|Five Thrilling Stakes Races Highlight
the Texas Summer Showdown at SHRP
(Friday, July 25,
2003) - Sam Houston Race Park hosted one of the most exciting
nights of the 2003 American Quarter Horse meeting, the Texas Summer
Showdown. The ten-race card featured five stakes races for accredited
Texas-breds and purses in excess of $175,000.
The $23,850 John Deere Texas Challenge featured eight American
Quarter Horse distance specialists. The winner, in commanding fashion,
was Special D Dash ($10.80) for owners Karen & Robert Nunnally
of Macon, Georgia. The 4-year-old son of Pure D Dash had no problem
overcoming the far outside post, winning by 13/4 lengths, covering
the 870-yard distance in a time of :45.700. Rider John Hamilton,
who had three wins on tonight’s card, had the mount for trainer
"He was quite the best horse today," said Hamilton.
"It was a close call going down the backside. I didn’t
know if I could get to the front or not. I knew it was more than
I could handle and saw how tight it was stacked up so I called on
him to go the outside and he responded. I never really had to call
on him. This is a really special win for us. We suffered a loss
in our stable. Danny Martin passed away in a car accident a couple
of weeks ago. I think we all know he is in Heaven."
Hamilton returned to the winner’s circle in the next race,
capturing the $45,500 TQHA 550 Stakes aboard Yawls Signature ($20.00).
The 5-year-old son of Vital Sign is owned by Larry Hibberd of Corinth,
Texas and trained by Faith Price. He was the winner of the $15,500
Harrisburg Handicap on July 6 and both Price and Hibberd sensed
he was ready to run a big race.
"He is just an outstanding horse," said Price. "He
has just come around and just gets better every time. We (Price
and Hibberd) get together on where we are going and when. I call
the shots on when! We talk it over; we have a real good relationship
and just work things out. We are going to try for an 870-yard race
The $45,500-added Barnmaster Sprint Stakes (RG3) at 250 yards,
drew a competitive field of eleven. The winner was Turfinator ($18.60)
owned by Kathleen Matey, of Corpus Christi and trained by Jesse
Yoakum. His son, Jerry Lee Yoakum guided the 7-year-old son of Runaway
Winner to his second Barnmaster victory in three years. They received
permission from the stewards to leave the paddock early as the tempermental
gelding does not like delays.
"You just have to keep him happy," admitted Jerry Lee
Yoakum. "He’s a little weird about some things and hasn’t
done anything wrong in a long time, but you don’t want to
take your chances. The inside post was no problem. When he leaves
there like that, it’s hard to outrun him."
The $21,600 TQHA Starter Stakes, a 550-yard contest, was another
exciting race with Dashtothe Millennium ($5.60), owned and trained
by Robert L. "Bobby" Moore, emerging victorious. This
was the fourth straight win for the handsome gray, riddne by Sam
Houston Race Park leading rider, J. R. Ramirez.
"He is really quiet at home and in the stall, but when he
is running, he is all business," said Moore. "I used to
be a sports coach, and he is a head coach’s dream. We’ll
see how he looks tomorrow. I’d like to keep winning, so I
won’t move him up too much yet."
The $45,000 Classic Chevrolet Stakes (G3) drew eleven starters
competing at a distance of 400 yards. The winner was Gone Celebrating
($5.60), owned by Bobby Cox of Fort Worth, Texas and trained by
John Buchanan. The 4-year-old son of Meter Me Gone was an impressive
winner on June 20 at Retama Park, capturing the Texas Hall of Fame
Stakes. He won his second stakes in a row tonight with regular rider,
Juan Vazquez up, covering the 400-yards in a time of :19.790.
"I’m lucky to have a good owner who has some excellent
Texas-breds," commented Buchanan. "This horse has responded
very well for us and we’re proud of him."
The Texas Summer Showdown Weekend continued on Saturday morning
at Sam Houston Race Park with the 2003 TQHA Yearling Sale.
News and Notes
The evening began with three trial races for the TQHA Sires’
Cup Derby and Snow Warning from the barn of John Buchanan, was the
fastest of the 28 qualifiers. Owned by Marilyn & James Helzer,
the 3-year-old gelding completed the 400-yard distance in a time
of :20.124. Rider Juan Vazquez was in the irons.
Snow Warning and the other nine qualifiers will return to Sam
Houston Race Park for the finals of the TQHA Sires’ Cup Derby
on Friday, August 8.