Final Weekend of Quarter Horse Racing All Set at Sam Houston Race Park

(Houston, Texas - Wednesday, May 16, 2012) - Sam Houston Race Park's American Quarter Horse meet resumes with live racing Thursday, May 17, Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19. The 27-day live racing season began on March 22 and will conclude Saturday afternoon with three stakes, the simulcast of the Preakness Stakes and a concert with 38 Special.

Preakness Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park will simulcast the entire card from Pimlico in Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday, culminating with the running of the 137th Preakness Stakes. The field is expected to include Kentucky Derby winner and runner-up,  I'll Have Another and Bodemeister as well as Went The Day Well, Creative Cause, Daddy Nose Bes,t and several horses that skipped the Kentucky Derby including Cozetti, Pretension, Teeth of the Dog and Tiger Walk.

Racing fans are invited to enjoy the Friday, May 18th card from Pimlico which will feature the Grade 2, $300,000 Black Eyed Susan and a special Pimlico Special/Preakness Stakes Daily Double wager which must be place prior to the running of the Grade 3, $300,000 Pimlico Special (4:51 p.m. (CT).

Advance wagering will be available on Friday, May 18 and Sam Houston Race Park will offer "Preakness Stakes Early Bird Wagering" on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19 from 7:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. at the Valet Parking Circle.

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. Free admission will be offered on Thursday and two concerts are set for Friday and Saturday evening on the Bud Light Stage following live Quarter Horse racing.

Sam Houston Race Park will show its 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.

The remaining performers are:

Friday, May 18 - Roger Creager with The Jeff Bootz Band
Saturday, May 19 - 38 Special with Blackberry Smoke & Folk Family Revival

Jody Pops Zoomer Fastest Qualifier for the $72,901 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge

Sam Houston Race Park hosted nine trials for the $72,901 John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge on Thursday, May 3. Trainer Cindi Keeton qualified three of the ten 2-year-olds for the final, including the fastest qualifier, Jody Pops Zoomer who covered 350 yards in :17.767. Bred by Gary Kurz and owned by Gary and Randal Kurz, the gelded son of Zoomin for Bux out of the Jody O Toole mare Pops Little Sis was impressive in his second career start. He had run in trials for the Sam Houston Futurity on March 31, ran greenly, according to Keeton. He ran a much improved effort under jockey Francisco Raul Ramirez Jr. in trials for the John Deere, who opted to ride the bay gelding over his other qualifying mounts.

Keeton has confidence in Jody Pops Zoomer and believes he will replicate that race in the finals.

"He's training really well," said Keeton. "They are going to have to take a run at him because he is on fire and ready to go on Saturday."

Keeton also saw a solid debut from third-fastest qualifier Leading Version, a filly owned by Gerardo Rivera. The daughter of Latest Version paid $36.80 for her trial victory, and will break from post position two under Saul Ramirez, Jr. The third of Keeton's trio is Rightamountofwrong, who registered the tenth-fastest time of :18.028. She will make her fourth career start for the ownership group of Potts, Powers, Smith and Stanfield with jockey Jorge Roman in the irons.

Rc Had to Be My Day clocked the second-fastest qualifying time of :17.797 seconds for trainer Alex Villarreal. The sorrel son of Hadtobenuts was bumped in the 2012 Sam Houston Futurity, finishing eighth, but rebounded strongly in the John Deere trials. Luis Vivanco retains the mount for owner Jesus E. Longoria.

There will be a special 1:00 p.m. post time on Saturday. The John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge will run as the eighth race on the May 19th card with an estimated post time of 4:02 p.m. (CT).

The winner of Saturday's final earns an invitation to represent Texas in the $150,000 John Deere Racing Challenge Juvenile Championship (G2) on October 27 at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa.

Charmin Chief Corona Leads the Field in the $54,450 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge

Three trials were run on May 5 for the $54,450 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge. The first trial produced the fastest time as Charmin Chief Corona, won her 400 yard trial impressively in :19.675 seconds. The talented daughter of Chief Corona is owned and bred by Gary Kurz. She won the $180,900 Sam Houston Derby (G3) here on April 14.

