||Simulcast of the 142nd Kentucky Derby and Exciting Live Quarter Horse Racing Set For This Weekend at Sam Houston Race Park
(Houston, Texas - Thursday, May 5, 2016) -
Sam Houston Race Park will present an action-packed weekend of live racing and the always thrilling simulcast of the 142nd Running of the Kentucky Derby. Live racing resumes on Friday, May 6 at 7:00 p.m., with the popular 50 cent Beer Friday from 6:00-9:00 p.m. On Friday, racing fans will be able to enjoy the running of the Grade 1, $1 million Kentucky Oaks from Churchill Downs, as well as place advance wagers on Saturday's Kentucky Derby card.
To coincide with the Kentucky Derby, Sam Houston Race Park will host a special 1:00 p.m. afternoon live racing program on Saturday, May 7, which will include two stakes, the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2) and the $25,000 Governors' Cup Marathon.
Finally, on Sunday, May 8, Sam Houston Race Park will offer a special live racing program in honor of Mother's Day. First post is 1:00 p.m. with a sumptuous Mother's Day Brunch offered in the Winner's Circle Restaurant.
Festivities Set for the 142nd Kentucky Derby Simulcast at Sam Houston Race Park
Sam Houston Race Park invites Houstonians to celebrate the heritage, fashion and excitement of racing's most prestigious day with the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7. The day-long sporting and social event will include live Quarter Horse racing, simulcast of the entire race card from Churchill Downs, a Kentucky Derby Hat Contest, traditional Mint Juleps, and Derby merchandise!
Dubbed "the most exciting two minutes in sports", this year's edition of the Kentucky Derby is shaping up to be a very competitive event. With the fourth year of the point system in place to determine qualifying positions, Gun Runner, trained by Steve Asmussen, tops the standings with 151 points. Asmussen, who has won the Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred training title eight times, also will saddle Arkansas Derby victor, Creator. Other Thoroughbreds receiving attention include Nyquist from the barn of Doug O'Nelll; Exxagerator, trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by his brother, Kent; and Mo Tom, trained by Tom Amoss, who won two turf stakes in the 2016 Thoroughbred meet at Sam Houston Race Park.
Patrons will have an opportunity to enjoy all the Kentucky Derby festivities as well as 11 live American Quarter Horse races.
Fans of all ages are encouraged to wear their favorite Kentucky Derby hat and register for the Kentucky Derby Hat contest beginning at 11:30 a.m. Judging will take place following the fourth live race (approximately 2:30 p.m.). The panel of celebrity judges will award prizes to the top three patrons with a $500 first prize to the winner!
The schedule of events is as follows:
9:00 a.m. Gates Open
9:30 a.m. First race from Churchill Downs
11:00 a.m. Buffet Opens
11:30 a.m. Hat Contest Registration Begins
1:05 p.m. First Live Sam Houston Race
2:30 p.m. Kentucky Derby Hat Contest Judging
5:34 p.m. Running of the 142nd Kentucky Derby
For those unable to be a part of the festivities on Saturday, Sam Houston Race Park will offer advance wagering on Friday, May 6 from 9:00 a.m. until closing. Fans can also take advantage of "Kentucky Derby Early Bird Wagering" where they can place a bet by driving to the valet parking circle from 7:30 - 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.
For more information, call 281-807-8760 or visit www.shrp.com.
Strong Field Assembled for the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2)
Saturday's ninth race, the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2), to be run at 440 yards, has attracted a very competitive field of eight.
Ted G. Abrams, Sr.'s homebred Jessies First Down, a five-year-old son of Fdd Dynasty, returns to Sam Houston for his third start of the season. Trained by Judd Kearl, the bay gelding was the fastest qualifier in trials to the $107,730 Bank of America Texas Challenge Championship (G2), before running a game second to Jrc Callas First in the April 16 final. Jockey Rodrigo Vallejo will ride, breaking from post position six at odds of 7-2. Kearl and Vallejo have won two previous editions of the stakes, scoring with Comin Thru in 2010 and Nowurtalkin two years later.
Trainer Bobby Martinez has only had Dashin For a Prize in his barn for 30 days. Owned by Oscar Moreno, the son of Heza Fast Dash has earned $274,180 and exits a stakes win at Remington Park on March 19 in the 550-yard SLM Big Daddy.
Martinez won the 2013 Sam Houston Classic with Runaway Wagon for owners Tommy Hays and Bobby J. Barnett, and reports the Louisiana-bred Dashin for a Prize is prepping well for Saturday's feature.
"He's a nice horse," said Martinez. "If he gets away good, we'll have a shot."
Another contender is Terrazas Family homebred Jumpn Streak, winner of the Adequan Texas Challenge here last May. Trained by Josue Ponce, the four-year-old son of Jumpn ran third in the $200,000 Adequan Challenge Championship at Lone Star Park. He already has a stakes win this year, triumphing in the $25,000 Streakin La Jolla Stakes on March 16 at Louisiana Downs.
