Field is Set for Saturday Night's $110,000 Sam Houston Derby at SHRP

(Wednesday, September 22, 2004) - The draw for the $110,000 Sam Houston Derby took place today at Sam Houston Race Park. A blanket finish may determine who "wears the blanket" as the three fastest qualifiers were within three-hundredths of a second of each other.

Alex Ramos' Mystical Reb was fastest qualifier, taking :21.56 seconds to cover the 440 yards. Trained by Roy Roberts, this sorrel son of Rebel Dasher was ridden to its trial win and a win in a non-winners of four lifetime allowance in his only other Houston start by Alfonso Lujan.

One of three fillies, Sixy Thru Traffic, trained by Bobby Martinez, was the second fastest qualifier, just one-hundredth of a second slower than Mystical Reb. A daughter of Dash Thru Traffic owned by Eusevio Huitron, Sixy Thru Traffic has won six of nine starts, including her most recent three under her Derby pilot, Rodrigo Vallejo. She earned a berth into the $100,000 John Deere Distaff Challenge Championship, one of the six MBNA Challenge Championship stakes to be run at Sam Houston Race Park on November 6, after winning the East Distaff Challenge (G3) at Delta Downs.

Splendid Sam Perry was just a neck behind Mystical Reb in :21.59 and was the third fastest qualifier. Owned by S A Ranch and trained by Eloy Gonzalez, this sorrel son of Mr Jess Perry won the TQHA Sires Cup Derby as part of his 3-2-0 record from six starts this year. Gilbert Ortiz picked up the mount as his trial rider Rodrigo Vallejo chose to stay with Sixy Thru Traffic.

Others sure to draw support from racing fans include Betty Jo Spence's homebred and fourth-fastest qualifier, I Make Em Shake, winner of last year's TQHA Sire's Cup Futurity. Trained by Philip Calais, this gray son of Royal Shake Em was a little slow from the gate in trials and could improve in his second start off a 60-day layoff under regular rider Alvin Brossette. Sylvia Shaw Pitman's sorrel filly Ima Perry Girl was in the trifecta in each of her most recent 10 starts including, third place finishes in both the TQHA Sires Derby and her trial for this final. Trained by John Buchanan, this daughter of Mr Jess Perry was second in the Sam Houston Futurity last summer and will be a definite threat under All American Futurity rider Juan Vazquez.

On Friday, September 24, Sam Houston Race Park will present the finals of the $350,000 Sam Houston Futurit,y featuring fastest qualifier, Azoom, from the barn of Frank Cavazos. Post time for Friday and Saturday night is 7:00 p.m.

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