|$563,950 Sam Houston Futurity Leads the Big Saturday Night Card at Sam Houston Race Park
(Houston, Texas - Wednesday, April 16, 2014) - The finals of the richest race of the 2014 Quarter Horse Meeting, the $563,950 Sam Houston Futurity (G2) will be run Saturday night. If recent history repeats itself, racing fans could very well get a sneak preview into one of the leading contenders for the $2.4-million All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. Just one year ago at Sam Houston Race Park, Especially Tres won the Sam Houston Futurity and began training for the All American. The talented filly, trained by Trey Wood, set the fastest time in trials for racing's most prestigious two-year-old title, finishing a respectable fourth in the final.
Sam Houston Race Park will host two additional stakes on Saturday night, the $167,300 Sam Houston Derby (G3) and the $50,000 Sam Houston Juvenile. Families are invited for an entertaining and affordable evening as Saturday is Dollar Day with $1 admission, live programs, hot dogs, sodas, draft beer from 4:30-10:00 p.m., and a free petting zoo from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Kiss My Hocks Draws Rail in the $563,950 Sam Houston Futurity (G2)
A total of 17 trials were run on Saturday, March 29 to determine the ten fastest qualifiers for the richest race of the 2014 Quarter Horse meet, the $563,950 Sam Houston Futurity (G2). The fourth trial of the afternoon produced the fastest qualifier when Kiss My Hocks won in record-setting time under rider Luis Vivanco.
The son of Tempting Dash out of the Tres Seis mare Romancing Mary crossed the wire of the 330-yard trial in a time of :16.433, besting the previous record of :16:514 second set on July 5, 2002 by Pies Power Play.
Bred in Texas by Tyler Graham and John Mayers, Kiss My Hocks is owned by Graham and Conda Maze.
Toby Keeton trains the colt, and looks for a good effort from Kiss My Hocks on Saturday night.
"That horse acts like he never ran that race," said Keeton. "I've never had a two-year-old come out of a trial so well."
Keeton will give a leg up to Luis Vivanco, who will guide Kiss My Hocks from the far inside post.
"Drawing the rail does not bother me," said Keeton. "If you've got a good enough horse, you can win from anywhere."
This would be the first Sam Houston Futurity for Keeton, who will celebrate his 50th birthday on June 6.
Maria Nino's California-bred Quic Carter, runner-up to Kiss My Hocks in the fourth trial, was the second-fastest qualifier, clocked at :16.474. The gelded son of Carters Cartel was ridden to victory by Eleazar Rivera Hernandez for trainer Juan Carlos Saucedo. He will break from post position eight in the final.
"He broke kind of slow, but finished strong," reported Saucedo. "This is the first Carters Cartel I have trained. My dad picked him at the Heritage Place Winter Mixed Sale. We have high hopes for him."
Saucedo looks forward to Saturday night and will have his eye on Kiss My Hocks as the horses break from the starting gate.
"That horse is the real deal," acknowledges Saucedo. "I just hope we can stick with him."
Trainer Trey Wood, who won the 2013 Sam Houston Futurity with Especially Tres qualified Tres Air, a full-brother to last year's champion.
"He hasn't missed a meal since his trial and is a real sound horse," said Wood. "Especially Tres might have been a little more focused than her brother, but he is a good horse and seems to be ready."
Saturday could be a banner day for the Wood barn as he has horses entered in both the Sam Houston and Remington Park futurities.
"Ricky (Ramirez) and I will stay in Oklahoma and Dad will saddle in Houston," said Wood, who has tapped Esgar Ramirez to ride the Houston entrants."We've qualified, and I believe that anytime you qualify, you have as good a chance as anyone to get your picture taken in the winner's circle."
Glimpse of Dash owned by R. Jaime Flores won the sixth trial in a time of :16.520, slotting the third-fastest time. Saul Ramirez, Jr. rode the son of Glimpse of Greatness for trainer Roberto Ramirez.
The winner's share of the final is an impressive $225,580. Past winners of the Sam Houston Futurity include 2004 AQHA Champion two-year-old, Azoom, Snowy Alibi, Sassmaster and Jess Tee Off.
Cartel Arrangement Leads Field in the $167,300 Sam Houston Derby (G3)
Six trials were run on Friday, March 28 for the $167,300 Sam Houston Derby (G3). The fourth trial produced the fastest time of the evening as Cartel Arrangement surged to the wire of her 350-yard trial in :17.278 seconds.
The three-year-old daughter of Carters Cartel was bred by Christine Hudson and is owned by Sherrie and J. B. Morace. Regular rider Santos Carrizales has piloted the black filly in each of her five career starts. Purchased for just $4,500 at the 2012 TQHA Yearling Sale, the talented filly was the fastest qualifier in the $442,000 TQHA Sale Futurity last July at Retama Park. Her comeback race was more than her connections had hoped for.
"She was a little sore in her shin after the TQHA Sale Futurity," said trainer Angel Sanchez. "She has really come back well."
Her owner agreed and is hoping his filly will earn her first black-type stakes on Saturday evening, breaking from post position three with Carrizales aboard.
"She's a special filly," said Morace. "After the TQHA Sale final last year, she had surgery and we weren't sure how well she would come back. But, she has matured and we were really pleased with how she ran in her trial."
Winning the Sam Houston Derby is important to Morace and his wife, Sherrie.
"We want to run in Texas," added Morace. We have cut back to just eight in training, but this is home for us and, it would mean a lot to win this one."
The winner's share of the Derby purse is $66,920. Cartel Arrangement heads into the final with a record of three wins from five starts.
Big Dashing Perry, winner of the 2013 Firecracker Futurity at Delta Downs, posted the second-fastest time of :17.282. Trained by Bobby Martinez for owners Tommy Hays, Bobby Barnett and Grant Farms, LLC, the Louisiana-bred son of Mr Jess Perry will be ridden by David Alvarez from the far outside post. Big Dashing Perry is the highest earner in the field with $147,127 in five starts.
$50,000 Sam Houston Juvenile To Be Contested Saturday Night
The $50,000 Sam Houston Juvenile Stake will kick off the stakes action on Saturday evening. The field of ten American Quarter Horses competed in trials for the Sam Houston Futurity on March 29, but missed the cut-off time of :16.753 seconds.
Lethal Perry, owned by JJ Cool L LLC and trained by Trey Wood, ran fourth to fastest qualifier Kiss My Hocks and was clocked at :16.767. The daughter of Mr Jess Perry drew post position eight and will be ridden by Esgar Ramirez
"She lugged in and caused her own trouble in the trial," said Wood. "We have always believed she has talent."
Post time for Saturday's ten race card is 6:00 p.m. The three stakes will be run as race 7 (Sam Houston Juvenile); race 8 (Sam Houston Derby) and race 9 (Sam Houston Futurity).
Challenge Trials Set for Thursday and Friday Night
Live Quarter Horse racing returns to Sam Houston Race Park on Thursday, April 17 and seven races on the card will be 350-yard trials for the John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge. The ten fastest two-year-olds will return for the final on Sunday, May 11.
Four trials will be contested on Friday, April 18 for the Adequan Texas Derby Challenge at the distance of 400 yards. The final is set for Sunday, May 11, which is closing day for the Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse meet.