|Two Divisions of the Texas Twister to Be Contested on Saturday, April 23 at Sam Houston Race Park
(Houston, Texas - Wednesday, April 20, 2011) - The $15,000 Texas Twister, at 110 yards, returns for its third renewal on Saturday, April 23 at Sam Houston Race Park. The popularity of the super sprint stakes resulted in two divisions, which will be run as the eighth and ninth races of the Saturday night card.
Eric Johnston, vice president of racing, tested the waters in 2009, and the Texas Twister has been a hit with the horsemen. The nominations were plentiful so Johnston decided to split it into two stakes.
"We wanted to include a really quick sprint in our stakes schedule," said Johnston. "The race has been well-received by horsemen as well as racing fans as every one of the seven seconds is action-packed. Both divisions have full fields of very talented runners."
Last year it was Speeding who survived a photo finish and was clocked in :6.994 seconds. The John Buchanan-trained filly ran last Saturday at Remington Park and will not defend her title, but both divisions of the Texas Twister have some solid contenders.
Trainer Juan Saucedo will saddle two entrants in the Texas Twister. Both are owned by his father, Filimon. Saucedo, who runs the family construction company as well as their Quarter Horse racing business, resides in Elgin, Texas.
Executive Tone is a four-year-old filly seeking her third win of the Sam Houston meet. Luis Ramirez will ride the daughter of Executive Menace, who won a 350-yard allowance on March 18 and returned to the winner's circle on April 8. Patience has been the key for her solid results in 2011.
"She is a very nervous filly," admits Saucedo. "We have been working to keep her calm and get more comfortable in the gates. This year, she seems to have matured and is coming out strong in her races."
Saucedo notes that his other horse, Pac N Zoom, needed time off to repair a chip sustained in his 3-year-old season. This will be the first start of the year for the 5-year-old son of Shazoom, who will be ridden by Cody McDaniel.
"He's been training well and is 100%," said Saucedo. "As a two-year-old, he qualified for four futurities. I hope he will run well on Saturday."
Other contenders in the Texas Twister include Comin Thru, who was honored as 2010 Horse of the Meet at Sam Houston Race Park. The five-year-old is trained by Sam Houston's top conditioner, Judd Kearl and owned by Mickey Tiner. Comin Thru won three stakes last summer, and was seventh in his first start of 2011, the $100,000 Bank of America Texas Challenge. Dynamic Sixes will step up to stakes company for trainer Bertie Sue Dutton. The seven-year-old is undefeated this meet and will be ridden by Jerry Lee Yoakum. Another capable runner is Fanatic for Speed, a six-year-old son of Feature Mr Jess, who has finished first or second in his last four starts for trainer Guy Hopkins.
Live racing resumes Friday, April 22 at 7:00 p.m. with nine races including four trials for the $18,000-added Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge. The ten fastest qualifiers will advance to the final on Saturday, May 7.
Jockey, Trainer and Owner Standings
Luis Vivanco has surged past previous leader David Alvarez to take command of the jockey standings with 29 wins from 122 starts. Vivanco, 28, was born in Vera Cruz, Mexico and has been riding for over a decade. Alvarez was sidelined for a week due to a steward's ruling, but remains second with 22 victories. Luis Ramirez follows closely with 14 victories and Jerry Lee Yoakum is next with 13 wins. Jose Alvarez rounds out the top five with 12 trips to the winner's circle.
Judd Kearl, is in pursuit of his fourth leading trainer title at Sam Houston and is the current leader with 14 wins. With the victory in the $600,000 Sam Houston Futurity, Kearl is the leading money earner with $359,883 in purses. Jorge Haddad, who is also having an excellent meet, is second with 12 victories. John Buchanan moved into third place with eight wins and Bobby Touchet is next with seven tallies. James Gerhards, Abel Morin, Juan Carlos Sauceda and Angel Sanchez are tied with six wins each.
In the owner standings, Haddad tops the standings with eight wins from 22 starters. Bobby Cox, Sherrie and JB Morace, Richard McGehee and A.D. Maddox are tied for second with five victories each.
Jess Tee Off is Third in AQHA Racing-Horseplayernow.com National Poll
Valiant War Hero is the leader in the season’s inaugural AQHA Racing-Horseplayernow.com national poll for two-year-olds. Mighty B Valiant, the Oklahoma-bred winner of Saturday night’s Remington Park Futurity is second and Jess Tee Off, winner of the $600,000 Sam Houston Futurity (G2), was voted third in the poll. A complete look at the two-year-old and three-year-old poll is available on www.aqha.com.
$200,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland this Saturday is the Final Prep for the Kentucky Derby
Just three weeks remain until the 137th Kentucky Derby and the consensus is this could be the most wide-open Run for the Roses in decades. Keeneland will host the Grade 2, $200,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes with a field of six. Trainer Steve Asmussen, who has won five leading trainer titles at Sam Houston Race Park, will saddle Silver Medallion in the 1 1/16 miles stakes. Should Silver Medallion win, he would have enough graded stakes earnings to start in the Kentucky Derby. Asmussen trains Nehro, who finished a game second in last weekend's Arkansas Derby, and is definitely heading to Churchill Downs.
Big Weekend at Sam Houston Race Park with Cody Canada & The Departed in Concert Friday, Eddie Money in Concert Saturday and a Special Easter Brunch on Sunday
Weekend nights will feature Live Quarter Horse Racing and a post race concert as part of the 2011 Verizon Wireless Concert Series on the Bud Light Stage. The performers include Cody Canada & The Departed this Friday, April 22; Eddie Money this Saturday, April 23; Mark McKinney on April 29; Tonic on April 30; Mickey & The MotorCars on May 6 and Brandon Rhyder on May 13. Ticket prices are $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the show.
Kentucky Derby and Mother's Day Festivities Set for May 7 - 8
The first Saturday of May will feature live racing coupled with the simulcast of the 137th Kentucky Derby with Mint Juleps, the annual Kentucky Derby Hat Contest with $500 to the winner and a special post time of 1:00 p.m. May 8th is Mother’s Day which marks the return of the extremely popular Wiener Dog Races, a special post time of 1:00 p.m. and brunch featuring $2 Bloody Marys and Mimosas. For more information on upcoming shows, events and tickets, please visit www.shrp.com.