Fields Set for Saturday Night's Texas Champions Day at Sam Houston Race Park

(November 17, 2004)- The draw took place today for Texas Champions Day, one of the biggest days of racing for Sam Houston Race Park. This showcase event for Texas-bred Thoroughbreds, presented by the Texas Thoroughbred Association (TTA), is set for Saturday, November 20 with a special post time of 6:00 p.m.

Nine stakes races and two starter allowances are set for Texas Champions Day Eight of the stakes are written for accredited Texas-breds and the $150,000 Sam Houston Texan Juvenile, is open to 2-year-olds, with a preference for Thoroughbreds owned by Texans. Since its first running in 1997 many of the winners have gone on to national prominence as Triple Crown contenders, including Snuck In and Fifty Stars. Last year's champion, America America, was the first filly to have captured the Sam Houston Texan Juvenile. She was ridden to victory by Roman Chapa and while no fillies are entered in this year's edition of the race, Chapa will ride the 7-5 morning line favorite, Leaving On My Mind. Trained by Danny Pish, the 2-year-old son of Valid Expectations has exceeded all expectations this year, winning five of his 11 starts, including his last four stakes races. He won the $50,000 Mocha Express at Lone Star on October 23 and was a five-length winner on the $100,000 Jean Lafitt at Delta Downs on November 6. Owned by George A.

Wolff, Leaving On My Mind has already won $283,373 which is $50,000 more than the combined career earnings of his eight rivals on Saturday.
"He's doing everything right for us," commented Pish. "Roman tells me that he has never really asked him to run; he's won his last four races easily.
He's run two-turn races and while he will be asked to run the extra sixteenth of a mile in the Juvenile, I think he will handle it. If all goes well, he will make his next start in the $1,000,000 Delta Jackpot (on December 4)."

Trainer Kenneth McPeek, who saddled Take Charge Lady in her victory in the 2002 NTRA Great State Challenge, has shipped in Boggy Creek for the Sam Houston Texan Juvenile. Owned by John Parker, Boggy Creek won an allowance race at Turfway Park on September 24 and ran sixth in the $112,000 Bourbon County at Keeneland last month. Carlos Marquez, who had ridden Boggy Creek to his victory at Arlington Park on September 4, will ride. El Batallon, a son of High Yield, has competed in three stakes in his career for owner Ro Parra. Trainer Steve Asmussen has given the call to Donnie Meche.

The $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes, the distaff sprint championship race, will be run as Race 2 on the 11 race card. Trainer Steve Asmussen, who has won four leading training titles at Sam Houston Race Park, will send out last year's Bara Lass champion Sago under Donnie Meche. Owned by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, Sago won the first four starts of her career culminating with her Bara Lass win then took an eight-month break from racing after running fifth in the Texas Stallion Stakes. The bay filly worked sharply at Lone Star Park and posted the second fastest ½ mile of the day on a sloppy Sam Houston Race Park Brazos River Sand surface Wednesday as her final prep for the Yellow Rose Stakes. Meche's twin brother, Lonnie will ride Countryfide, a 4-year-old daughter of Confide. She ran second in the Majorette Handicap at Louisiana Downs in her most recent for trainer Morris Nicks.

Last year's two winners from the $100,000 Star Of Texas Stakes, Desert Darby from the barn of Steve Asmussen and Record Assembly, owned and bred by Charles Hukill, are entered in this year's race. The two Texas-breds dueled to the wire and finished in the first dead-heat in Texas Champions Day history. They will be joined by 2002 Star of Texas champion, Rare Cure and Lights on Broadway who won the 2000 and 2001 editions of the stakes.

Racing fans are invited to attend a free handicapping seminar with Scott Ehlers of the Daily Racing Form and Reid McLellan, Sam Houston Race Park's racing education manager. The seminar will take place on the Club Level stage at 4:30 p.m. with the experts previewing each of the eleven races on the Texas Champions Day card. A $2,500 Texas Champions Day Online Handicapping Contest is also highlighting the weekend and prize drawings will take place throughout Saturday evening and live music performed on the south apron stage.

For more information on the events and racing set for Texas Champions Day, call (281) 807-8760 or visit the Sam Houston Race Park web

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