||Brookstone Grey Wins The Harris County Stakes At Sam Houston Race Park
(Houston, Texas - Saturday, March 28, 2015) -
It was a big night for jockey Rodrigo Vallejo and trainer Leslie Padilla, scoring victories in both the first stakes of the 2015 Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse season and trials for the Bank of America Challenge Championship.
Brookstone Grey closed with authority to capture the $20,000 Harris County Stakes. Owned by Manny Lozano and George Temple, the striking grey son of Brookstone Bay out of the Tres Seis mare Senorita Tres won his last two races at Hialeah Park, including a 550-yard starter allowance on February 13. Vallejo piloted the Texas-bred from the far outside post, drawing off to a 1 1/4-length margin. The final time over a fast main track was :27.682.
"His best distance is 550 yards," said winning rider Vallejo.
Lozano and Temple claimed their stakes winner last year at Lone Star for $5,000. Tonight's victory was his fourth win in five starts.
"It's a wonderful feeling to win," said Temple. "I attribute our success to the trainer and jockey, and everyone on the backside. All we do as owners is write checks. We couldn't do it without everyone behind us."
Lozano is a new owner and was elated to make another trip to the winner's circle with family and friends.
"George brought me into the game," said Lozano. "He's the horseman; all I can do is say thank you. It's been a great ride!"
Brookstone Grey, part of a coupled entry with Mr High Sheriff, was sent off as the even-money betting choice and returned $4.60, $3.60 and $2.60 across the board. King of the Bunnys ran second under Raul Ramirez, Jr., followed by The Field Cricket and Bar Struck.
Temple indicated that Brookstone Grey would make his next start in the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic on May 9.
Jessies First Down and Pyro Win Trial Races for the Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship
Two trials were contested this evening to determine the ten fastest qualifiers for the $100,000 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship (G2).
Jessies First Down posted the fastest time in the trials, covering 440 yards in :21.828 seconds. The four-year-old son of Fdd Dynasty is owned by Ted G. Abrams, Sr. and trained by Padilla.
"This horse loves to run," said Abrams. "He finished so well and was a game winner tonight. We look forward to a great final."
This was just the second win from 12 starts for the bay gelding, who has faced tough company at Ruidoso Downs as a three-year-old. He captured the Hialeah Maturity on January 15, and ran second in another 440 yard stakes on March 1. Sent off as the favorite in his trial, Jessies First Down paid $3.20 to win with multiple stakes winner The Lizzard King running second.
The winner of the first trial Pyro, bred and owned by Kathleen O Matey, blazed to the wire of the 440 yard trial in :21.893. The five-year-old son of Make It Anywhere is trained by Padilla and was ridden by Luis Guerrero.
Last year, Pyro paid $39 for the win, but got more respect this year, and returned $9. Daytona B, a four-year-old son of First Down Dash, ran second to Pyro. He qualified for the Adequan Derby Challenge last September at Prairie Meadows and won the $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship on October 18. The powerful Texas-bred, owned by Gregorio Garcia Garza, ships to Houston off a two-race win streak at Hialeah Park near Miami, and is currently ranked fifth on the weekly AQHA/HorsePlayernow.com Top Ten Poll.
For a complete list of finalists, times, sires, dams, owners, breeders, trainers and jockeys, visit stallionesearch.com. The top ten will The ten fastest qualifiers will return for the final on April 18 and the winner will represent Sam Houston Race Park in the $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship.
El Chinito Boy Fastest Qualifier for the Sam Houston Maiden Classic
Twelve trials were run on Friday, March 27 for the $102,200 Sam Houston Maiden Classic. With a record number of horses paid into the trials, the purse for the April 11 final is up $25,000 from last year.
The fastest qualifier was El Chinito Boy, a four-year-old son of Sss Ace in the Hole, who covered 350 yards in :17.698. Juan Antonio Avila owns the gelding, who was making his third career start at Sam Houston, following two second-place efforts last summer at Gillespie Fair Grounds.
Two "young guns", trainer Josue Ponce, 19, and jockey, Damien Martinez, 21, have worked in tandem to get their charge primed for his four-year-old season. Ponce has only been training for one year, and liked what he saw last night.
"I think it was a combination of Damien getting to know him and his training," said Ponce. "He's a good horse; I was just worried about the lights as last year at Gillespie, he ran in the afternoon."
Martinez comes into the 2015 Sam Houston Race Park meet with a great deal of confidence. He won the first stakes race of his career one year ago, guiding Jrc Callas First to victory in the $20,000 Harris County Stakes. The Texas-bred won seven more stakes last year and was honored as AQHA World Champion.
"I've galloped El Chinito Boy several times," said Martinez. "He loves to run, but hadn't quite figured it. Last night, even after he stumbled in the break, he really ran well. I hope he can do that again in the final."
The ten fastest qualifiers will return on April 11. The race continues to grow in popularity with the horsemen; last year's final purse was $77,100, up considerably from $53,400 offered in 2013. The complete list of qualifiers for the 2015 Sam Houston Maiden Classic, can be viewed at stallionesearch,com.
Special Post Time Set for Saturday, April 4
Due to an exceptional number of nominations for the Sam Houston Futurity (G2), there will be 19 trials run on Saturday, April 4. 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 25.
The 2015 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 Sunday, May 16.