Trials for the Sam Houston Maiden Classic Kick Off the 2013 American Quarter Horse Meet at Sam Houston Race Park

(Houston, Texas - Wednesday, March 27, 2013) - Live American Quarter Horse racing returns to Sam Houston Race Park on Thursday, March 28. Opening night will feature seven trials for the Sam Houston Maiden Classic. The fastest ten qualifiers will advance to the final on Friday, April 12.

Racing fans will see the return of many familiar trainers including Judd Kearl, who has won the Sam Houston leading training title five times; Jorge Haddad, Bobby Touchet, Jesse Yoakum, Bobby Martinez, Tommy Zarate, Guy Hopkins, Yasmine Fierro and John Boegner. Another conditioner to watch is Cindi Keeton, who finished second to Kearl last year and was the trainer of Charmin Chief Corona, 2012 Horse of the Meet

A few new names include Willie Simien, who has had success in Louisiana and Trey Wood, a third-generation horseman who has won the Lone Star Park Quarter Horse training title for the past three years.

Sam Houston Race Park's 2013 live American Quarter Horse meet will feature racing every Thursday and Friday at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday at 6:00 p.m. The racing season will run through Saturday, May 18.

Friday's Feature is the $20,000 Harris County Stakes
A field of nine will compete in the $20,000 Harris County Stakes, the first stakes of the meet which will be contested at a distance of 550 yards. Kite Flyer, winner of the 870 yard Governors' Cup Marathon last May, will break from post position four under regular rider, Santos Carrizales. The six-year-old son of Royal Quick Dash has won 8 of his 23 career starts for trainer Ryan Basham and owners Dark Horse Partnership. The eight-year-old JC My Diamond Man breaks from the far outside under Ricardo Aguirre, and has won 10 races at Sam Houston for Clem D. Nava, III. The chestnut gelding, trained by Brian Stroud, is sharp at 550 yards, winning over $100,000 at this distance.

The field, from the rail, with riders: Wicked Hero, David Alvarez; Shake Em Special Pop, Ignacio Bustamante; Corona La Jolla, Alfonso Lujan; Kite Flyer. Santos Carrizales; Bythedawnsearlylight, Luis Vivanco; Shineys Magic T, Jerry Lee Yoakum; Mr Tellmeno Lie, John Hamilton; Stone Heading West, Manuel Gutierrez and JC My Diamond Man, Ricardo Aguirre.

The Harris County Stakes will be run as the ninth race on the card. Friday's program will also feature seven trials for the Sam Houston Derby.

Special Post Time Set for Saturday, March 30

Due to an exceptional number of nominations for the Sam Houston Futurity (G2), there could be as many as 16 trials run on Saturday, March 30. As a result, Sam Houston Race Park has moved its evening post time to 3:00 p.m. The ten fastest two-year-olds will advance to the final which will be run on Saturday, April 13.

Trey Wood expects to enter 17 two-year-olds in trials for the Sam Houston Futurity. He has not run horses here since 2008, but credits the Sam Houston Futurity as one of the reasons he has shipped 30 horses in for the meet.

"The weather's nice in Houston and it has a great track surface," said Wood. "I am looking to run some three-year-old maidens that had some issues last year, and hopefully qualify for the Sam Houston Futurity."

Wood works in tandem with his father, Blane, in readying runners for competition.

"Success early in the year just depends on the horse," stated Wood. "Dad's really good at breaking the babies, and that's all you can go from at this point."

Upcoming Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park

There are 19 stakes on the 2013 American Quarter Horse Stakes schedule and Sam Houston Race Park will once again participate in the Bank of America Racing Challenge, the richest and most successful program in American Quarter Horse racing today. Stakes highlights include:

  • Fri., April 12 - Sam Houston Maiden Classic
  • Sat., April 13 - Sam Houston Futurity (G2) & Sam Houston Derby (G3)
  • Sat., April 20 - Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship (G1) & Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge
  • Sat., April 27 - Merial Texas Distaff Challenge
  • Fri., May 10 - Sam Houston Classic (G2)
  • Sat., May 18 - John Deere Juvenile Challenge (G3) & Adequan Texas Derby Challenge

Spring Concert Line Up Finalized at Sam Houston Race Park

The upcoming American Quarter Horse Meet will once again feature a concert series on Friday and Saturday nights, kicking off on Saturday, March 30. New to this year's concert series will be FREE concert admission for all guests that purchase $6 general admission tickets to live racing before 8:00 p.m. Admission will be $20 for guests arriving after 8:00 p.m.

The 2013 Concert Series at Sam Houston Race Park will take place on Friday and Saturdays on the Bud Light Stage following live racing. A variety of Country and Alternative music artists will take to the Bud Light Stage where the venue will offer general admission tickets to the open lawn. In addition, Sam Houston Race Park will offer a variety of food and beverage concessions so that racing and music fans can fully enjoy this total entertainment experience.

Popular alternative rock band Blue October will be the first performer in the 2013 Concert Series at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday, March 30. A total of six artists will perform on Friday and Saturday nights with Kevin Fowler wrapping up the series on Saturday, May 11.

The Bud Light Stage list of performers is as follows:

  • Blue October Saturday, March 30 presented by Cricket Wireless
  • Old 97's Saturday, April 6
  • Charlie Robison Friday, April 12
  • Reckless Kelly Saturday, April 27
  • Roger Creager Friday, May 3 presented by ABC Home & Commercial Services
  • Kevin Fowler Saturday, May 11 presented by Auto Nation
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