||Iknow Heknows Iknow Wins the Harris County Stakes on Opening Weekend of the 2016 American Quarter Horse Meet at Sam Houston Race Park
(Houston, Texas - Saturday, March 26, 2016) -
Iknow Heknows Iknow won the first stakes of the 2016 Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse meet, the $20,000 Harris County Stakes. The six-year-old son of Tres Seis was bred in Texas by Michael Amburn and claimed for $10,000 by Luis Plascencia.
Ridden by Luis Vivanco, the bay gelding was making his 27th career start this evening and just his second at the distance of 550 yards. Breaking well from post position two, Iknow Heknows Iknow won in gate-to-wire fashion, prevailing by a neck over a fast-closing Daring And Dashing. The final time over a fast main track was :27.594.
"We were looking to try him at 550 yards," said Plascencia.
Trainer Judd Kearl, who won two trials earlier in the card for the Bank of America Texas Challenge, saddled the runner-up Daring And Dashing. The five-year-old son of First Down Dash is owned by Triple K Farms and ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo.
Iknow Heknows Iknow, sent off as the 2.80 betting choice, returned $7.60 to win. Stolis Pro ran third under Francisco Calderon, followed by Pursuit of Duty.
Jessies First Down Fastest Qualifier to the Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship
Three trials were contested this evening to determine the ten fastest qualifiers for the $95,000 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship (G2).
For the second year in a row, Jessies First Down ($5.00) posted the fastest time in the trials, covering 440 yards in :21.285 seconds. The five-year-old son of Fdd Dynasty is owned by Ted G. Abrams, Sr. and trained by Judd Kearl.
"Like a fine wine, this horse just gets better with age," said Kearl.
This was fifth win from 20 starts for the bay gelding, who has won three of his four starts already this year, including the $300,000 Miami Dade Stakes at Hialeah on February 28.
2014 Bank of America Challenge Champion Stimulus returned off a one-year layoff to post the second-fastest time of the evening, :21.58.
Kearl also qualified Rc Me Leaving You for owners Bennie and Terri Jeter. The four-year-old son of Coronas Leaving You won the first trial in :21.668 under Vallejo.
Friday's final trial featured the return of 2014 AQHA World Champion Jrc Callas First for Dana and Brian Stroud. The Texas-bred son of Winners Award won his trial in :21.679 under rider Ricardo Aguirre.
"He was closing well but will have to run a lot faster in the final to beat these," said Stroud.
The ten fastest qualifiers will return for the final on April 16. The winner will represent Sam Houston Race Park in the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1), which will take place in October at Los Alamitos Race Course.
Trials for the Sam Houston Maiden Classic on Saturday, March 26
Each of the 11 races on Saturday evening card are trials for the Sam Houston Maiden Classic. Trainer Joel Garza will saddle seven entrants, and Angel Sanchez has six running in the 350-yard trials.
The fastest ten qualifiers will advance to the final on Saturday, April 9. Last year's winner was the fastest qualifier, El Chinito Boy, who clinched his first stakes score for trainer Josue Ponce.
Monday Afternoon Racing Debuts for the Quarter Horse Season
Sam Houston Race Park will add Monday afternoons to its live racing schedule for the 2016 Quarter Horse meet. Post time for Friday evening racing is 7:00 p.m.; Saturday's card will get underway at 6:10 p.m., and beginning Monday, March 28, the live racing program will begin at 1:00 p.m.