AQHA World Champion Jrc Callas First Entered in the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic on Saturday With Special Events Throughout the Weekend at Sam Houston Race Park

(Houston, Texas - Wednesday, May 6, 2015) - Sam Houston Race Park hosts its final two weekends of live American Quarter Horse racing with a multitude of special events and stakes action, beginning on Thursday night.

Friday night's action, which begins at 7:00 p.m., features the return of the popular food trucks. Fan will be able to enjoy delectable fare from a variety of vendors, including Custom Confections, Koagie, Bernies Burger Bus, Happy Endings Asian Fushion and Bonjour Creperie.

Saturday's first race begins at 6:00 p.m., with two stakes races, the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2) and $25,000 Governors Cup Marathon. The family-friendly second Derby Dog Dash will take place between races. Small family dogs will star in these family fun race that will have a mix breed winner for $200, and a fan favorite Weiner Dog winner for $200! The Casey Donahew Band will take to the Bud Light Stage following live racing.

Finally, on Sunday, May 11, Sam Houston Race Park will host a special 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.

Jrc Callas First Headlines the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2)

Saturday's feature, the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2), to be run at 440 yards, looks to be one of the most competitive since its first running in 1994.

Jrc Callas First, named 2014 AQHA World Champion, returns to Sam Houston Race Park, where his stakes-winning streak began last year. The five-year-old son of Winners Award has been the pride and joy of Dana and Brian Stroud, who purchased the Texas-bred in October, 2013. Under regular rider Damian Martinez, Jrc Callas First won eight of his 10 races last year, earning him the prestigious honor of AQHA Champion Aged Gelding, Aged Horse and World Champion. He will break from post position eight as the 3-1 morning line favorite.

"The horse doesn't believe he can be beat," explained trainer Brian Stroud. "But, he had some minor surgery to remove a chip from his right knee, and this will be his first start back. We swam him, and he's just been training for less than a month."

Stroud is hoping he will run a good race on Saturday as they have accepted an invitation to compete in the $250,000 Remington Park Invitational (G1) on May 29.

Jerry Windham's homebred Mr Big will also be making his first start of the year off an impressive three-year-old campaign in which he won five of his eight efforts. Leon Bard will saddle the son of Shazoom, who will be ridden by Jose Alvarez.

Trainer Bobby Martinez has two entrants in the Sam Houston Classic: #2 Big Dashing Perry and #4 Mon Ti Dash. Both are established stakes runners and competed in the 2014 All American Derby (G1) at Ruidoso Downs, finishing fourth and fifth.

Martinez won the 2013 edition of the stakes with Runaway Wagon for owners Tommy Hays and Bobby J. Barnett, and has confidence in his duo.

"Both my horses are training well and look ready for Saturday night," said Martinez. "Now all we have to do is beat the world champion!"

The Sam Houston Classic will be run as the eighth race of the card. Notable past champions include. Kool Kue Baby, AQHA World Champion Tailor Fit, Streakin Sin Tacha and The Louisiana Cartel.

Fire on The Fly To Defend His Title in the $25,000 Governors' Cup Marathon

Intrepid distance specialist Fire on the Fly won the $25,000 Governors' Cup Marathon one year ago and will attempt to repeat in Saturday night's 870-yard stakes.

The Bullard Farms homebred will be making his 2015 debut under rider Damian Martinez. Trainer Tommy Bullard conditions the five-year-old son of Jet Cartel, who has won five of his nine starts at 870 yards. He drew post position four and will have his toughest competition in the next gate in Dashers Midnight, who was an impressive winner of last month's $25,390 Zoetis Texas Distance Challenge here.

Santos Carrizales has the return call on the eight-year-old son of Some Dasher, who is trained by James Gerhards for owner/breeders Joe and Elaine McAnally. Dashers Midnight was installed as the 2-1 choice in the Governors' Cup. He has earned $167,003 and rarely misses a check at Sam Houston. EC Cartel, owned by Alejandra Carrion, and The Field Cricket are two other able distance specialist entered in the seven-horse field, which will run as the seventh race on the card.

Kentucky Derby Hat Contest Winners

Sam Houston Race Park welcomed a festive crowd on Saturday, May 2 for the simulcast of the 141st Kentucky Derby. The annual Kentucky Derby Hat Contest attracted 68 contestants showcasing a range of creative designs. The celebrity judges had the difficult choice of selecting the winner, but chose the three-dimensional design with roses and a horse, created by Ariel Phillips. She was awarded $500, with Sara Lee earning $250 as the runner-up, and Shelley Gross earning $100 for third-place.

The Casey Donahew Band Performs Saturday, May 9 in the Spring Concert Series at Sam Houston Race Park

The 2015 American Quarter Horse Meet features the entertaining Post Race Concert Series on the Bud Light stage, most Saturdays through May 16. These live performances are free with $7 live racing admission before 8:00 p.m., and $20 after 8:00 p.m. The following performers will follow the last of the live Quarter Horse races for the two remaining concerts.

May 9 - The Casey Donahew Band
May 16 - Cody Johnson * - Special Concert on Preakness Day
Also featuring Cory Morrow and Gary P. Nunn
(*This concert will start at 6pm.)

Tickets are available online at, at participating Houston-area Randall’s locations, or by calling 800-211-3381.

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