"He ran a big race in the Streakin La Jolla," said Ponce, who celebrated his 21t birthday last Saturday with a win in the $15,000 Texas Twister. "To run third in the (Adequan) Derby was great, and he didn't miss a step in his first start as a four-year-old."
Jess Toast Winner, bred and owned by Maria Guadalupe Araiza, brings a two-race win streak from Retama Park last summer. Luis Vivanco has the call. Poker Chip 831, who ran fourth in the Bank of America Challenge, breaks from the rail under Jerry Lee Yoakum.
The Sam Houston Classic has produced some very notable past champions since its first running in 1994. Past winners include Kool Kue Baby, AQHA World Champion Tailor Fit, Streakin Sin Tacha and The Louisiana Cartel, who won in 2011. He stands stud in Texas for Jorge Haddad and has produced two outstanding crops to date.
The Field Cricket Draws Good Post in the $25,000 Governors' Cup Marathon
The $25,000 Governors' Cup Marathon at 870 yards, will be the first stakes run on the Derby day card.
Last year, The Field Cricket ran second to Fire on the Fly, but in drawing the two hole, could turn things around. Owned by Claud R. Denson, the eight-year-old Texas-bred has won 10 of his 42 career starts. Trained by Jesse Yoakum, The Field Cricket will be ridden by his son, Jerry Lee. Both men were very relieved by the good draw, as last year, they drew outside posts for each of their 870 starts.
"We finally got a good post," said Jesse Yoakum. "He needs a race, but he'll be alright."
Drawing the rail is Ty Remington's Jess Twice Cash. This will be the first start at Sam Houston for the six-year-old son of Jess Louisiana Blue, who ran fourth in the 2015 Zoetis Distance Challenge Championship. Remington also trains Jess Twice Cash, who will van in on Wednesday.
"He loves the hook, and always runs well from the inside," said Remington. "We sent him to Hialeah Park for what was supposed to be a four-race distance series, but only ended up with one. He's doing great,and we look forward to coming to Houston."
Dashers Midnight, was an impressive winner of the 2015 Zoetis Texas Distance Challenge here, and will break from post position three under Donald Guynes. The nine-year-old son of Some Dasher is trained by James Gerhards for owner/breeders Joe and Elaine McAnally. EC Cartel, owned by Alejandra Carrion and trained by Judd Kearl, is another experienced distance specialist in the entered in the eight-horse field, which will run as the eighth race on the card.
Sam Houston Race Park to Support Fundraiser for the PDJF
Sam Houston Race Park will join the Kentucky Derby Day fundraising campaign to be held on Saturday, May 7, 2015 at 25 tracks and racing venues across the U.S. to raise funds for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF).
Each participating track will hold a silent auction of framed, autographed photographs of Secretariat (signed by jockey Ron Turcotte), American Pharoah (signed by jockey Victor Espinoza), American Pharoah winning the Kentucky Derby (signed by trainer Bob Baffert), and a collage of American Pharoah's Triple Crown victories (signed by trainer Bob Baffert). Fans will also have a chance to bid on saddle towel RunHappy wore at Sam Houston Race Park earlier this season (signed by jockey Edgar Prado).
Proceeds from the collaborative effort by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations (TRA), PDJF, JockeyTalk360, and the Jockeys' Guild will provide aid for permanently disabled jockeys' health care and living expenses.
TRA-member tracks participating include: Belmont Park, Churchill Downs, Delaware Park, Finger Lakes, Gulfstream Park, Harrah's Louisiana Downs, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, Parx Racing, Pimlico, Portland Meadows, Prairie Meadows, Remington Park, Sam Houston Race Park, Santa Anita Park, Tampa Bay Downs, and Turfway Park.
Judd Kearl and Rodrigo Vallejo Remain on Top at Sam Houston Race Park
Trainer Judd Kearl continues to lead in the trainer standings for the 2016 Sam Houston Quarter Horse meet with 27 wins. He won his first Sam Houston leading trainer title in 2006 and is poised to clinch his seventh when the meet wraps on May 16. Angel Sanchez, who was the top conditioner here for the past two years, is second with 17 wins. Leon Bard follows with 14 wins, and Brian Stroud is fourth with 9 victories.
Kearl's first call rider, Rodrigo Vallejo, is the leading jockey with 24 wins following the first six weeks of the racing season. Francisco Calderon and Luis Vivanco are battling it out for second in the standings with 22 wins each. Luis Ramirez rounds out the top four with 10 trips to the winner's circle.
Pete A. Scarmardo is the leader in the owner standings with seven wins, including a victory in Saturday's $26,100 Merial Texas Distaff Challenge with Time for Wine. Jorge Haddad is second with five wins. John Boegner remains in third place with four wins this meet.
Roger Creager Wraps up the Q Morning Zoo Concert Series at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday, May 14
The entertaining 2016 Post Race Concert Series on the Bud Light stage concludes on May 14 with Roger Creager. The concert is FREE with $7 live racing admission before 8:00 p.m., and $20 after 8:00 p.m. at the gate. Save $6 (just $14) on after 8:00 p.m. admission by purchasing tickets online in advance at shrp.com.