SHRP to Host Texas Summer Showdown and TQHA Yearling Sale July 28 & 29

(Tuesday, July 18, 2006) - The next big racing weekend at Sam Houston Race Park is set for Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29 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 320 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 28 and Saturday, July 29 starting at 11:00 a.m.

"This year's catalog is the best we have ever produced,” said Rob Werstler, executive director of the Texas Quarter Horse Association. “For the first time ever we have yearlings by Corona Cartel that are by mares, Dash Free and Fightin Jane that went

through our sale and went on to have stellar racing careers. We also have several Mr Jess Perry babies as well as offspring from two new and exciting stallions Panther Mountain and Oak Tree Special. Panther Mountain won the MBNA Challenge Championship and Oak Tree Special won the TQHA Sale Futurity and went on to garner AQHAWorld Champion honors."

The TQHA Yearling Sale is open to the public and will take place in the air-conditioned Sam Houston Race Park Pavilion Centre. The Equine Expo is also held in the Pavilion Centre featuring a diverse array of exhibitors displaying equine merchandise, services and products. The Expo will also be open both Friday and Saturday beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Si Puede Makes a Winning 2006 Debut at Sam Houston Race Park

Si Puede, voted 2005 Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse of the Meeting, returned to the racetrack in fine form on Saturday, July 15, winning her first race off a six-month layoff.

Owned by Lukin Gilliland of San Antonio and trained by Dave Correll, Si Puede defeated ten rivals in a 330-yard allowance race and did it convincingly under regular rider, Jose Vega.

“She ran hard last year,” admitted Correll. “When we returned from Sunland (where she won the Sunland Fall Derby on December 30), she went into her stall, circled around and laid down. I knew she was tired and deserved a rest. We had plans to run her at Remington Park, but she cut her leg and developed an infection. By the time she was ready to begin training, it was May and we decided to save her for Sam Houston.”

On Friday, the 4-year-old daughter of Holland Ease looked fit and well rested as she won the 14th start of her 20-race career.

“She started a little slowly, but finished well,” said Vega of the 4-year-old filly’s performance.

“She’s a rested horse,” said Correll. “She gained some weight and looks good compared to what she looked like at the end of last year. I wanted her to go into the season a little heavier because you know it’s naturally going to come off.”

Correll is considering both the 250-yard Barnmaster Sprint or the TQHA Classic Stakes on Friday, July 28 for the next start for Si Puede.

Judd Kearl/James Brooks Close but No Cigar, Yet

Trainer Judd Kearl and rider James Brooks have become quite a familiar duo at Sam Houston Race Park. Kearl is second in the trainer standings and Brooks is the third leading rider of the meet. While they have teamed well in claiming and maiden race, they are hitting the board with some longshots in several Sam Houston stakes races.

Brooks guide Apollos Dasher, at odds of 13-1, to a second place finish in the Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge and and even bigger surprise for Surprisingly Special (49-1), who ran a game third in the Grade 1 MBNA Texas Challenge Championship. That same night, Streak Foe Me ran second to fastest qualifier Ida Snow Man in the Professional’s Choice Texas Claiming Challenge.

Last weekend Kearl saddled Mystical Promises (18-1) in TQHA Sires Cup Futurity, who was declared second in a very tight photo finish won by fastest qualifier, First Smart Winner.

"He ran a good race, but there was some early bumping,” added Brooks. “It was really close. We lost by a nose. He got bumped twice early, and that probably cost him the win."

Brooks, who won the Gulf Coast Stakes aboard Shazoomer for trainer Janet Van Bebber and Makeala for trainer Robert Touchet in the $15,000 Miss Houston Stakes, has no doubt that he and Kearl will win a stake soon at Sam Houston Race Park.

“We’ll get there,” said the 54-year-old rider.

Sam Houston Race Park Jockey, Trainer and Owner Standings

Jeff Jerman is at the top of the jockey standings for the second week in a row. Jerman picked up three more winning mounts and concluded the weekend with 19 wins and $90,284 in earnings. Rodrigo Vallejo continues his steadfast climb and maintains second place with 18 wins and the highest earnings of $124,691. James Brooks rode Makeala for trainer Robert Touchet in the $15,000 Miss Houston Stakes. Brooks has 15 victories to date as well as the second highest earnings of $124,020. Jose Alvarez did not have any winning mounts over the weekend, but managed to maintain his fourth place standing for the second week with ten wins. The top five jockeys are rounded out by Luis Ramirez, who scored four wins last weekend and he currently has a total of eight wins.

Five-time leading trainer, Janet Van Bebber, took command of the trainer standings for the first time this meeting. Van Bebber moved from third place to the lead with eight wins after she saddled three winners over the weekend. Judd Kearl dropped from the lead to second place to tie with Toby Keeton with seven wins. Jesse Aguilar and Robert Touchet are tied with six wins each. Each trainer saddled a stakes winner last weekend; Aguilar’s First Smart Winner captured the $111,640 TQHA Sires’ Cup Futurity (G2) and Touchet’s Makeala scored the win in the $15,000 Miss Houston Stakes. Aguilar has the highest earnings of $79,321.

Warner Croft continues his lead in the owner standings for the second week, with five wins since the Sam Houston Quarter Horse meeting began on June 23. J.C. Wells, Joe Fulton, Monty Brooks and Los Ladrilleros Horse Racing Co. are tied with three wins each. The Los Ladrilleros Horse Racing Co. has the highest earnings of $63,405.

Patrons Enjoy Big Wager Payouts at Sam Houston Race Park

Field sizes for Sam Houston Race Park’s Quarter Horse races improved considerably last weekend as many horsemen shipped in following the conclusion of the Delta Downs season. As a result, patrons playing exotic wagers had a banner weekend.

Friday night’s race card was highlighted not only by the $111,640 TQHA Sires Cup Futurity, but by some huge longshots and sizable superfectas. Jose Vega rode Highfalutin Maid to victory in the fifth race at (10-1) odds and paid $23.60 to win. I Live For This came in second at (14-1) odds but it was Miss Alaneus who contributed so heavily to the $47,154 superfecta. The Robert Touchet-trained filly, sent off at 25-1, finished fourth.

Saturday’s big payouts were just as plentiful. The night began with a $56,982 superfecta in the first race. I Can Get Down, at 14-1, keyed the high paying exotic with longshots Blazen Rock, Know A Rose and Streakin With Ryon rounding out the top four positions. The eighth race also offered a nice payout: a $20,695 superfecta. This time, the first and second place finishers, Fightin Jane Wayne (20-1) and Shady Gol Lady (30-1) were the contributing factors for the huge payout. Fightin Jane Wayne paid $43.40 to win and Shady Gol Lady returned $19.00 to place.

Simulcasting This Weekend at Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park will simulcast coast-to-coast racing action this week. On Wednesday, Del Mar, in southern California, kicks off their 67th meeting and the Kentucky circuit moves from Churchill Downs to Ellis Park. Calder Race Course will host an exciting new racing event, Extreme Day, to be held Saturday, July 22. The 14-race program will feature a variety of Thoroughbred horse races that go beyond the norm - from a quarter-mile sprint to a two-mile turf contest; to two races contested at once; to one run the “wrong” way around the track. In addition, the track will present the “World’s Fastest Daily Double” with two races to be run simultaneously.

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