July 4th Weekend Kicks Off with $500,000 in Purse Money Featuring the Grade 1 $346,700 Sam Houston Futurity on Friday, July 2nd at SHRP

(Houston, Texas - Thursday, July 1, 2010) - Sam Houston Race Park kicks off the July 4th holiday weekend featuring over $500,000 in total purse money, including the Grade 1 $346,700 Sam Houston Futurity and the Grade 2 $113,250 Sam Houston Derby, on Friday, July 2. Trials for both stakes races were run on June 18th and 19th.

The $113,250 Sam Houston Derby will be the seventh race on the night’s 10-race card. Acorn (3-1) is the odds favorite as the three-year-old brown gelding finished the trial races as the fastest qualifier in a time of :19.749. Ridden by one of The Park’s veteran jockeys, James Brooks, and trained by top trainer Janet Van Bebber, Acorn looks for his second consecutive win and fourth overall win at The Park.

“This horse has the speed to win this and breaks well from the starting gate,” commented Van Bebber. “He’s done well at the 400-yard distance, so we are confident going into the Derby on Friday night.”

Heza Hotdoggin, the second fastest Sam Houston Derby qualifier, will challenge Acorn for his third consecutive win on Friday night. Also on the heels of Acorn will be the 2009 Sam Houston Race Park “Horse of the Meet” Turbulenz.

The Sam Houston Derby features three-year-olds racing 400 yards. The remainder of the 10-horse field includes Azoomin With Jessie, Ragazzo, Straight Stoli, Jess Navigating, Corona Mild, Gallant Corona and Zoomin On By.

The ninth race on the night’s card is the $346,700 Sam Houston Futurity, the riches purse of the 2010 Quarter Horse meet at The Park, showcasing two-year-olds sprinting 350 yards on the dirt track. The fastest qualifier for the Sam Houston Futurity was Sixes Liaison (9-2), a two-year-old gray colt who finished in a time of :17.795. Sixes Liaison will be ridden by jockey Saul Ramirez, Jr. and is trained by Bobby Martinez.

The morning line favorite for the Futurity is Jumpn Shake (3-1), trained by Benjamin Garcia and ridden by jockey Manuel Garcia. Jumpn Shake comes into this stakes race with a stellar record of three wins in only four races and is a perfect one-for-one at Sam Houston Race Park.

“We ran him at Manor Downs earlier in the spring, but after his first race here at Sam Houston, he really seems to race well on this surface, so we’re extremely pleased,” commented Garcia.

The remainder of the 10-horse field features DM Oak Tree Special, Zoomarco, Eyezoom, Tell Who What, Run Naked, Aquafina, Flyers Copy and Awe Contraire.

Friday’s events will also feature Vans Warped Tour, a day-long music and extreme sports festival featuring multiple stages and more than 80 bands performing. Concert gates open at 1:00 p.m. Parking is $5. Live racing begins at 7:00 p.m.

In addition to live Quarter Horse racing events on Friday night, The Park will host 50¢ Draft Beer Night, presented by Houston Press, featuring 50¢ draft beer available from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

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