TQHA Sires' Cup Futurity and Derby Highlight the Weekend Races at SHRP

(Wednesday, June 30, 2004) - The draws for the $134,748 TQHA Sires' Cup Futurity and $52,280 TQHA Sires' Cup Derby were held today at Sam Houston Race Park. The races will be part of an exciting July 4th weekend at the northwest Houston racetrack with the TQHA Sires' Cup Futurity and Derby Finals to be run on Saturday, July 3 and the News24Houston July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza, presented by Citgo and Miller Lite on Sunday, July 4.

Azoom, was the fastest qualifier in trials for the TQHA Sires' Cup Futurity run on Sunday, June 20. He covered 350-yards in :17.475 under rider Rodrigo Vallejo. The speedy colt was bred in Texas by Jerry Windham was purchased at the 2003 TQHA Yearling Sale for $62,000 by Enrique Carrion of Veracruz, Mexico. He has been racing in Mexico, breaking his maiden on March 12 and winning four of his five starts. Azoom, who was installed as the morning line favorite at 9-5, will break from the seventh post position and trainer Frank Cavazos looks forward to a big effort from his colt.

"He drew the seven hole," said Cavazos. "I would have liked to have the outside, but he ran his trial from the eight hole, so it's not too different. I'm going to stand him in the gates on Thursday and give him a light gallop; take a little big of the edge off him."

Maid It Special, a 2-year-old filly trained by Dave Correll, was the second fastest qualifier (:17.475) in trials. She captured the $98,550 Ford Texas Juvenile Challenge on May 31 and is the current meet leading horse at Sam Houston Race Park, having won each of her three starts here. Maid It Special, the second choice at odds of 3-1, will break next to Azoom from post position six.

"She's doing really well," said Correll. "J. R. stood her in the gates this morning and she galloped around the track. She learned by the finals of the (Ford Juvenile Challenge) and acts like an old horse. She is so calm to saddle and is all business when she gets to the gate. J R says she just stands there looking down the track. We'll just keep doing the same thing with her and just keep her healthy and happy."

Sam Houston Race Park leading rider, J. R. Ramirez qualified seven of the ten finalists for the TQHA Sires' Cup Futurity. He narrowed his decision to one of the two fillies, Maid it Special or Shake Em Fever, trained by Bobby Moore.

"I just went with Maid It Special because I liked the way she was feeling today," commented Ramirez following the draw. "She's just the kind of filly that's real honest and she puts a lot of effort into things. Maid It Special is in a bigger race later on in the year (the $150,000 Ford Juvenile Challenge on November 6). She doesn't need to run in trials then; she's just going to be in the finals. I just have to take care of her."

The decision as to which horse to ride in a final is always tough for a rider, but Ramirez has a solid track record in his choices and weighs a number of factors in making his final selection. "To win, you need a good trainer and a good horse," admits Ramirez. "It's hard for a horse to run back in the finals. Some horses that run good in the trials, they don't run as good in the finals. It just takes the whole team's best effort to keep a baby the same way, doing real good."

Trainer Duane Hartsell qualified three runners for the final, Winning Charisma (:17.805), Gol TJKA (:17.899) and Tootin O Toole (:17.983). Hartsell named veteran rider, Alvin "Bubba" Brossette to ride Gol TJKA, winner of the Longhorn Futurity at Manor Downs. Gol TJKA is currently ranked second in the AQHA 2-year-old Gelding standings and Hartsell would love to see him stay unbeaten. Tootin O Toole may have been the tenth fastest qualifier, but Hartsell believes the filly, who will be ridden on Saturday by Roy Baldillez, has a ton of talent.

"She wants to beat you every time she steps onto the racetrack," claims Hartsell.

I Make Em Shake, owned and bred by Betty Jo Spence was the fastest qualifier in trials for the $52,280 TQHA Sires' Cup Derby (RG3). The gray son of Royal Shake Em will be heavily favored in the final. Trained by Philip Calais. I Make Em Shake will be ridden by Alvin Brossette and will break from the six hole. He was the winner of the 2003 TQHA Sires' Cup Futurity and would be just the second horse in Sam Houston Race Park's track history to win both the Futurity and Derby. No Tools Required was the only previous American Quarter Horse at Sam Houston Race Park to accomplish that feat, winning the TQHA Sires' Cup Futurity in 2001 and the Derby in 2002. In addition to his stakes win in the 2003 TQHA Sires' Cup Futurity, I Make Em Shake won the Grade 1 Dash for Cash Futurity last October at Lone Star Park.

He has bankrolled $252,326 to date in his impressive career.

Splendid Sam Perry, the second fastest qualifier, will break from post position two under Rodrigo Vallejo. Trained by Janie Hernandez, the son of Mr Jess Perry has won both of his career starts at Sam Houston Race Park. Trainer John Buchanan will saddle Ima Perry Girl, who ran second in both the Grade 1 Sam Houston Futurity last September and the Dash for Cash Futurity at Lone Star Park.

Post time for Saturday night's card is 7:00 p.m. The TQHA Sires' Cup Derby will run as the sixth race (9:10 p.m.) and the TQHA Sires' Cup Futurity will be the eighth race of the evening (10:02 p.m.).

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