AQHA World Champion DM Shicago Headlines the Opening Night Card at Sam Houston Race Park on Friday, June 23

(June 20, 2006) - American Quarter Horse racing is known for its explosive starts and thrilling photo finishes. The 2006 Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse meet will kick off Friday, June 23 and is filled with exciting racing action and an evening of special events.

The opening night racing card features trials for the MBNA America Texas Challenge as well as the first stakes of the 2006 American Quarter Horse Meeting, the $10,000-added Stephen F. Austin Stakes.

DM Shicago, 2005 AQHA World Champion, will make his Sam Houston Race Park debut in Friday’s eighth race, a trial for the $100,000-added MBNA America Texas Challenge (G1). The 4-year-old gelding is owned by James and Marilyn Helzer and was transferred to trainer Heath Taylor in 2006. His celebrated career began in 2004 with a victory in the 2004 All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs. He did not disappoint as a 3-year-old winning three Grade 1 stakes at Ruidoso, including the All American Derby on September 4. The gray Oklahoma-bred was honored as 2005 AQHA Horse of the Year, Champion 3-Year-Old and Champion 3-Year-Old Gelding.

DM Shicago will be making his third start of the year on Friday at Sam Houston Race Park. He exits two efforts at Remington Park: running third in the MNBA America Oklahoma Challenge Championship on May 14 and seventh in the Remington Park Invitational Championship on June 4. Rider Juan Vazquez has ridden DM Shicago, who has earned $1.8 million in purses, in each of his 14 career starts.

Taylor, the second leading American Quarter Horse trainer in the country, will ship DM Shicago in from his farm in Ledbetter, Texas, on Friday evening for the MBNA America Texas Challenge trial.

“It will be a tough race,” admitted Taylor, who trained Fast Talkin Val, winner of the 2005 MBNA America Texas Challenge. “I was hoping to avoid running him in trials, but the MBNA Challenge program is getting more popular as you can see by the number of horses competing in the series. DM Shicago has had a couple of rough races, but by no means have I given up on him. He has a history of losing following a layoff and I am hopeful he will like the Sam Houston surface and run well on Friday.”

There will be two trials for the MBNA America Texas Challenge with 18 American Quarter Horses competing for the ten spots for the final which will take place on Saturday, July 8. DM Shicago drew the rail in his trial and has been installed as the 8-5 morning-line favorite. He faces tough competition including First Comment, Winners Eyes, Showtimeaspeeding and Valors Gold. First Comment is another exceptional colt winning six races in 2005 including the $333,000 Texas Classic Derby (G1) last November at Lone Star Park. The 4-year-old colt is owned by J. W. Owens and is trained by Jeff Acuna. He is the second betting choice at 2-1.

The other MBNA America Texas Challenge trial drew stakes winners Gray Invasion, I Make Em Shake, This Snow Is Cold and La Jollaroid, who make his first start of 2006 for Taylor.

Racing begins at 6:00 p.m. with two trials for the $20,000-added Red Cell Distance Challenge (G-3). My Prince of Strides, winner of the 2005 MD Barns Distance Challenge for trainer Matt Baker, leads the nine qualifiers. There will also be three trials for the $40,000-added Bayer Legend Texas Derby Challenge (G-3), carded as races four, five and six.

New Post Times Set for the American Quarter Horse Meeting

Sam Houston Race Park is pleased to announce a new twilight post time for Friday and Saturday. Live racing will begin at 6:00 p.m. each Friday and Saturday and Sunday afternoon racing gets underway at 1:30 p.m.

Buchanan Entry Highlights the Opening Night Stakes

In addition to the trials for the MBNA Texas Challenge races, Sam Houston Race Park will present the first stakes of the 2006 American Quarter Horse, the $10,000-added Harris County Stakes for accredited Texas-breds. Trainer John Buchanan won the 2005 edition of the race with Chipeyed Charlie and has the coupled entry of Bigtime Favorite and Sixes Glass in the Friday night feature. Bigtime Favorite had the misfortune of competing against American Quarter Horse sensation Azoom in 2004, finishing second to the standout in several stakes including the $350,000 Sam Houston Futurity (G1). Juan Vazquez has the call for owners Sylvia Shaw Pittman and Bobby Cox. His entrymate, Sixes Glass will be ridden by Alex Baldillez, Jr.

Bud Light Texas Music Explosion Begins this Friday

Sam Houston Race Park kicks off its Quarter Horse meeting and the Bud Light Texas Music Explosion concert series with Jack Ingram this Friday, June 23.

Jack Ingram, will perform live on the Bud Light stage following live Quarter Horse racing. The Texas-born and Houston-native, taught himself to play the guitar while attending college at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Ingram toured around the bars and roadhouses of Texas with his band, until he landed a regular appearance.

Ingram has recently released Live-Wherever You Are, in which the title track, “Where You Are”, is currently number one in the country. His other hits include “Goodnight Moon”, “We’re All In This Together” and “Nothing to Gain”. Ingram’s major label debut album, “Livin’ or Dyin’”, includes “Big Time”, “Flutter”, “I Can’t Leave You” and “Ghost of a Man”. Ingram’s unique sound has been described as “alternative” and “Texas-style” country and is greatly influenced by such legends as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Jerry Jeff Walker.

