned by Ruse Ranch LLC. She delivered a tremendous maiden-breaking score under rider Nestor Duran, covering 330 yards in :16.918 seconds. The track was fast, and she earned a 95 speed index into an 11 mph head wind.
"She was doing well from the get-go, and we were very pleased with her trial win,” said Huitron. “The conditions were very good on Friday night and she had a good race experience.”
Friday night also produced a top five clocking by C B Racing LLC’s Dr Toola, a filly by Kiss My Hocks, who won her trial in :17.099 seconds, also with Duran in the saddle.
“Nestor told me she was making up ground very nicely,” Huitron said of the first-time starter.
Saturday night’s two qualifiers were Coronas Candy Man and El Gansito.
Coronas Candy Man, a son of Jess Good Candy out of the Corona Cartel mare Follies and Corona, was a $35,000 Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale Purchase by owner Florentino Leon.
"This is my first Jess Good Candy colt, and he has done everything right since we began training him,” said Huitron. “We weren't sure how he would handle the lights, but he really impressed me."
Bred in Texas by Filimon Saucedo, El Gansito, was making his third career start, having qualified to the $302,010 Harrah’s Futurity (G3) at Louisiana Downs and finishing third in the April 3 final. Purchased privately by owner Arturo Esquivel, Huitron shared the challenges he had faced in preparing the colt for his 2-year-old campaign.
“This horse has been a handful since he was a yearling,” explained Huitron. “We worked hard with him and had to get him comfortable in the gates. He broke very well in his trial, but he’s still a handful!"
Nestor Duran, who rides first call for the Huitron barn, had to make the choice of which finalist to ride, selecting top qualifier Apollitical Crystal.
“Nestor put a lot of thought into his decision,” said Huitron. “I was fortunate in having some very good riders to cho[MC1] ose from. Ali Rivera rode El Gansito at Louisiana Downs and we have a lot of respect for Everardo Rodriguez, who will ride Dr. Toola. (AQHA Champion jockey) Ricky Ramirez was in Houston for the trials and told me that he would be open to riding one of ours, so he got the call on Coronas Candy Man.”
This would be the first Sam Houston Futurity win for Huitron; his father, Eusevio won the 2012 edition of the race with Sassmaster. Qualifying four finalists for a major futurity is no easy feat, but the 31-year-old Huitron is not one to brag.
“I am blessed with a very good team; many who have been with us when my dad was training,” he explained. “My team and my owners deserve the credit; for me, personally, I would rather let the horses do the talking!”
Lucky Dice, qualified for the final in a time of :17.204 seconds for owner J and J Stone Company, Inc. Trained by Roberto Madrigal, the colt by One Sweet Jess was the runner-up in the $302,010 Harrah’s Futurity and will be ridden by Manuel Gutierrez at odds of 4-1.
Trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. has two quality finalists as well. Hock It to You, a son of Kiss My Hocks, made two starts at Remington Park prior to winning his Sam Futurity trial in :16.982 with Victor Urieta, Jr. in the irons for owners Reynold Munoz and Heavy Hitters Racing Stables.
“He just has it in him; he's just one of those special ones," said Diaz.
Diaz also trains TYKHE Racing LLC’s BH Inyx, a filly by EC Jet One who will be ridden by Jorge Garcia.
Trainer Angel Sanchez won the 2015 Sam Houston Futurity with Ivan James and returned the following year with a victory by Just Call Me Carter. His entrant for this year is Jesus Olvera's Mr de Capi, who broke his maiden winning his trial in :17.068 seconds. The son of Capo de Capi will be ridden by Jose Ivan Martinez.
"He's been good for us; very fast and ran well in his Retama Park schooling race," said Sanchez. “He came out of his trial is good order. Texas is home and this is a very important race with the highest purse this year. It would mean a great deal to win it again."
Post time for Friday’s card is 6:45 pm (CT). The Sam Houston Futurity (G2) will run as the ninth race, with an approximate post time of 10:21 pm. The winner will earn $292,660 and join a distinguished list of past winners, including 2014 AQHA Champion 2-year-old colt, Kiss My Hocks; Azoom; Snowy Alibi, Ivan James, Especially Tres and 2019 champion Trump My Record.
