Je And Thee is Fastest Qualifier for the $540,600 Sam Houston Futurity (G2) at Sam Houston Race Park

(Houston, Texas - Saturday, April 2, 2016) - Sam Houston hosted 17 trials today in preparation for the richest race of the 2016 Quarter Horse Meeting, the Sam Houston Futurity (G2). The third trial of the afternoon produced the fastest qualifier when Je and Thee posted an impressive gate-to wire debut under rider Jose Amador Alvarez. He won his 330-yard trial in :16.631, by a margin of 1 1/2 lengths, earning a 101 speed index.

The son of The Louisiana Cartel, out of the Easy Winning Jet mare Eternal Destiny, was bred in Texas by Janey S. Stoody. Purchased privately by Ramon Cano, he was trained for his debut by Joel Cano. Je And Thee was the first starter for the 29-year-old conditioner, who has just been training for one year.

"He really surprised us," said Cano. "We've only had him for five weeks, and were not expecting a race like this. He was amazing! The owner really liked the progeny of The Louisiana Cartel and purchased this colt as a weanling."

Alvarez had never seen Je And Thee, let alone worked him prior to the trial, and he was pleasantly surprised as well.

"I didn't know what to expect," said Alvarez. "He is a smaller horse, but warmed up great and had good concentration in the gate. He broke fine and was moving well early, but then really came on."

Esmeralda Peck's Midnight Heat secured the second-fastest time, winning the second trial in :16.726. The son of Corona Cartel, bred by Julianna Hawn Holt, was ridden to victory by Luis Vivanco for trainer Patrick Clemons.

Trainer Brian Stroud will send Desdemona Rambler to the final. The Tempting Dash colt won his first career race in :16.757, recording the third fastest time in the sixth trial. Owned by Dan Grube, he was ridden to victory by Claudio Ponce Aguilar.

The ten qualifiers will return on Saturday, April 23 to compete for the first place check in the amount of $216,240. The winner will join a noted list of Sam Houston Futurity champions, which includes 2014 AQHA Champion colt, Kiss My Hocks; Azoom; Snowy Alibi, Sassmaster and Jess Tee Off.

The list of the ten fastest qualifiers with owners, breeders, jockeys and trainers, was prepared by and can be found here.

Ivan James Fastest Qualifier in Trials for the $191,000 Sam Houston Derby (G3)

The Friday evening card featured seven trials for the $191,000 Sam Houston Derby (G3) A strong tail wind of 17 mph created some fast times for the 350-yard trials.

The first trial featured the return of 2015 Sam Houston Race Park Horse of the Meet Ivan James. The three-year-old son of Ivory James was the fastest qualifier for the richest stakes of the Sam Houston Quarter Horse season, and won the final in convincing fashion for owner Jorge Meraz. He ran in trials for the Firecracker Futurity at Delta Downs, and then underwent surgery to remove a chip from his ankle.

Trainer Angel Sanchez saddled the bay colt, who closed gamely under rider Luis Vivanco to win his trial in :17.361.

"He ran a big race, and Luis said he felt good," said Sanchez. "I was pleased with him as he has been off for eight months. We'll see how he looks tomorrow; he's always been a nice horse."

His time held throughout the remaining six trials, with Louisiana-bred Real Solid Oak, owned by Julio Cesar Rodriguez, and Rogelio Garza Guajardo's homebred TLC Dale stopping the clock in :17.374.

Click here to see the complete list of the ten fastest qualifiers. They will return for the final on Saturday, April 23, with $76,400 to the winner.

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