Afternoon Live Racing Saturday, May 5 at Sam Houston Race Park Features the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2) and Simulcast of the Kentucky Derby

(Houston, Texas - Wednesday, May 2, 2012) - There will be no shortage of excitement this weekend at Sam Houston Race Park with live racing Thursday and Friday evening and a special afternoon live racing card coupled with Kentucky Derby festivities on Saturday, May 5.

In addition to the simulcast of the 138th Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs this Saturday, Sam Houston Race Park will present ten American Quarter Horse races beginning at a special post time of 1:00 p.m.

Saturday's feature, the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2), to be run at 440 yards, has attracted a stellar field of nine older horses.

Sam Houston Race Park's leading conditioner Judd Kearl won the 2010 Sam Houston Classic with Comin Thru. He has three capable entrants in this year's edition of the stakes. Nowurtalkin, a 4-year-old son of Heza Fast Dash, will make his United States debut after running impressively in Mexico. Owned by Jose Luis Salazar, the Texas-bred colt has a record of seven wins from nine starts, including four stakes victories. Rodrigo Vallejo has the mount and will break from post position two.

"I have only had him in my barn for 60 days," said Kearl. "He won the Mexico version of the Champion of Champions. So far, he seems to be doing well."

Kearl will also saddle Executive Prince who returns to action for the first time since running in the $373,000 Texas Classic Derby last November at Lone Star Park. Owned by Benny and Terri Jeter, Executive Prince has made three starts at 440 yards. Rider Francisco Calderon will pilot the 4-year-old son of Executive Menace. The third Kearl entrant is Ja Jess Perfect, bred and owned by Joe B. Allen, makes his third start of 2012. The 5-year-old son of Mr Jess Perry has two wins at Sam Houston and will be ridden by Jose Alvarez. 

Trainer Jorge Haddad, who won the 2011 edition of the race with The Louisiana Cartel, will saddle Giorgino, a 4-year-old son of Apollo. Giorgino was a game runner-up in the $100,620 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship (G1) on April 14.  Haddad bred, owns and trains the sorrel colt, who has won two of his three starts over the Sam Houston racing surface and is closing in on $300,000 in career earnings.

"He really needed that race," said Haddad. "We were pleased with him running second as he got bumped, but finished well. He's a very sound horse, so we are looking forward to a good effort from him."

While trainer Heath Taylor has only run six horses in 2012 at Sam Houston Race Park, he has a solid history in the Sam Houston Classic, with four wins, including consecutive victories with Diamond Tres Seis in 2008 and 2009. Taylor will ship in First Klas Fred, a son of Fredricksburg owned and bred by James and Marilyn Helzer. The highest earner in the field with $538,443, First Klas Fred ran third in the 2010 Rainbow Derby and will break from the outside post position under jockey Luis Vivanco. 

Other significant contenders include Shineys Magic T, winner of the $15,000 Ricoh Stakes for the father-son team of Jesse and Jerry Lee Yoakum and Charal Kid is a multiple-stakes winner who has bankrolled $345,819 for Malinche Cattle Company and trainer Eusevio Huitron.

The Sam Houston Classic, will be run as the eighth race of the card, with post time set at 4:02 p.m. (CT). 

The Saturday afternoon card will also feature three trials for the $112,950 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge. Charmin Chief Corona, the impressive winner of the $180,900 Sam Houston Derby (G3) here on April 13 returns to action for her owner and breeder, Gary Kurz. The chestnut filly is trained by Cindi Keeton and will break from post position five in the fifth race, the first of the three trials.  

The final for the top ten qualifiers will take place on Saturday, May 19 with the winner earning a berth in the $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G1) at Prairie Meadows on October 27.

Kentucky Derby at Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park will simulcast the entire card from Churchill Downs on Saturday, culminating with the running of the 138th Kentucky Derby. Advance wagering will be available on Friday, May 4 and Sam Houston Race Park will offer "Kentucky Derby Early Bird Wagering" on Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5 from 7:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. at the Valet Parking Circle. Fans can enjoy Mint Juleps and enter the annual Kentucky Derby Hat Contest.  Judging will take place at 3:00 p.m. and $500 will be awarded to the winner; $200 for second place and $100 for third.

