|Five Stakes to Be Contested in the Final Four Days of the 2014 Quarter Horse Racing Season at Sam Houston Race Park
(Houston, Texas - Wednesday, May 7, 2014) - The 2014 Quarter Horse meet at Sam Houston Race Park concludes on Sunday, May 11. A four-day racing weekend will take place with live racing set for Thursday and Friday at 7:00 p.m., Saturday at 6:00 p.m., and a special 1:00 p.m. post time on Sunday, May 11 in honor of Mother's Day.
Five stakes races will be contested with the $33,480 Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge as well as the $18,460 Colors of Texas Maturity (G2) and $17,200 Colors of Houston Futurity (G2) carded for Saturday evening. Racing fans can stay after the races and enjoy Cody Johnson in concert on the Bud Light Stage.
Sunday's closing card will feature the finals of the $58,860 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge and the $68,490 John Deere TX Juvenile Challenge. Sam Houston Race Park will also honor the owner, trainer and jockey of the meet on the Sunday afternoon racing program.
Successful Kentucky Derby Day at Sam Houston Race Park
Sam Houston Race Park reported increases in attendance and handle for its simulcast of the 140th Kentucky Derby last Saturday. A total of 12,102 racing fans were in attendance compared to 11,023 in 2013. In addition to the almost 10% increase in attendance, officials noted a 7.5% boost in all handle for live racing, and the Churchill Downs card including the Kentucky Derby.
Saturday's festivities included Mint Juleps, live Quarter Horse racing and the simulcast of the entire card from Churchill Downs. The $500 Kentucky Derby Hat Contest continues to grow and be a top fan attraction. This year 66 contestants donned their hats for the competition, delighting the standing-room only audience club level of the grandstand.
Contest first-timer, Ariel Phillips took the top prize of $500 for her winning hat which embodied many themes of racing's marquee event.
"I was very motivated to be creative," admitted Phillips, who happily accepted her $500 first prize.
Allison Wilson earned $250 for her second-place showing and Sheree LeBlanc edged out the remaining finalists for third, winning $150.
Eye Agree Leads the Field in the $33,480 Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge on Saturday Night
Trials were run on April 24 to determine the ten finalists for Saturday's $33,480 Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge.
Eye Agree, a daughter of Mr Eye Opener, ran a career best to break her maiden and set the fastest qualifying time of :17.904 seconds for 350 yards.
L.R. "Tooter" Jordan trains the filly for Mark E. Rigby, DVM, and has given jockey Santos Carrizales the return call in Saturday's final, which will run as the ninth race of the evening.
"She's a great filly; just a bit of a late bloomer," said Jordan. "Her mama was a three-year-old champion. Dr. Rigby is a gem to train for. He told me to run her where I wanted, and she showed her talent."
Michael Amburn’s Pyc Paint Your Wagon gelding, Paintedinoil posted the second-fastest qualifying time under Jose Alvarez. Trained by Guy Hopkins, the three-year-old was clocked in :17.978. Hopkins will also saddle ninth-fastest qualifier Tinalicious, a Shazoom filly, who will be ridden by Juan Francisco Garcia, Jr.
"Paintedinoil drew another inside post for Saturday, so he is used to breaking from there," said Hopkins. "Both he and the filly have been training well; it's nice to have two chances in the final."
John Deere Juvenile and Adequan Derby Challenge Finalists to Return on Sunday, May 11
Seven trials on Thursday, April 17 were contested for the $68,490 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge. Red Corona Warrior was impressive in his debut, under jockey Saul Ramirez, Jr., then drew away from the field to post the top qualifying mark of :17.850 seconds. Trained by Yasmine Fierro, the Terrazas Family homebred won the first 350-yard trial and will return on Sunday afternoon to face nine rivals in the final.
Hopkins has another duo qualified for the John Deere: second-fastest qualifier Freakn Runaway for Michael Amburn and Corona Blast, a filly owned by Pete Scarmardo, who ran her trial in :18.270 to clinch the tenth spot.
The top two-year-old will advance to the $150,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship on October 18 at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa.
Db Captain King posted the fastest qualifying time of 19.851 seconds in trials on Friday evening for the $58,860 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge at the distance of 400 yards. The gelded son of Captain Courage, bred and owned by Dude Briggs was ridden by Santos Carrizales and prevailed in the second trial over Pruittized. Trained by Tooter Jordan, Db Captain King broke his maiden at Sam Houston Race Park last April, before shipping to Ruidoso Downs to compete in trials for the Rainbow Futurity.
Pursuit of Duty, a gelded son of One Famous Eagle, owned by James C. Addkison and James A. Gerhards and trained by Gerhards, posted the second-fastest time of 19.912. Raising Kain was the third-fastest qualifier, covering 400 yards in :19.962 for owner Pete Scarmardo and trainer Leon Bard.
The winner will secure a berth to the $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship, also set for October 18 at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa.
The draws for both the John Deere Juvenile and Adequan Texas Derby will take place on Thursday, May 8.
Competitive Battles for Owner, Trainer and Jockey Titles
The leading owner, trainer and jockey titles will be decided on Sunday, May 11. Heading into the final weekend, Angel Sanchez has the lead in the trainer standings with 14 wins over Trey Wood (11); Mike Robbins (8) and James Gerhards and Guy Hopkins (tied with 7).
Jockey Luis Vivanco, who earned his second leading Sam Houston Race Park riding title last year, is on target to make it three in a row. He has won 24 races to lead Ricardo Aguirre (17); Santos Carrizales and Damian Martinez (tied with 14) and Francisco Calderon and Jose Alvarez (tied with 13).
The battle for owner of the meet will likely go down to the final day as a multitude of horsemen have three and four wins. A. D. Maddox, who has won the leading owner title in 2005, 2009 and 2012, is tied with John Boegner with four wins each with four days remaining.
Cody Johnson Closes Out Concert Series at Sam Houston Race Park
The 2014 American Quarter Horse Meet has featured an entertaining post-race concert series on Friday and Saturday nights, with an exceptional lineup of artists. The concert series will be FREE for all guests that purchase $7 general admission tickets to live racing before 8:00 p.m. Admission will be $20 for guests arriving after 8:00 p.m.
The 2014 Concert Series at Sam Houston Race Park will conclude on Saturday, May 10 with Cody Johnson. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis. While at Sam Houston Race Park racing and music fans can take advantage of the Winner’s Circle Restaurant with packages starting at $28.00 including admission before 8:00 p.m., and Chophouse Buffet.