Here is the field, in post-position order, including jockey assignments and odds:
Quality Juveniles Advance to the $73,165 Sam Houston Juvenile Stakes
One of the toughest realities in Quarter Horse racing is that hundredths of a second can make the difference in qualifying for a major championship. The top ten fastest runners earned a place in the final in the Sam Houston Futurity; the eleventh through 20th timed entrants from the trials are invited to run in the $73,165 Sam Houston Juvenile Stakes.
This is the second time in his young career that Rare B missed the bubble time as he set the eleventh fastest time in his trial to the $302,010 Harrah’s Futurity at Louisiana Downs earlier this year. Bred by Bielau Oaks, the son of Fdd Dynasty is owned by Jose R. Espinoza and won his (Friday night) Sam Houston Futurity trial in :17.160 seconds under rider Luis Vivanco. It was a maiden-breaking effort for the sorrel gelding in the fifth trial, with seven more heats on the card.
“We were hoping he would make this final, but that’s racing,” said trainer Jose “Pepe” Lopez. “He’s a good, sound horse and has been smart in his training. We look forward to running him in the Juvenile.”
Francisco Javier Garza’s homebred Running a Big Wave qualified and ran seventh in the Harrah’s Futurity and returned to action on Saturday, May 8 at Sam Houston. Trained by Jose Sanchez, III, the gelded son of Big Daddy Cartel won his trial in :17.292 seconds with Eddie Sanchez up. He has been installed as the 7-2 favorite in the Juvenile and drew post position six.
“He came out of his trial in good shape,” said his conditioner. “It was a little frustrating running on Saturday night as the conditions were very different than Friday. He had never run under the lights but handled that well. We may hold off and run him in trials for the Firecracker Futurity next month at Delta Downs.”
Adrian Huitron confirmed that Fabulous Lincoln, an Oklahoma-bred son of One Fabulous Eagle, will run in the Juvenile with Nestor Duran aboard.
“He was pretty green earlier in the year when he ran his trial at Louisiana Downs,” explained Huitron. “I spoke to the owner (Eduardo Leon) and we think he will move forward in this race.”
First time starter Glory Secret was an impressive trial winner under jockey Francisco Giles, winning his trial in :17.199. Bred by Johnny Trotter, the colt by Hez Our Secret is trained by Porforio Fierro and will break from post position seven. Sam Houston Race Park’s leading trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. qualified three for the Juvenile: TYKHE Racing LLC’s Rc Relentless Grace and Rc Dashing Rebel as well as No Secret Knockout, owned by Five Puig Racing LLC and Cali Chrome owned by Omar Paredes.
Three Additional Stakes Set for Friday Night
Sam Houston Race Park will also present three stakes in addition to the Sam Houston Futurity and Sam Houston Juvenile. The $112,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2) at 440 yards will be run as the eighth race on the card. The $54,000 Tomball Stakes for three-year-olds will get the stakes action rolling in race four and the $54,000 John Buchanan Memorial Stakes for three-year-olds will honor the respected Texas conditioner who passed away last September. An advance on the fields for these stakes will be forthcoming.
John Lies to Call the Sam Houston Races This Week
Texas racing fans will hear a familiar voice calling races Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week as Sam Houston Race Park welcomes John Lies. He began his career at Lone Star Park in 2005, calling races for 11 seasons before moving on to his current role of Racing Secretary, Announcer and Morning Line maker for Will Rogers Downs and Fair Meadows Tulsa. Lies has called races at no less than 15 different tracks in the country, most notably at Del Mar last summer and fall during Larry Collmus’ absences.
Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse Racing Post Times
Racing will take place this Thursday at 4:00 pm (CT); Friday and Saturday at 6:45 pm with a special 1:00 pm start for the live card and simulcast of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 5. The 23-day meet continues through Saturday, June 12. As approved by the Texas Racing Commission, the 20-day Quarter Horse meet scheduled at Retama Park in Selma, Texas, will take place this year at Sam Houston Race Park from June 23-August 7. A complete 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.
Photos: Coady Photography