||Three Stakes Set for the Final Weekend of The 2016 Quarter Horse Meet at Sam Houston Race Park
(Houston, Texas - Wednesday, May 11, 2016) -
The 2016 Sam Houston Race Park live Quarter Horse racing season will conclude on Monday, May 16. The final three days of the meet are filled with entertaining promotions and three stakes races.
Food Truck Friday returns on May 13, with the popular 50 cent Beer Friday from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Fans can choose from a variety of offerings served by Cupcake and a Smile, Happy Endings Asian Fusion, Friohana Shave Ice, Skratch Food Truck, Pho-jita Fusion, Cousins Maine Lobster, Los Tacos Hermanos, Truck on the Bayou and Nom Mi Street. Stakes action includes the $30,597 Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge.
On Saturday, May 14, live racing gets underway at 6:00 p.m. with two stakes, the $69,390 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge (G3) and the $44,460 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge. Following the conclusion of live racing on Saturday evening, popular Texas recording artist Roger Creager will perform on the Bud Light Stage.
Moe Lassus Tops Qualifiers for the $30,597 Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge
Two trials for the $30,597 Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge were contested April 29 at Sam Houston Race Park, and Moe Lassus topped the qualifiers, covering 350 yards in :17.904 seconds.
It was the first win for the three-year-old son of Favorite Cartel, owned by J. J. Racing and trained by Judd Kearl. Jockey Noe Villatoro piloted the bay gelding to his maiden-breaking victory, following four starts earlier this year at Hialeah Park. Foaled on May 2, Kearl did not rush the bay gelding into early competition. He did not even make a start until December 28, 2015 at Hialeah Park. He improved in each of his four starts at the south Florida racetrack and showed he was in form in his trial win. Moe Lassus, installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite, ran third in the $25,000 South Florida Invitational on February 27. His trainer believes he is ready for his first stakes win.
"He ran a good race and came back fine," said Kearl. "Noe has done well on the horse; he'll ride him back in the final."
His top rivals include Sixes Sola, a Mr Jess Perry filly owned by Marshall P. Watson and trained by Michael Taylor. She won her trial in :18.022 under Francisco Ramirez, Jr., who will have the return call and break from post position four. Michael Amburn's Black Dress, also by Favorite Cartel, has fared well in each of her four starts. Trained by Mike Robbins, she has finished second or third here and at Retama Park. Jockey Raul Gutierrez will pilot the filly from the rail.
The Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge is the lone stakes race carded for Friday evening and will run as the ninth.
Fastest Qualifier Teardrops At the Bar Returns in Final of the $69,390 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge (G3)
Six trials were contested on Friday, April 22 for the $69,390 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge (G3).
For the second year in a row, trainer Brian Stroud saddled the fastest qualifier as Teardrops At The Bar, under jockey Luis Vivanco, won his 350-yard trial in :17.793. Bred and owned by James Hrabovsky and J. Leann Nalls, the son of Separatist is now two-for-two in his young career. He will break from post two as the 7-2 choice.
"He's still a little green," said Stroud. "He hasn't put it all together, but he ran a great race. It's encouraging to know he has won twice, and I think he's even better than what he has shown."
Michael Amburn's homebred Jayronimo is the second of Stroud's two-year-olds for Saturday's final.
"He's also had two outs," added Stroud, who tabbed Francisco Ramirez, Jr. to ride the son of Jess Zoomin. "In his trial, he didn't get away real sharp, but coming running hard at the end."
Stroud reports that last year's fastest qualifier, Teller At the Bar, will be in action this weekend at Remington Park. It's been a whirlwind for Stroud, who is running horses in Houston, Delta Downs and Remington Park. All systems are go for 2014 AQHA World Champion JRC Callas First, who will make his next start in the $250,000 Remington Park Invitational (G1) on June 4.
Trainer Rolando Almanza also qualified two finalists: Shez Freaky and Maxx. Shez Freaky, owned by Mario Lozano-Cantu, ran fourth in the $268,000 Harrah's Futurity at Louisiana Downs on March 23. Jessie Lee Levario will pilot the Tr Dasher filly, and Manuel Gutierrez will ride Maxx, a Pyc Paint Your Wagon colt who ran second to Teardrops At the Bar in his trial.
The final will run as the ninth race on Saturday, with the winner advancing to the $150,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) at Los Alamitos on October 29.
Brookside Leads the Field in the $44,460 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge
Linda Loftis Tobias' homebred Brookside was impressive as fastest qualifier in her trial win to the $44,460 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge on April 23 at Sam Houston Race Park, blazing to her 400-yard victory in :19.988 seconds.
The lightly raced daughter of Brookstone Bay is trained by Leon Bard and will be making her fourth career start Saturday evening under jockey Nestor Duran.
"She's a very nice filly," said Bard, who also qualified Pete Scarmardo's Swifter Deal.
Their toughest competition will come from multiple stakes finalist Bm Casina Royal, who set the second fastest qualifying time of :20.002. Bobby Myers is the owner and breeder of the Pyc Paint Your Wagon filly, who will be ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo. She is conditioned by leading Sam Houston Race Park trainer Judd Kearl.
Bm Casina Royal has won four of 10 starts, with earnings of $27,409. She is out of the Royal Shake Em mare Joyalty.
Mazzimo, bred, owned and trained by Jorge Haddad, won his trial in :20,266, setting the fourth-fastest time. The son of leading second crop sire The Louisiana Cartel, has now won two in a row, and Haddad looks for a good effort on Saturday night.
"He looks great," said Haddad, who will give a let up to Manuel Gutierrez. "He won his schooling race at Retama, and now with two nice wins, I think he is getting the hang of this."
The winner will represent Texas in the $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G3) at Los Alamitos on October 29.
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 32 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. On a national level, Kearl reached $10 million in earnings in February, when stablemates EC Jet One and Carters Sixty Six teamed to win the $204,265 South Florida Derby. He is ranked 38th on the list of all-time trainers by money earned.
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 10 victories.
Kearl's first call rider, Rodrigo Vallejo, is the leading jockey with 28 wins with just three days of racing left this season. Luis Vivanco is riding very well and added five wins last week to trail Vallejo by just one. Francisco Calderon still has a chance for his first title as he has made 23 trips to the winner's circle and has some live mounts this weekend.
Pete A. Scarmardo is the leader in the owner standings with eight wins; three more than Jorge Haddad. Three owners are tied for third with four wins each: John Boegner, Esmeralda Peck and Crown Racing. The end of the meet awards will be presented on Monday, May 16.
Roger Creager Wraps up the Q Morning Zoo Concert Series at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday
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.
Kentucky Derby Hat Contest Winners
Sam Houston Kentucky Derby Race Park welcomed a festive crowd on Saturday, May 7 for the simulcast of the 142nd Kentucky Derby. The annual Kentucky Derby Hat Contest attracted contestants of all ages showcasing a range of creative designs. The celebrity judges had the difficult choice of narrowing down the field but chose the elegant design worn by Melissa Myers of Houston, who was awarded $500. Claudessa English of Spring donned a multi-dimensional arrangement including a horse and won $250. Houstonian Regina Garceau selected a wide-brimmed chapeau adorned with roses and received $150 for third-place.