Hot Summer Nights Starter Series Heats Up at Sam Houston Race Park

(Tuesday, July 30, 2002)- The Hot Summer Nights Starter Series is underway this summer to Sam Houston Race Park with a sprint and distance division. The five-race series for 3-year-olds and upward began Friday, July 5 and will continue through September 6 with total purses of $68,000.

The Hot Summer Nights Starter Series- Sprint division was run in three divisions on Friday, July 5 at a distance of 250 yards. The winners were Smashed O Toole, Tricky Jay and Reckon Im Reckless. Smashed O Toole ($5.40) is owned by Geral Dewitt and trained by his son-in-law, Anthony Arey. James "Bo" White rode the 4-year-old gelding to victory, winning the 250 yard race in a time of :13.27. Longshot Reckon Im Reckless ($31.00) was also a winner for owner Drywall Derby and trainer Bobby Martinez, completing his race in :13.41. Eddie Cox rode Tricky Jay ($29.00) to victory in a time of :13.35 for owner Flat Get It Farm and trainer Ronald Gilmer.

The second leg of the sprint division was run on Friday, July 19 and Go Runaway Miss ($5.60) from the barn of Janet Van Bebber won the first division, completing the 300 yard contest in a time of :15.53. Quick Fashion ($27.40), trained by Bobby Moore won the second division, crossing the wire in a time of :15.36.

The Hot Summer Nights Starter Series- Distance division began on Friday, July 12 at Sam Houston Race Park. Hez His Own Man ($16.60), trained by Anthony Arey won the first leg, run at a distance of 440 yards. On Friday, July 26, the second leg of the series was run, this time at a distance of 550 yards. Longshot The Joy That Counts ($58.40) from the barn of James Gerhards lit up the toteboard.

"We are pleased to continue to offer the Hot Summer Nights Starter Series to our horsemen," said Eric Johnston, Sam Houston Race Park's racing secretary. "It is a program geared toward Quarter Horses at a claiming level to earn bonuses and recognition. The response has been very positive this summer and we look forward to a highly competitive race in both divisions."

The Hot Summer Night Starter Series continues on Friday, August 2 with the third leg of the sprint division to be run at a distance of 330 yards. Owners of horses that run a minimum of four legs of the sprint or distance series will earn points and be eligible for $10,000 in bonuses.

Added Bonus Given to the Winner in SHRP Fantasy Racehorse "Ownership" Contest
In addition to five stakes races of the Texas Summer Showdown, Sam Houston Race Park hosted the Fantasy Racehorse "Ownership" Contest on Saturday, July 27.

Racing fans registered for a chance to become the "owner" of Mr Bar Code, owned by B and B Joint Ventures. The winner was Earlene Spillers of northwest Houston. Spillers was cheering for Mr Bar Code as he ran in the $45,500 Classic Chevrolet Stakes. Even though he did not win, Spillers was awarded $500, courtesy of the Texas Quarter Horse Association. Mr Bar Code's co-owner Thomas "Bubba" Smith rewarded Spillers by paying her the extra $500 she would have received if Mr Bar Code had won the race!

Spillers will be the "owner" of Mr Bar Code throughout the 2002 American Quarter Horse meeting at Sam Houston Race Park and stands to win $500 each time he runs or $1,000 for each victory thanks to Sam Houston Race Park and the Texas Quarter Horse Association (TQHA).

"Hit The Board Eliminator" Contest Held Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park
Sam Houston Race Park hosted the "Hit The Board Eliminator" Contest last Saturday evening. The contest was free to all race fans 21 or older and required that they select one horse in each of Sam Houston Race Park's ten live races to "hit the board" or finish first, second or third. There were 135 patrons that participated in the competition and many were eliminated as several longshots won the five Texas Summer Showdown stakes races.

Following the tenth race, two fans, Les Hirons of Houston and Billy Beachum were tied and split the grand prize of $1,000.

Sam Houston Race Park Weekend Stakes Action
On Saturday night Sam Houston Race Park will feature distance specialists in the $10,000-added Woodlands Stakes. There were 38 nominations for the 870 yard feature and it is likely that two divisions of the Woodlands Stakes will be carded for Saturday night. The finals for the Sam Houston Maiden Classic will be run on Sunday, August 4. Sargeanotherona trained by Duane Hartsell was the fastest qualifier in trials run on Friday, July 19, winning his 350 yard trial in a time of :17.750. He will face Midnitraintogeorgia from the barn of Adam Uballe, who qualified in a time of :17.784 and the Janet Van Bebber-trainee Jess Perry Too, who was the third fastest qualifier with a time of :17.896.

