Trials for the Sam Houston Derby and Futurity Set for This Weekend at Sam Houston Race Park

(Houston, Texas - Thursday, March 27, 2014) - Sam Houston Race Park hosts an action-packed weekend with promotions, a live concert, three days of Quarter Horse racing and simulcasting of several key Kentucky Derby prep races.

Cast of Mine That Bird Film, 50 to 1 Will Appear Friday at Sam Houston Race Park

Few racing fans will ever forget the running of the 2009 Kentucky Derby when Calvin Borel rode the rail aboard Mine That Bird for one of the biggest upsets in the storied history of the race. The story is the basis of a soon to be released movie entitled "50 to 1" which tells the tale of Mine That Bird, his owners, trainer and their improbable victory in the most exciting two minutes of sports, the Kentucky Derby.

Sam Houston Race Park will host an Autograph Session with the cast from the movie "50 to 1" this Friday, March 28. The autograph session is free with live racing admission and will be from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Christian Kane will also perform the National Anthem live at 6:30 p.m.

The stars include Houston native Todd Lowe (True Blood, Gilmore Girls), Dallas-born Christian Kane (Leverage), as well as Hugo Perez (Machete), Madelyn Deutch and director/producer/co-writer Jim Wilson (Dances w/ Wolves, The Bodyguard) and co-producer/co-writer Faith Conroy.

Sam Houston Derby Trials Set for Friday Evening

The Friday evening card will feature six trials for the $35,000-added Sam Houston Derby. Several talented two-year-olds from the 2013 Sam Houston Quarter Horse meet will begin their three-year-old campaigns in hopes of qualifying for the 350-yard final on April 19.

Texas horseman Jose S. Espinosa, who was honored as Quarter Horse owner of the Meet last May, had exceptional success with his two-year-olds, most notably, The Kat in the Hat and Trace Seis. Both will run in Friday's trials.

The Kat in the Hat, a gelded son of Red Oak Special, captured the $75,690 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge (G3). He represented Texas in the $150,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship last October.

"The Kat in the Hat went to Los Alamitos and did not have the best of luck," reported Espinosa. "However, we were very proud of his accomplishments last year and has been working well for his return on Friday night."

Trace Seis, a daughter of Tres Seis, was the fastest qualifier for the $452,800 Sam Houston Futurity (G2). She has not run since last October at Lone Star Park.

"She is a very sound filly and ran well for us at Gillespie last summer," said Espinosa. "We have very high expectations of her."

The trials will run as races 2-7 and be followed by the running of the $20,000 Silestone Stakes, a 330-yard test for accredited Texas-bred fillies and mares.

The field of ten includes Bux For Bricks, runner-up in the 2013 TQHA Sale Futurity and multiple-stakes winner, Mi Angela, who ran third in the last year's Silestone Stakes.

The Silestone Stakes will run as the ninth race on Friday evening.

Special Post Time of 2:00 p.m. for Seventeen Trials for the Sam Houston Futurity on Saturday, March 29

There will be 17 trials for the $100,000-added Sam Houston Futurity (G2), on Saturday, March 29. As a result, Sam Houston Race Park has moved its evening. post time to 2:00 p.m. The ten fastest two-year-olds will advance to the final which will be run on Saturday, April 19.

Last year's Sam Houston Futurity champion, Especially Tres, went on to compete in the prestigious $2.4 million All American Futurity on Labor Day at Ruidoso Downs. The talented filly, trained by Trey Wood, ran fourth and is expected to resume training soon for the Derby season at Ruidoso Downs.

Thoroughbred News: FiftyshadesofGold to Run in the Fair Grounds Oaks

Houston racing fans had the first look at one of the top fillies in the country on February 15 when Fiftyshadesofgold made her return to action in the $75,000 Two Altazano. Bred by the late Clarence Scharbauer, Jr., trainer Bret Calhoun shipped the striking gray filly to Sam Houston Race Park in her first race since suffering an injury last summer at Saratoga. She won in effortless fashion, just what her conditioner had hoped for and the long term goal of a shot at the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks was back on the radar.

Calhoun reported that Fiftyshadesofgold has been working well since returning to Fair Grounds following the Two Altazano.

"She is on target for the Oaks and has put in some pretty strong works," said Calhoun. "Everything has gone really well."

However, the filly will have a new rider on Saturday as Rosie Napravnik will remain aboard Untapable for Steve Asmussen. Calhoun has retained the services of Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith for the mile and one-sixteenth main track feature.

Fair Grounds will host seven stakes on Saturday, highlighted by the $500,000 Oaks and $1 million Louisiana Derby. The $1 million Florida Derby will also be contested at Gulfstream. This is always a key prep for the Kentucky Derby with past champions Monarchos, Barbaro and 2013 winner Orb, emerging victorious on the first Saturday of May.

Sam Houston Race Park offers a comprehensive simulcasting menu including Fair Grounds, Gulfstream, Oaklawn, Santa Anita, Aqueduct and Keeneland, which opens next week. Fans can also watch and wager on the 20th anniversary Dubai World Cup from Meydan on Saturday morning.

For more information on opening days, post times and key stakes races, visit

Casey Donahew Performs Saturday Night at Sam Houston Race Park

The 2014 American Quarter Horse Meet will feature the entertaining post-race concert series on Friday and Saturday nights, with an exceptional lineup of artists.The concert series will be FREE for all guests that purchase $7 general admission tickets to live racing before 8:00 p.m. Admission will be $20 for guests arriving after 8:00 p.m.

The 2014 Concert Series at Sam Houston Race Park will take place on the Bud Light Stage following live racing on Friday and Saturday nights from March through May. A variety of Country and Texas country artists will take to the Bud Light Stage following live racing where they will play to an open lawn. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis. While at Sam Houston Race Park racing and music fans can take advantage of the Winner's Circle Restaurant with packages starting at $28.00 including admission before 8pm, and Chophouse Buffet.

Casey Donahew is the artist performing Saturday night. The full lineup for the Bud Light Stage series is as follows:

Casey Donahew - Saturday, March 29
Cody Canada and the Departed - Saturday, April 5
Jack Ingram - Saturday, April 12
Reckless Kelly - Friday, May 2
Cody Johnson - Saturday, May 10

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