$111,640 TQHA Siresí Cup Futurity Set for Friday Night at Sam Houston Race Park

(July 12, 2006) - Live American Quarter Horse racing returns to Sam Houston Race Park on Friday, July 14 at 6:00 p.m. The Friday night card will feature the finals of the $111,640 TQHA Sires' Cup Futurity as well as the $10,000-added Miss Houston Stakes.

Trainer Jesse Aguilar will be a busy young man on Friday night as he will saddle three of the ten fastest qualifiers for the $111,640 TQHA Sires' Cup Futurity. First Smart Winner, a 2-year-old colt owned by Ernesto Perez was the fastest qualifier in trials run on June 30, completing his 350-yard trial in :17.715. The gray son of First Smart Money has made considerable progress since making his racing debut at Manor Downs on April 9. The trip notes for the race indicated that he bucked repeatedly and stopped, finishing tenth by 18 lengths. Since that less than fortunate beginning, First Smart Winner has won two races and heads into Friday’s TQHA Sires’ Cup Futurity as the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Regular rider, Rogelio Izquierdo retains the mount on First Smart Winner with Alfonso Lujan set to pilot his entrymate, Jc First Sip. Aguilar, 23, also conditions Ace Mudslinger who will be ridden by Jorge Linares in Friday’s ninth race.

Three-year-old fillies will square off in Friday’s eight race, the $10,000-added Miss Houston Stakes. Makeala, winner of the 2005 East Juvenile Challenge at Delta Downs last May, has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite. Trained by Robert Touchet for owner Mickey W. Tiner, Makeala took on the boys in the Retama Park Derby, finishing third in the Grade 1 event on June 17. Sin Tacha Perry, owned by Jerry Gaston and Janet Van Bebber, is another talented filly entered in the Miss Houston Stakes. The daughter of Mr Jess Perry will be making her third start of the year and will be ridden by Alfonso Lujan. Mechita ran second in the Harris County Stakes here on June 24 for trainer Duane Hartsell and will break from the rail under Jose Alvarez.

Si Puede to Make 2006 Debut on Saturday Night at Sam Houston Race Park

Si Puede, voted 2005 Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse of the Meeting, will make her 2006 racing debut on Saturday, July 15.

The talented mare capped her stellar season with a victory in the $111,400 Sam Houston Derby (G2) last September. Bred and owned by Lukin Gilliland of San Antonio, the daughter of Holland Ease won her fifth consecutive race of the season as she captured the Grade 2 stakes.

Trained by Dave Correll, Si Puede was the fastest qualifier in trials for the Sam Houston Derby, winning her trial in :21.58. She had won three stakes earlier this meet, the $44,750 TQHA Classic Stakes, the $14,750 Gulf Coast Stakes and the $15,500 Miss Houston Stakes. Jose Vega has ridden her in each of her starts here as well as at Sunland Park and in the Lazy E Derby at Remington Park Annual Yearling Sale and Expo at Sam Houston Race Park

The next big racing weekend at Sam Houston Race Park is set for Friday, July 29 and Saturday, July 30 when the northwest Houston racetrack will host the Texas Summer Showdown and the annual TQHA Yearling Sale.

The racing action kicks off on Friday evening with four stakes races for the Texas Summer Showdown. The TQHA Yearling Sale will once again be a two-day affair as 355 yearlings are set to pass through the sales ring. The sale has produced many American Quarter Horse racing champions, including 2003 World Champion, Oak Tree Special and 2004 Sam Houston Race Park Horse of the Meet, Azoom. The Yearling Sale will take place in the comfort of the well-air conditioned Pavilion Centre on Friday, July 29 and Saturday, July 30 starting at 11:00 a.m.

Sam Houston Race Park will also present an Equine Expo featuring a diverse array of exhibitors displaying equine merchandise, services and products. The Expo will also be open both Friday and Saturday beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Sam Houston Race Park Jockey, Trainer and Owner Standings

Jeff Jerman has taken the lead in the jockey standings after winning five races last weekend, including his biggest victory in the $24,705 Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge (G3). Jerman piloted the defending champion, trained by Matt Baker, My Prince of Strides and concluded the weekend in the lead with 16 wins and $80,515 in earnings. Rodrigo Vallejo didn’t fall far in the standings, now in second with 15 wins. Vallejo made a special trip to the winner’s circle following his victory in the $69,030 Bayer Legend Texas Derby Challenge (G3) aboard Sheza Dashing Disco for trainer J. Benny Pennington. Vallejo has the highest earnings of the jockey colony with $109,389.

James Brooks picked up four wins last week, but maintains his third place standing. For the first time this meeting, Jose Alvarez makes an appearance in the top five jockey standings. Alvarez guided Bobby Martinez’s Eye Caughtcha Peekin to victory in the $26,101 John Deere Texas Distaff Challenge (G3). Alvarez, who has also ridden four winners for trainer James Lackey, is in fourth place of the standings with ten wins, and Santos Carrizales rounds out the top five with eight.

Judd Kearl has gained a one-win lead on Toby Keeton following the third weekend of the meeting and has the highest earnings of $51,031. Kearl has saddled seven winners, while Keeton is in second place with six. While Kearl did not win one of the MBNA Challenge stakes last weekend, he ran third in the $115,650 MBNA America Texas Challenge with Surprisingly Special (49-1) and second in the Red Cell Distance Challenge with Apollos Dasher. The tie for third is now between Janet Van Bebber and Alex Villarreal as they gained one win each over the weekend, leaving Jess Aguilar fifth in the standings with four wins.

Warner Croft has gained an edge in the owners standing after his Matt Baker-trained, My Prince Of Strides won the Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge (G3). Croft leads the standings with four wins and $21,911 in earnings, while J.C. Wells, Joe Fulton and Los Ladrilleros Horse Racing Co. are tied with three wins each. Bobby Moore, Jr., rounds out the top five owners with two wins. Los Ladrilleros Horse Racing Co. witnessed their Melinda Garcia-trained This Snow Is Cold cross the finish line in winning fashion in the Saturday night feature, the $115,650 MBNA Texas Challenge Championship (G1). The Los Ladrilleros Horse Racing Co. now have the highest earnings of $63,405.

Simulcasting This Weekend at Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park will simulcast coast-to-coast racing action this weekend. Calder Race Course will host their popular annual event, the Summit of Speed on Saturday, July 15. Lost In The Fog and Dubai Escapade are two of the top-class sprinters from around the country competing in the Summit of Speed which features nine stakes races, including the $500,000 Princess Rooney H. (G1), $500,000 Smile Sprint H. (G2), $300,000 Carry Back S. (G2) and $300,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup S. (G3). Too Much Bling, owned by Bob McNair’s Stonerside Stable will be one of the top contenders in the $300,000 Carry Back.

At Colonial Downs, Steppenwolfer leads the field in the $1 million Virginia Derby (G2) and Aunt Henny will compete in the $200,000 Virginia Oaks. The Saturday schedule also includes the $500,000 Delaware Oaks (G2) at Delaware Park with Grade 1 winner Adieu and seven rivals.

Also on Saturday, Canterbury Park will host the Claiming Crown a racing event established to pay tribute to the blue-collar heroes of Thoroughbred horse racing, the claiming horses. The seven Claiming Crown races offer total purse money of $600,000. In addition to the Jewel, there are two $100,000 grass contests, the Claiming Crown Emerald and the Claiming Crown Tiara. A pair of $75,000 sprint races, the Claiming Crown Glass Slipper and the Claiming Crown Rapid Transit will also be run, along with two $50,000 events - the Claiming Crown Iron Horse and the Claiming Crown Express.

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