Special Afternoon Post Time on Saturday, May 7 Features the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2) and $43,000 Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge at Sam Houston Race Park

(Houston, Texas - Wednesday, May 4, 2011) - There will be no shortage of excitement this weekend at Sam Houston Race Park with live racing and a concert Friday night, the Kentucky Derby festivities on Saturday and a special Mother's Day afternoon race card on Sunday.

In addition to the simulcast of the 137th Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs this Saturday, Sam Houston Race Park will present eleven American Quarter Horse races beginning at a special post time of 1:00 p.m.

Two stakes will highlight the live race card and both the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2) and 43,400 Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge have exceptional fields.

The Sam Houston Classic offers a rematch of the top two finishers in the $100,260 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship (G2). The Louisiana Cartel, a 4-year-old son of Corona Cartel owned and trained by Jorge Haddad won the March 2 stakes. Acorn, in just his first attempt at 440-yards, ran second. Both will be joined by eight capable runners in the Sam Houston Classic, which will be run in advance of the Kentucky Derby.

The Louisiana Cartel recorded a career high speed index of 105 in the Bank of America Texas Challenge, crossing the wire in :21.357, just two-hundredths of a second off the track record. He has won both of his starts this meet at
Sam Houston Race Park and regular rider, David Alvarez has the return call on Saturday.

Acorn is owned by Rose Mary Chandler and trained by Janet VanBebber. The four-year-old son of Oak Tree Special has run extremely well at Sam Houston, winning four of his seven starts, including the 2010 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge. He will break from the rail under jockey Alfonso Lujan and VanBebber reports that her charge is doing well.

“We'll ship him over on Friday,” said VanBebber. “I have confidence in the horse and know that he likes the Sam Houston surface. He certainly will face formidable competition."

Other rivals of merit include Stones Puede, winner of the $152,800 Sam Houston Derby on April 9 for trainer Yasmine Medina-Fierro; Charal Kid, who has bankrolled $286,000 for Malinche Cattle Company and trainer Eusevio Huitron and Ms Riptide, a four-year-old mare owned and bred by James Cordell, who won the $30,015 Merial Texas Distaff Challenge on April 2 for trainer Judd Kearl.

Jakes Charming Jody Attempting to Keep Win Streak Alive in the $43,400 Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge

In the second stakes on Saturday afternoon, Jakes Charming Jody, the talented three-year-old daughter of Jody O Toole, returns to action seeking her fourht victory of 2011. She has racked up three wins, including a victory on March 26 in the $80,000 Sam Houston Maiden Classic. On Saturday afternoon, Jakes Charming Jody returns to action in the $43,400 Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge.

Owned and bred by Gary Kurz, Jakes Charming Jody was the fastest qualifier in trials run on Friday, April 22, clocking 350 yards in :17.735 . Trained by Jorge Haddad, the sorrel filly will be ridden by David Alvarez and drew post position seven, which will be run as the ninth race of the May 7 card with an approximate post time of 4:32 p.m.

Other qualifiers include The Hot List, trained by Yasmine Medina-Fierro, who was the second fastest qualifier. The three-year-old Streakin La Jolla colt will be in pursuit of his third consecutive win this meet under rider Juan Linares.

Haddad, who is the leading owner and second to Judd Kearl in the training standings, has two other starters in the Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge, Perfection, with Alfonso Lujan aboard and Ms Tnt, who will be ridden by Luis Vivanco are also part of the contentious 350-yard final.

Pandorum Wows in Debut as Fastest Qualifier in Trials for the $88,740 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge

Last Friday, April 29, Sam Houston hosted 11 trials for the $88,740 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge. The 11th and final trial of the evening showcased the talent of first-time starter Pandorum, who exploded to a 2 1/4 length victory in a time of :17.688. The Tres Seis filly, bred and owned by Joe Kirk Fulton, is trained by Lewis "Tooter" Jordan.

