Sam Houston Maiden Classic Set for Saturday Night at Sam Houston Race Park

(Houston, Texas - Wednesday, April 4, 2012) - Saturday night's feature at Sam Houston Race Park is the $66,300 Sam Houston Maiden Classic featuring the ten fastest qualifiers from trials run on March 22.

First time starter J C Senior Seis won the first of eight trials, covering 350 yards in :17.564. Owned by Eleazar Martinez, Sr. and trained by Yasmine Fierro, the daughter of Tres Seis drew off impressively in her career debut. She was ridden to victory by Luis Vivanco, the leading rider from the 2011 Sam Houston Quarter Horse meet.

Vivanco will retain the mount on the filly bred by James Cordell, who earned a speed index of 99 in her trial. She will break from post position seven in Saturday night's final. Her owner will make the trip from San Antonio to see if she can continue her winning streak.

"We purchased her for $2,700 in the 2010 TQHA Yearling Sale," said Martinez. "She wasn't ready to race as a 2-year-old, but we were very happy to see her win her first start."

Martinez stands to pick up a check for $26,520 should she win the final, which will be run as the eighth race of the Saturday night card (10:02 p.m. CT).

Country Flying Chick was the second fastest qualifier, winning the sixth trial in a time of 17.630 seconds under rider David Alvarez. The 4-year-old mare is trained by Mariel Guerra, Jr. and drew post eight for the 350 yard dash.

Spartocus Set for the $487,770 Sam Houston Futurity on April 14

On Saturday, March 31, 15 trials were run for the richest race of the 2012 Quarter Horse meet, the $487,770 Sam Houston Futurity (G2). The first trial, which took place at 2:30 p.m. produced the fastest qualifier when Spartocus won his 330-yard trial in a time of :16.724 under rider David Alvarez. 

Owned and bred by Jorge Meraz of Bastrop, Texas, Spartocus is a son of Shazoom out of the Dashin Bye mare First Dashin Bye.

Trainer Bobby Martinez reported that the sorrel colt cooled out well and shipped back to him farm in Elgin on Sunday morning.

"He's doing great," said Martinez, who also qualified One Eyed Eagle for the final to be run on Saturday, April 14.

Martinez won two trials on Saturday's card, including the first race with Spartocus and the 15th and final trial with Truckin Black Jet. Martinez was asked how he felt about his time holding for the remaining 14 trials.

"I was a little surprised that we held onto the fastest time throughout the day," said Martinez. "But, I knew my horse had talent; I told the owner from the first day we began training him that he was special."

Free Admission and the Budweiser Clydesdales This Thursday

Sam Houston Race Park announced that beginning April 5, that racing fans will receive free admission each Thursday night through the remainder of the 2012 Quarter Horse meet.

Also on April 5, fans will be treated to a special performance by the world renowned Budweiser Clydesdales. They will take to the track following the third race of the Thursday night card.

Promotions and Concert Series Set at Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park will offer a variety of promotions for the 2012 Quarter Horse meet. Upcoming events include the popular Crawfish Boil on April 28; live racing coupled with the simulcast of the 138th Kentucky Derby with Mint Juleps and the annual Kentucky Derby Hat Contest on May 5, a special Sunday live racing program in honor of Mother's Day on May 13 and live racing coupled with the simulcast of the 137th Preakness Stakes on May 19.

The 2012 Concert Series at Sam Houston Race Park will take place on the Bud Light Stage and will feature artists performing on Friday and Saturday nights following live quarter horse racing. Ticket prices begin at $10 and can be purchased at

The performers are:

Saturday, April 7 - Casey Donahew with Buck Yeager Band
Friday, April 20 - Cory Morrow with Amanda Nagurney
Saturday, April 28 - The Outlaws with Whiskey Myers
Friday, May 4 - Randy Houser with Rosehill
Saturday, May 12 - Bob Schneider with Honeybrowne
Friday, May 18 - Roger Creager with The Jeff Bootz Band
Saturday, May 19 - 38 Special with Blackberry Smoke & Folk Family Revival

Five Wins for Jockey J. R. Ramirez on March 31

Sam Houston Race Park hosted 15 trials for the $487,770 Sam Houston Futurity last Saturday, and J. R. Ramirez had a very rewarding day, winning five races. He qualified Macho Maggie (:16.762) for owner Harold Chenault as well as Hiclass Buck (:16.823) for Sherrie and J. B. Morace.