"She"s as honest as can be," states Keeton. "In the barn, she is as calm as a roping horse, but when she gets onto the racetrack, her big heart takes over. I'm so proud she has turned into such a nice filly for Pat and Gary Kurz."

Charmin Chief Corona will be in pursuit of her fourth consecutive win on Saturday with regular rider Francisco Raul Ramirez Jr. aboard.

Making Deals, a colt bred by Jerry Windham, recorded the second-fastest qualifying time and will break from the rail under Luis Vivanco. A Game Dame, trained by Guy Hopkins, was the third-fastest qualifier and has an exceptional career record of five wins from seven starts. Luis Ramirez will pilot the daughter of First N Kool, bred by Bob and Jerry Ann Gaston.

Saturday's champion will earn a berth as the Texas representative for the $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G1) at Prairie Meadows on October 27.

Bok Man and Kite Flyer Renew Rivalry in the $25,000 Governors' Cup Marathon

The 870-yard Governors' Cup Marathon will also be contested on Saturday afternoon. The field of eight includes Bok Man. the winner of the $22,500 Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge on April 28. The 4-year-old son of Boknaai is owned by Cynthia A. Jerman and trained by her husband, Jerry. Their son Jeff rode the striking gray Texas-bred in the Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge, but Jeff has mounts at Delta Downs on Saturday.  Gaspar Garcia takes over and will break from post position three. Red Cell runner-up, Kite Flyer drew just inside of Bok Man and will be ridden by Santos Carrizales.

The father and son team of Jesse and Jerry Lee Yoakum hope they will have better racing luck in this year's edition of the Governors' Cup Marathon. Shineys Magic T won the stakes last year, but was disqualified and placed sixth. The 6-year-old Texas-bred captured the 550-yard Ricoh Stakes this meet and has won four of his nine starts at 870-yards.

"Last year, he was in the six hole; this year, we drew the five," said Jerry Lee Yoakum. "I had no choice but to send him to the front. The inside horse did not take the turn well, so there was a lot of banging and bumping. He has been running great this year, and in stakes company, 550 and 870 yards are his best distances."

The eight distance specialists will square off in the ninth race of the Saturday card, which is expected to run at 4:28 p.m. (CT).

Jockey, Trainer and Owner Standings

Judd Kearl, who will win his fifth leading trainer title at Sam Houston Race Park on May 19, tops all conditioners with 31 wins from 118 starts. Cindi Keeton remains in second place in the standings with 13 victories. Jorge Haddad has saddled nine winners and has sole possession of third place. Brian Stroud and Abel Morin are tied for fourth with eight wins each. Cleto Martinez, Jr., James Gerhards and Guy Hopkins have each won seven races.

Rodrigo Vallejo, who rides first call for Kearl, is the leading rider following seven weeks of live racing. Vallejo has won on 32 of his 115 mounts. Last year's leading rider, Luis Vivanco, is second in the standings with 26 wins. Luis Ramirez won four races last weekend to move into third place with 18 wins Francisco Raul Ramirez, Jr., follows with 15 victories. Santos Carrizales and Ricardo Aguirre have each made 14 trips to the winner's circle.

Heading into the final three days of the meet, the most competitive battle for meet ending honors belongs to the owners. A. D. Maddox, who has three previous leading owner titles at Sam Houston Race Park, has won seven races this meet. Filimon Saucedo and Eleazar Martinez, Sr. are tied for second with five victories each. Mickey Tiner, Sherrie Morace, Jorge Haddad, Jerry Windham. Larry Sherwood, Gary Kurz, and Betty and Lynn Bettinger, Sr. are tied for third with four wins each.

Park to Offer Free Admission

Sam Houston Race Park will offer free admission following the conclusion of the 2012 Quarter Horse meet on May 19. The Park's offer will start on Sunday, May 20 and will last the entire summer through Labor Day.  Simulcast racing will continue seven days a week with the third leg of racing's Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes set for Saturday, June 9. Premier race meets including Monmouth Park, Saratoga and Del Mar will showcase top Thoroughbreds this summer and Quarter Horse fans will be able to watch and wager on "America's fastest athletes" at Ruidoso Downs, beginning May 25.
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