$77,100 Sam Houston Maiden Classic Highlights This Weekend's Racing Action at Sam Houston Race Park

(Houston, Texas - Wednesday, April 2, 2014) - Live Quarter Horse racing is set for Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at Sam Houston Race Park. Fans are invited to attend a special event on Saturday, April 5 when HERE Entertainment Presents Wine Tasting at The Track The event will take place on the center Club Level with a $20 ticket including general admission for the Saturday night races, a 10 tasting punch card, and one full glass of wine. Following the conclusion of the live racing card, Cody Canada and The Departed will perform live on the Bud Light Stage.

Emilianos Wagon Leads Field in the Sam Houston Maiden Classic

Ten trials were run on Friday, March 21 for the $71,100 Sam Houston Maiden Classic. The first trial of the evening produced the fastest qualifying time as Emilianos Wagon got the ball rolling in impressive fashion.

The three-year-old son of Pyc Paint Your Wagon is bred, owned and trained by Jorge Haddad of Seguin, Texas. With Saul Ramirez, Jr. in the irons, the bay gelding closed from the far outside post, covering 350 yards in :17.742 seconds.

This was just the fifth start for Haddad's homebred, who began his career last year at Delta Downs. Haddad reports that his charge came out of the trials in good shape.

"He's doing really well," said Haddad. "We kept him here at Sam Houston since the trials, and I look for him to run a good race on Saturday."

Emilianos Wagon drew post position five and will once again, have Saul Ramirez, Jr. in the irons.

"His draw is fine," added Haddad. "He ran well from the far outside in trials and handled the inside at Delta Downs last year."

Emilianos Wagon is named after their second son, Emiliano, and it is likely the entire Haddad family will make the trip from Seguin to cheer on their runner.

Mike Amburn's Pyc Paint Your Wagon gelding, Paintedinoil under jockey Luis Ramirez, was the second fastest qualifier, winning his trial in :17.742 seconds. Guy Hopkins trains Paintedinoil as well as the tenth-fastest qualifier, Snipes And Bites.

The final purse of $77,100 is up considerably from $53,400 in 2013. The 2014 Sam Houston Maiden Classic will run as the ninth race of the Saturday evening card.

Kiss My Hocks Fastest Qualifier in the $563,950 Sam Houston Futurity (G2)

The richest race of the 2014 Quarter Horse Meeting, the $563,950 Sam Houston Futurity (G2) will be contested on Saturday, April 19. Due to an increased number of nominations and 17 trials this year, versus 15 in 2013, the final purse of $563,950 has taken a nice jump from last year's purse of $452,800.

The fourth trial of the afternoon produced the fastest qualifier when Kiss My Hocks won in record-setting time under rider Luis Vivanco. The Tempting Dash colt crossed the wire of the 330-yard trial in a time of :16.433, besting the previous record of :16:514 set on July 5, 2002 by Pies Power Play.

Owned by Tyler Graham and Conda Maze, Kiss My Hocks will return to face nine finalists for the winner's check of $225,580.

Two other finals will be the $167,300 Sam Houston Derby (G3) and the $50,000 Sam Houston Juvenile.

Cody Canada and The Departed 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 8:00 p.m., and Chophouse Buffet.

Cody Canada and the Departed takes to the Bud Light Stage on Saturday night. The remaining concerts include:

  • Jack Ingram Saturday, April 12
  • Reckless Kelly Friday, May 2
  • Cody Johnson Saturday, May 10

Sam Houston Race Park Ranks 6th in National Players Magazine

Horseplayers Association of North America just announced its 6th annual track ratings, and Sam Houston Race Park was favorably reviewed and ranked sixth in their national standings.

The rankings are based on several factors, including take-out rate, field size and wager and signal options. Keeneland has earned the highest marks for the sixth year in a row, but Sam Houston Race Park ranks higher than venerable United States tracks including Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, Arlington, Gulfstream and Santa Anita.

Click here to view the April issue of Horseplayer Monthly to see the complete rankings of North American racetracks. There is also a nice feature on Sam Houston Race Park, beginning on page 11.

Thoroughbred News: Keeneland Gets Underway on Friday

The 15-day Keeneland spring meet begins on Friday, April 4. Opening day will feature a field of 12 in the Grade 3, $100,000 Transylvania Stakes.

Two Kentucky Derby prep races will be contested this weekend. The Grade 1, $1 million Wood Memorial will serve as the final prep for Samraat, Uncle Sigh and Social Inclusion.

The Grade 1, $1 million Santa Anita Derby will also be contested on Saturday with stakes winners, California Chrome, Candy Boy and Hoppertunity among the eight starters in the mile and one-eighth stakes.

The winner of the Wood and Santa Anita Derby will earn 100 points to qualify for a starting gate position in the 2014 Kentucky Derby.

Sam Houston Race Park offers a comprehensive simulcasting menu including Fair Grounds, Gulfstream, Oaklawn, Santa Anita, Aqueduct and Lone Star Park, which opens next week. For more information on opening days, post times and key stakes races, visit shrp.com.

50 to 1 Opens Friday in Houston

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 movie entitled "50 to 1", which opens Friday in Houston-area theaters. The film 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.

Last Friday, Sam Houston Race Park fans enjoyed an Autograph Session with the cast including Dallas-born Christian Kane, who plays owner Mark Allen as well as other cast members, Houston native Todd Lowe; Hugo Perez; Madelyn Deutch; director/producer/co-writer Jim Wilson and co-producer/co-writer Faith Conroy.

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