Sam Houston Race Park Jockey Standings
Eddie Cox, Jr. had an excellent week, winning three races on the Thursday card to take the lead in the Sam Houston Race Park rider standings. Cox has 21 wins and a total of $129,518 in earnings following the fifth week of live racing. J. R. Ramirez follows with 17 victories and $198,051 in earnings and Alvin Brossette is third in the standings with 16 wins. Saul Ramirez, Jr. and Gilbert Ortiz each have 15 wins.

Ortiz was the only leading rider to capture one of the five Texas Summer Showdown stakes on Saturday night. He guided Wasting No Cash to victory in the MCI Texas Challenge. Several new faces made appearance in the winner's circle on Saturday evening including Juan Vazquez on longshot The Rolls Overture in the Sundowner Trailer Stakes; James "Bo" White aboard Smashed O Toole in the Barnmaster Stakes; Alfonso Lujan, who rode Rare Fasteroid in the Classic Chevrolet and Nicky Wilson with NN Pilgrim in the Ariat Starter Stakes.

Sam Houston Race Park Trainer and Owner Standings
Ronald Gilmer regained the lead in the trainer standings with 16 wins, capturing three races last week. Janet Van Bebber follows closely with a total of 15 trips to the winner's circle. Toby Keeton won just two races last week, but both were stakes wins and he is tied for third place in the standings with Michael Zingelmann with 10 wins. Bobby Martinez, M. Heath Taylor and Duane Hartsell follow with 8 wins each.

Zingelmann picked up his first stakes win of the meeting when Rare Fasteroid scored in the Classic Chevrolet Stakes. The 38-year-old trainer has been pleased with his results to date at Sam Houston Race Park, maintaining that keeping a relatively small stable helps him keep his runners in the winner's circle.

"This is not a cookie cutter business," said Zingelmann. "It usually takes me 2-3 outs to get my horses figured for their ideal distance and training regimen. My theory is that if you pay close attention to each and every one of your horses, it usually pays off."

Geral Dewitt took over the lead in the owner's standings following the fifth week of live racing with six wins. The highlight of the week was the first stakes victory of Smashed O Toole in the $45,500 Barnmaster Sprint Stakes.

"It is a good thing to win any race especially a stakes race," said Arey of Smashed O Toole. "He just tries so hard and gets beat sometimes. We enjoy running him and running in Texas."

Raul Rubalcava Teddy Abrams, Jr., S A Ranch and Rodrigo Larez are tied for second place with four victories each. Bernadine & Gordon R. Haslam and Jimmie Hatcher have each made three visits to the winner's circle.

Sam Houston Race Park Promotional Schedule for the Week
Thursday, August 1, 2002 Captain's Cove Seafood Buffet
5:30 p.m. Gates open
7:00 p.m. First Live American Quarter Horse Race
Every Thursday, Sam Houston Race Park's Winner's Circle Restaurant will feature the Captain's Cove Seafood Buffet for only $14.95 per person.

Friday, August 2, 2002 Jiffy Lube Texas Music Revolution
5:30 p.m. Gates open
7:00 p.m. First Live American Quarter Horse Race
Country music artist and native Houstonian, Cory Morrow will perform live at Sam Houston Race Park in the Jiffy Lube Texas Music Revolution following live racing. Morrow's releases include Texas Time Travelin', The Cory Morrow Band, The Man That I Have Been and Cory Morrow Live: Double Exposure.
Phil Pritchett will perform between each of the ten races and the ever-popular $1 beer will be served from 7 - 9 p.m.

Saturday, August 3, 2002 Elite Wrestling Federation
5:30 p.m. Gates open for live racing
7:00 p.m. First live Quarter Horse race, including the running of the $10,000 Woodlands Stakes.
Live wrestling continues in Sam Houston Race Park's Pavilion Centre following live racing action. Shane Douglas will be one of the headliners in the ring.

Sunday, August 4, 2002 Jimmy G's Cajun Sunday
3:30 p.m. Gates open
5:30 p.m. First live Quarter Horse race
Each Sunday afternoon Sam Houston Race Park Jimmy G's Cajun Sunday continues with a day of live racing, The Zydeco Dots, $1 beer and Cajun delicacies from the kitchen of Jimmy G's Cajun Restaurant.

Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle restaurant and reserved grandstand seating and concert tickets. For reservations or more information, please call (281) 807-8760. Groups of ten or more are welcome and may be arranged by contacting the group sales department at (281) 807-8750.

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