TWENTY SAM HOUSTON FUTURITY (G2) TRIALS SET FOR FRIDAY, MAY 13 AND SATURDAY, MAY 14
The Top Five Qualifiers From Each Night Will Advance to the Final on Saturday, June 4
HOUSTON, TX – It will be a very busy weekend for the connections of juvenile Quarter Horses at Sam Houston Race Park. The northwest Houston racetrack will run ten trials on Friday, May 13 as well as Saturday, May 14 for the $150,000-added Sam Houston Futurity (G2). Post time is 6:45 pm (CT) with the fastest ten qualifiers in the 330-yard trials earning a berth to the final on Saturday, June 4.
Trainer Juan Diaz Jr. who won the 2021 Sam Houston with TYKHE Racing LLC’s BH Inxs, has 24 paid into the richest race of the Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse meet. His only experienced entrant is Carlos Ponce’s Bye Corona Bye, who won the $217,000 West Texas Futurity (G1) at Sunland Park on April 3. The son of Ivory James was a $27,000 purchase at the 2021 TQHA Yearling Sale, and came out of the race in good shape, according to Diaz.
The remaining 23 entrants are first-time starters, but the 33-year-old horsemen from Floresville, Texas, acknowledges that all off his juveniles have a chance.
“Each horse is an individual and we try to figure out each one throughout the training process,” explained Diaz. “Victor Urieta Jr.(who rides first call for Diaz) is a big part of our operation. He breaks our babies and gives us a great deal of information on each prospect.”
Diaz credits his owners who have paid their 2-year-olds into the Sam Houston Futurity trials and has assembled an experienced team ready to handle the pressure of the upcoming weekend.
“For the most part, it has to work like clockwork,” added Diaz. “We have a very good team but know that from the barn to the paddock to the starting gate, each member of our crew has to be ready for an audible. These are young horses, and we know there will be surprises!”
The Toby Keeton barn will be well-represented with six entered in both trial cards. Keeton is the trainer of 2014 Sam Houston Futurity champion Kiss My Hocks, a son of Tempting Dash owned by Tyler Graham and Conda Maze. The striking Texas-bred colt set a new 330-yard track record of :16.433, in his trial, which still stands today.
“I don’t know if I have another Sam Houston Futurity champion, but I feel I have a couple of nice ones,” Keeton said of his entrants.
Jockeys with multiple calls include Victor Urieta, Jr, Luis Vivanco, Ali Rivera, Bryan Candanosa, Nestor Duran andJose Vega.
The notable list of past Sam Houston Futurity champions includes War Colors, Azoom, All American Winner, Snowy Alibi, Especially Tres, Ivan James and This Is An Eagle. Several winners have gone on to national prominence, including Kiss My Hocks, who won in 2014 and was honored as AQHA Champion 2-Year-Old Colt and Trump My Record, who was named 2019 AQHA Champion 2-Year-Old Gelding.
Sam Houston Race Park Leaderboard
Heading into the fourth week of the 2022 Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse meet, Toby Keeton is on top of the trainer standings with six wins. Juan Diaz, Jr. Kie Mushinski and Raul Galvan have each saddled four winners.
Luis Vivanco leads his fellow jockeys with 13 wins with Ali Rivera just one behind. Claudio Aguilar is third in the standings with eight trips to the winner’s circle.
Eleazar Martinez, Sr., Carlos Ponce, Raymond T. Hamilton and Lloyd Earl Barry have each won two races to share the lead in the owner standings.
Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse Racing Post Times
Racing will take place Thursday at 4:00 pm, Friday and Saturday at 6:45 pm (Central) with special post times of 1:00 pm for the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 21 and the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 11. The 2022 Quarter Horse meet continues through June 18.
About Sam Houston Race Park
Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located just 15 miles from downtown Houston. Owned by Penn National Gaming. Inc., the racetrack, which opened in 1994, 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