The $316,000 Sam Houston Futurity to be Run This Friday at Sam Houston Race Park

(September 4, 2006) - The 2006 Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse meeting will conclude on Saturday, September 9 and the final weekend will be highlighted several stakes including the $316,000 Sam Houston Futurity on Friday, September 8.

Sam Houston Race Park conditioner, Janet Van Bebber, who has won the training title at the northwest Houston racetrack for the past five years, has two finalists for the Grade 1 event for 2-year-old runners. She will saddle fastest qualifier, Streakin Illusively for owner Lou Phillips, with rider Alfonso Lujan aboard. Jacky Martin will ride Snowy Alibi, who won the $343,305 TQHA Sale Futurity for D D Lightsey.

“I like where they drew and how they are doing,” said Van Bebber. “I always prefer to be toward the outside rather than the inside. They’re nice colts and I gave Alfonso his choice for the final. He will ride Streakin Illusively and I am pleased that Jacky (Martin) will ride Snowy Alibi. He is a very quiet rider and came in last weekend to ride Love My Dash he was able to stay and gallop Snowy Alibi. It worked out well.”

It was a tough decision for Lujan, who qualified both colts and won the TQHA Sale Futurity aboard Snowy Alibi.

“They both ran well in trials,” commented Lujan. “In the TQHA Sale Futurity, Streakin Illusively was bothered when the filly (Bridled Lightnin) false broke. He still came running and finished third. I just think that he might have a little bit more talent and should handle the distance. I like his post; the middle of the track will be good for him. He came out of the trial real good and has been bouncing up and down.”

Lujan has won three stakes this meet and is third in the rider standings with 31 wins. He and his wife, Anna, will welcome their second child at the end of this month.

“It’s been a good meet for me,” added Lujan. “I’ve been fortunate enough to pick up some good horses for Janet and look forward to this weekend. It’s a tough field; there are a lot of talented horses that have proven they can run. I just think I have probably one of the best ones.”

The 3-1 morning-line favorite for the Sam Houston Futurity is Zoomin For Bux, trained by Roberto Madrigal. winner of the Grade 1 Retama Park Futurity on June 18. Martin Rubalcava rode the son of Shazoom to victory in his trial race on August 25 and feels that he will run a good race on Friday.

“I haven’t worked him since the trial, but Roberto says he is doing well,” said Rubalcava. “He raced under the lights for the first time in his trial and should have no problem breaking from the rail.”

The Sam Houston Futurity will be run as the ninth race on the Friday card. Saturday night’s feature will be the running of the $122,000 Sam Houston Derby. Post time for Friday, September 8 and Saturday, September 9 is 6:00 p.m.

James Brooks Sitting on His Second Sam Houston Race Park Riding Title

Quarter Horse jockey James Brooks has all but locked up his second consecutive leading rider title at Sam Houston Race Park. He leads Rodrigo Vallejo by 6 wins heading into the final two days of the meeting.

“Maybe the first time (in 2005) was the sweetest, but this will be pretty special too,” admitted the 55-year-old rider.

That doesn’t stop his fellow riders from engaging in some good-natured fun in the jocks room.

“I’ve spent too much time following him this meet,” said Jeff Jerman, who beat Brooks for the Retama Park riding title in June. “I was getting a little tired looking at his back end.”

Rider John Hamilton perhaps had the best line when he quipped “ever since he opened that AARP card in the mail, he’s been on fire!”

Sam Houston Race Park will present the End of the Meet Awards honoring the top owner, trainer and jockey on Saturday, September 9.

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