Friday Through Sunday Live Racing Schedule with Five Stakes Set for This Weekend at Sam Houston Race Park

(Houston, Texas - Wednesday, May 9, 2012) - Sam Houston Race Park will run a special Friday through Sunday live racing schedule culminating with an afternoon card on Sunday, May 13. Sunday's program will be held in honor of Mother's Day with festivities to include free admission for all ladies, a gourmet brunch in the Winner's Circle Restaurant and $2 Bloody Marys and Mimosas.

Racing kicks off on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. and will include the final of the $42,300 Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge. Trials took place on April 26 and Allure Sr, a California-bred mare was the fastest qualifier. Owned by Gilberto Flores and trained by Janet VanBebber, the 4-year-old mare won her career debut convincinly, drawing off by 2 1/2 lengths in a final time of  17.714 seconds for 350 yards. Jockey David Alvarez was the winning rider in trials, but he has departed for Delta Downs, so Arturo Carillo will step aboard the gray mare, who has been installed as the 7-2 morning-line choice.

Second-fastest qualifier, Im Jess A Cowgirl crossed the wire in :17.779 and will be seeking her third consecutive victory on Friday evening for trainer Tara Smith. The 3-year-old filly is one of two finalists sired by Feature Mr Jess. Owner and trainer Jorge Haddad will saddle Im A Feature Girl, who recorded the fifth fastest time of :18.052. The Louisiana-bred filly has won two of her three starts and will be ridden by Santos Carrizales.

My First Timber lost a head bob to Im A Feature Girl in trials, but Judd Kearl, who trains the 3-year-old son of AQHA world champion Oak Tree Special, feels that his colt has a good chance.

"That was his first start since last August," said Kearl. "He ran a good race and just got nosed at the wire. We stood him in the gates this morning and he looked ready."

The Bank of America Maiden Challenge will be run as the ninth race of the card, with post time set at 10:28 p.m. (CT). 

The Saturday evening card will also get underway at 7:00 p.m. with three stakes scheduled: the $21,870 Pfizer Animal Health Texas Starter Challenge Allowance; the $15,645 Colors of Houston Futurity (G2) and the $13,710 Colors of Texas Paint Maturity (G2).

Painted Sable Leads Field for Sunday's $28,800 Merial Distaff Texas Challenge

Sam Houston Race Park's feature race on Sunday, the $28,800 Merial Distaff Texas Challenge will be fitting tribute to fillies and mares. The draw for the 400 yard stakes will take place on Thursday, May 10, but is expected to include Painted Sable, a daughter of Pyc Paint Your Wagon owned by Dr. Tommy Hays and Bobby Barnett. The 4-year-old filly, trained by Bobby Martinez, has won five of her 14 career starts and bankrolled $118,515. She was the fastest qualifier in the 2011 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge, but broke poorly and finished in a dead-heat for third. She will make her 2012 debut on Sunday.

"She's been doing really well," reports Martinez. "We have seen a pattern of her running great in trials and not coming back in the finals. No trials for this, so we think she'll be tough."

Last year, trainer Judd Kearl won the Merial Distaff with Ms Riptide, for owner/breeder James Cordell.

The winning mare will represent Texas in the $125,000 Merial Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) at Prairie Meadows on October 27.

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. In addition to the Mother's Day festivities this Sunday, Sam Houston will simulcast the 137th Preakness Stakes on May 19.

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.
Sam Houston Race Park will show their appreciation to fans with a special admission offer for the Roger Creager concert on Friday, May 18. All guests arriving before 9:00 p.m are entitled to FREE concert admission with six dollar live racing admission. The country music star will perform on the Bud Light Stage after the final race on Friday, May 18.

All guests arriving to the Park before 9:00 p.m. Friday, May 18 will enjoy the total entertainment experience with live racing, 50 Cent Beer and $1.50 Wine followed by a free Roger Creager performance all with a six dollar racing ticket! Guests arriving after 9:00 p.m. will pay the full concert price of $18.

The remaining 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

Jockey, Trainer and Owner Standings

Judd Kearl, who will win his fifth leading trainer title at Sam Houston Race Park on May 19, added three wins last week to top all conditioners with 31 wins from 107 starts. Kearl won the $50,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2) with Nowurtalkin, a talented Texas-bred who has now won eight of his 10 lifetime starts. Cindi Keeton continues to fire on all cylinders, winning six races over the weekend to solidify her second place position in the standings with 13 victories Jorge Haddad has saddled eight winners and has sole possession of third place. Cleto Martinez, Jr., Brian Stroud and Abel Morin are tied for third with seven wins each. 

Rodrigo Vallejo, who rides first call for Kearl, is the leading rider following seven weeks of live racing. Vallejo has won on 30 of his 100 mounts. Last year’s leading rider Luis Vivanco has ridden 172 horses and is currently second in the standings with 24 wins. Francisco Raul Ramirez, Jr., who has ridden with confidence for the Keeton barn, is third in the standings with 15 victories. Luis Ramirez follows with 14 wins and J.R. Ramirez rounds out the top five riders with 13 trips to the winner's circle.

With just two weeks remaining, the most competitive battle for meet ending honors belongs to the owners. A. D. Maddox has won six races in the meet, just edging Eleazar Martinez, Sr., who has five victories. Mickey Tiner, Sherrie Morace, Jorge Haddad, Gary Kurz, Filimon Saucedo, and Betty and Lynn Bettinger, Sr. are tied for third with four wins each. Bobby Cox, Jack Manning, Joe Kirk Fulton, and Jerry Windham each have three wins to date.

Judd Kearl Trains Fastest Qualifier for the Heritage Place Futurity

Remington Park in Oklahoma City hosted trials for the $1,115,000 Heritage Place Futurity (G1) last weekend and Sam Houston's leading trainer, Judd Kearl, has a speedy rising star, PYC Kant Katch Me. The Oklahoma-bred colt by PYC Paint Your Wagon blazed to victory in :17.382 seconds under Cody Jensen. The undefeated colt will be joined by two additional qualifiers from the Kearl barn: Sum Better Stuff and Valiant Lil Lady.

"He's probably the best horse I've ever trained," said Kearl, who divulged that the colt was purchased at the Ruidoso Sale for just $17,000.

Trainer Cindy Keeton and her husband, Toby also qualified three for the Heritage Place Futurity including Thequeenhasgonenuts, who ran second in the $487,000 Sam Houston Futurity; El Duero, who was bred by Jorge Haddad and Cc Seis. Houston racing fans will have an opportunity to watch and wager on the Heritage Place Futurity on Saturday, May 26.

For more information on opening days, post times and key stakes races, visit
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