Jose Alvarez, who qualified three for Fulton and Jordan, will probably not have too difficult of a decision in his mount for the finals of the $88,740 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge which are set for Saturday, May 14.

Jordan expected a good showing from the first-time starter, Pandorum, but her performance exceeded his expectations.

"I went to Mr. Fulton's ranch last year to look at the yearlings and this filly really stood out to me," said Jordan. "We knew she had talent, but when you are watching them work at 220 yards, you don't know she would be that good. She has a kick at the end that will take her anywhere she wants to go."

The top ten qualifiers will return to action on Saturday, May 14 for their share of the $88,740 purse and the opportunity to represent the region in the $150,000 John Deere Racing Challenge Juvenile Championship (G2) at Los Alamitos Race Course on October 29.

TQHA Yearling Sale Set for July 29-30 in San Antonio

The 2011 TQHA Yearling Sale, which has traditionally been held in Houston, will take place July 29 and 30th in San Antonio in the Exposition Hall at The Freeman. The facility is convenient to the San Antonio airport and is approximately 15 minutes away from Retama Park, which will run the $400,000 TQHA Sale Futurity (RG2) on Saturday, July 30. All horses must be accredited Texas-Bred racing stock and the consigner must be a current TQHA Member. All yearlings that pass through the sale ring will be eligible for the $100,000-added TQHA Sale Futurity (RG2). For more information or for consignment forms, visit tqha.com.

Jockey, Trainer and Owner Standings

Luis Vivanco has surged past previous leader David Alvarez to take command of the jockey standings with 39 wins from 175 starts. Vivanco was aboard Shake Em Special Pop as he captured the 550-yard Ikon Stakes last Saturday. Alvarez won six races last week and remains second with 32 victories. Luis Ramirez is third in the standings with 23 wins and Jose Alvarez follows closely with 22 victories. Rider Santos Carrizales rounds out the top five with 15 trips to the winner's circle.

Judd Kearl, did not win a race last week, but remains the leader in the training standings with 17 wins. With the victory in the $600,000 Sam Houston Futurity, Kearl is the leading money earner with $401,605 in purses. Jorge Haddad, who is also having an excellent meet, is second with 13 victories. Abel Morin moved into third place with 11 wins. Angel Sanchez has nine victories and John Buchanan, Bobby Touchet and Juan Carlos Saucedo each have saddled eight winners.

In the owner standings, Haddad tops the standings with nine wins from 28 starters. Sherrie and JB Morace, leading owners from 2010, remain in second place with 7 victories and Bobby Cox, Filimon Saucedo, Richard McGehee and A.D. Maddox are tied for third with five wins each.

Micky & the MotorCars in Concert This Weekend

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 Micky & 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 Festivities Set for Saturday, May 7

The first Saturday of May will feature live racing coupled with the simulcast of the 137th Kentucky Derby with advance wagering available on Friday, May 6, In addition, Sam Houston Race Park will offer "Kentucky Derby Early Bird Wagering" on Friday, May 6th and Saturday, May 7th from 7:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. at the Valet Parking Circle. Mint Juleps and the annual Kentucky Derby Hat Contest will be especially visual this year, with the Royal Wedding offering much inspiration to contestants of all ages. Judging will take place and $500 will be awarded to the winner; $200 for second place and $50 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 Racing Begins
3:00 p.m. $500 Hat Contest Judging Begins
4:35 p.m. $43,400 Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge
5:05 p.m. $50,000 Sam Houston Classic
5:24 p.m. Watch & Wager 137th Kentucky Derby Race

Special Afternoon Post on Sunday, May 8 for Mother's Day

Live racing, Mother’s Day brunch and the return of the extremely popular Wiener Dog Races are on tap for Sunday, May 8 at Sam Houston Race Park. A special post time of 1:00 p.m. has been set and brunch featuring $2 Bloody Marys and Mimosas, will be served. For more information on upcoming shows, events and tickets, please visit www.shrp.com.

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