Admission is just $3 for adults before 8:30 p.m. and $8 afterwards; $1 for senior citizens and there is no charge for children 12 and under. Live Quarter Horse racing begins at 6:00 p.m. each Friday and Saturday, and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Reserved seats for Ingram and other Bud Light Texas Music Explosion artists may be purchased by calling the Sam Houston Race Park ticket office at 281-807-8760.

Friday, June 23, 2006 - Jack Ingram
Friday, June 30, 2006 - Jerry Jeff Walker and Django Walker
Friday, July 7, 2006 - Cross Canadian Ragweed
Friday, July 14, 2006 - Zona Jones, Honeybrowne & Eli Young Band
Friday, July 21, 2006 - Roger Creager
Friday, July 28, 2006 - Bellamy Brothers
Friday, August 4, 2006 - Cory Morrow
Friday, August 11, 2006 - Randy Rogers Band
Friday, August 18, 2006 - Jason Boland & The Stragglers
Friday, August 25, 2006 - Kevin Fowler

Happy Hour at Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park offers Houston residents an array of entertainment on Fridays, beginning this Friday, June 23. The night begins at 5 p.m. with the new Happy Hour promotion with $2 you call its at the Finish Line Bar. The full bar is located on the Club Level of the Grandstand and will offer Happy Hour every Friday during the 2006 summer Quarter Horse meeting from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m.

The Club Level offers two bars, including the Finish Line Bar, the Winner’s Circle Restaurant, the exclusive Jockey Club and many seating options with a great view. Live Quarter Horse racing starts at 6 p.m. and will feature ten exciting races and will be followed by the Bud Light Texas Music Explosion concert.

To reserve seats and receive free admission for Happy Hour, call the Sam Houston Race Park group sales department at 281-807-8750 before 3 p.m. on Friday.

June VIP Specials at Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park’s VIP Club is offering its members special June benefits, including free simulcast admission throughout the month of June. The $25 On The 25’s Contest will be held each Wednesday in June and will give racing fans the opportunity to win a $25 betting voucher. To enter the contest, VIP Club Members must swipe their VIP Club Card before 4:25 p.m. on each Wednesday. Winners will be randomly selected at 11:25 a.m., 12:25 p.m., 1:25 p.m., 2:25 p.m., 3:25 p.m. and 4:25 p.m.

To become a VIP Club Member, visit or stop by the Player’s Lounge.

Sunday Steak Specials at Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park will begin live Quarter Horse racing at 1:30 p.m., which makes the northwest Houston racetrack the perfect venue for an afternoon of dining and entertainment. The Winner’s Circle Restaurant offers a premier view of the track with a private monitor and easy access to mutuel tellers to place wagers.

The Winner’s Circle Restaurant will offer a full menu of dining options including their Sunday Steak Specials, which includes a Chipotle Steak Salad for only $8.99 and a $12.99 Ribeye Steak Dinner. The Chipotle Steak Salad consists of thinly sliced Ribeye Steak atop Mixed Field Greens with Pine Nuts, Tomato Wedges and Roasted Red Peppers and is served with Raspberry Chipotle Vinaigrette. The Ribeye Steak Dinner includes a grilled Ribeye Steak served with a Baked Potato, Summer Vegetables and a house salad.

For more information or to make reservations, call 281-807-8760.

Sam Houston Race Park Presents Gallery Furniture July Fourth Fireworks Extravaganza

Sam Houston Race Park is pleased to announce that Gallery Furniture is the presenting sponsor of the annual July Fourth Fireworks Extravaganza. The popular All-American Independence Day celebration will take place on Tuesday, July 4 as the northwest Houston racetrack hosts a special day of racing and festivities. July 4th events will include kids’ activities, such as moonwalks, a rock-climbing wall, trackless train rides and water activities, and the Gallery Furniture Fireworks Extravaganza.

Post time for live Quarter Horse racing on Tuesday is 5:00 p.m. and the exciting and patriotic fireworks display will begin following live racing over the Infield around 9:30 p.m. The Infield offers a fabulous view of the colorful show over the lake and families are welcome to lounge on the grassy area, which also features the children’s activities, concession stands and mutuel clerks for wagering on the ten live Quarter Horse races.

Sam Houston Race Park’s Winner’s Circle Restaurant will present a special Independence Day Buffet. Each table has a prime view of each of the live Quarter Horse races and a private television set. For those interested in a private party room, Sam Houston Race Park offers luxurious, suites for a celebration like no other. An all American celebratory buffet will be offered on the suite level for all private parties to enjoy for a special discounted rate. The suite rental, which varies depending on the size of your group, includes admission, live racing programs, a wagering assistant to help you and your guests, and a message on our tote board welcoming your party. This is an ideal place to watch the fantastic fireworks display which follows live racing.

Admission to the Sam Houston Race Park is only $3 for adults, $1 for Senior Citizens and children 12 and under are free. For more information or to make reservations, call 281-807-8760. For parties of ten or more, contact group sales at 281-807-8750.

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