The events are as follows:
9:00 a.m.        Gates Open
9:30 a.m.        1st Post from Churchill Downs
11:30 a.m.      Winner’s Circle Buffet Opens
12:00 p.m.      Hat Contest Registration Begins
1:00 p.m.        Live Quarter Horse Racing
3:00 p.m.        $500 Hat Contest Judging Begins
4:02 p.m.        $50,000 Sam Houston Classic
5:24 p.m.        Watch & Wager 138th Kentucky Derby Race

Promotions and Concert Series Set at Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park will offer a variety of promotions in the final days of the 2012 Quarter Horse Meet. Every Thursday features free admission for all racing fans, a special Sunday live racing program will be held in honor of Mother's Day on May 13 and live racing  will be coupled with the simulcast of the 137th Preakness Stakes on May 19.

Mother's Day, Sunday, May 13, at Sam Houston Race Park will offer free admission for all ladies and will host a special post time of 1:00 p.m. The Winner's Circle Restaurant will prepare a gourmet brunch featuring $2 Bloody Marys and Mimosas.

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, May 12 - Bob Schneider
Friday, May 18 - Roger Creager with The Jeff Bootz Band
Saturday, May 19 - 38 Special with Blackberry Smoke & Folk Family Revival

Trials for the $140,400 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge Set for Thursday Evening

Sam Houston Race Park will host nine trials for the $140,400 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge on Thursday, May 3. The purse for the regional challenge is up from $88,740 in 2011 and there will be no shortage of talented juveniles on the racetrack. Eusevio Huitron will saddle nine 2-year-olds, beginning with Secret Fury in the first trial. Trainer Judd Kearl is another horseman to watch with four horses set to compete and Jorge Haddad, Guy Hopkins, Leon Bard, Janet VanBebber  and John Boegner all have multiple entrants in the trials.

The top ten qualifiers will return to action on Saturday, May 19 for their share of the $140,400 purse and the opportunity to represent Texas in the $150,000 John Deere Racing Challenge Juvenile Championship (G2) at Prairie Meadows on October 27.

Jockey, Trainer and Owner Standings

Judd Kearl, who has four leading trainer titles at Sam Houston, continues to build an insurmountable lead in the standings. He added four wins last week to top all conditioners with 28 wins from 89 starts. Cindi Keeton is in second place with seven wins. Eusevio Huitron, Michael Wakefield, Yasmine Fierro, Abel Morin, Jorge Haddad and Cleto Martinez, Jr are tied for third with six wins each. 

Rodrigo Vallejo, who rides first call for Kearl, is the leading rider following seven weeks of live racing. Vallejo has won on 27 of his 87 mounts. Last year's leading rider, Luis Vivanco, has ridden 145 horses and is currently second in the standings with 22 wins. J.R. Ramirez moved into third place with 13 victories and Francisco Raul Ramirez, Jr. follows closely with 12 wins. Luis Ramirez rounds out the top five riders with 10 trips to the winner's circle.

The most competitive battle for meet ending honors belongs to the owners. Eleazar Martinez, Sr. remains in sole possession of the lead with five wins. A. D. Maddox, J.B. and Sherrie Morace, Filimon Saucedo and Betty and Lynn Bettinger, Sr. are tied for second with four victories. Bobby Cox, Jack Manning, Gary Kurz, Mickey Tiner and Jorge Haddad each have three wins to date.

Q-Racing Aces Martha Claussen and Ryan Sherman Onsite Saturday

Sam Houston Race Park invites racing fans to meet Quarter Horse experts Martha Claussen and Ryan Sherman on May 5. They will be trackside Saturday afternoon in conjunction with the Q-Racing Aces, a touring fan education program initiated by the American Quarter Horse Association in 2010.

Both will be available to provide an introduction to American Quarter Horse Racing and will give fans a complimentary $2.00 wagering voucher as well as informative handicapping materials, courtesy of the AQHA.
back to THBPA Infomation