While Saturday was a big day for the 32-year-old rider, he had an even more impressive milestone in the the 2004 Sam Houston Quarter Horse Meet. On June 20, Ramirez won a record-setting eight races.

Jockey, Trainer and Owner Standings

A very competitive race for leading jockey honors is already heating up with Rodrigo Vallejo holding a narrow lead. Vallejo has eight wins with J.R. Ramirez in second with seven winning mounts and David Alvarez closely following those two with six wins. Last year’s leading rider Luis Vivanco is tied with Francisco Raul Ramirez, Jr. with five victories each.

Judd Kearl, who has four leading trainer titles at Sam Houston, is on top of the standings with nine wins from 39 starts through the first two weeks of the meet. Jorge Haddad is second with four wins and there is a tie for third place between John Buchanan, Jesse Yoakum, James Gerhards and Brian Stroud. Each have three victories.

In the owner standings, A. D. Maddox and Bobby Cox are tied for the lead with three wins to date. Eleazar Martinez, Sr., Thomas G. Bradfield and Brett Mennen follow with two wins each.

TM Fred Texas Wins the $250,000 Dubai Kahayla Classic

TM Fred Texas, who ran at Sam Houston Race Park in 2011, bested an international field of Arabian racehorses on March 31, winning the $250,000 Dubai Kahayla Classic. Bred by Todd Moak and originally owned by Texas horseman Sam Vasquez, TM Fred Texas defeated the defending champion Seraphin Du Paon in the Group 1 stakes.

Vasquez, of Galveston, Texas, is a dry wall contractor with a passion for Arabian racehorses. He has been heavily involved in Arabian racing as an owner and breeder since 1991. Vasquez was the Darley Owner of the Year in 2011 and 2008.

Vasquez picked up his first Horse of the Year trophy when T M Fred Texas was honored last month at the Darley Awards in Houston.

Vasquez sold the 5-year-old son of Burning Sand who won stakes at Churchill Downs, Arapahoe Park and Delaware Park last year to Shiek Joaan Bin Hamad K. H. Al-Thani for six figures at the end of the year. Despite selling the champion, Vasquez still follows his career with great interest.

"I got a phone call right after the race," said Vazquez. "It was an outstanding effort; I watched the replay and he did it handily. This horse has always been special. I ran him against older horses as a 3-year-old. His ability to win off the pace is special. He is an exceptional horse. I think it will be a while before we see another one like this in the United States."

Keeneland Opens on Friday, April 6

Keeneland, the exceptional racetrack located in Lexington, Kentucky, kicks off its 15-day meet this Friday. The opening day feature will be the 24th running of the $100,000 Transylvania (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. 

The stakes-filled racing season includes the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) on April 14, one of the final prep races for the Kentucky Derby

Sam Houston Race Park will simulcast each of the races set for the Spring meet which runs through April 27. For post times and more information on simulcast racing across the country, click on

Up Close and Personal With Q-Racing Ace, Martha Claussen

Sam Houston Race Park invites racing fans to meet Quarter Horse expert, Martha Claussen every Saturday night for an "Up Close and Personal" introduction to American Quarter Horse Racing. Claussen is a member of the Q-Racing Aces, a touring fan education program initiated by the American Quarter Horse Association in 2010.

There is no charge for the program, which will take place each Saturday at 6:30 p.m. adjacent to the Sam Houston Race Park Saddling Paddock through May 19. Claussen will provide an introduction to American Quarter Horse Racing with a preview of the horses in the first race. Her special guest this Saturday will be trainer Judd Kearl, who has won four leading trainer titles at Sam Houston. They will answer questions from fans on any aspect of Quarter Horse racing. The first 20 fan each week will receive a complimentary $2.00 wagering voucher as well as informative handicapping materials, courtesy of the AQHA.
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