||Three Stakes Set for Saturday Evening at Sam Houston Race Park
Houston, Texas (Wednesday, February 10, 2016) - The weekend ahead at Sam Houston Race Park begins with the return of Food Truck Friday on Friday, February 12. Fans can enjoy delicacies from a number of popular vendors including: The Waffle Bus; Whatcha Cravin, Houston Finest Soul Food on Wheels; Custom Confections; Maine-iac Seafood; Nom Mi Street; Mingos Latin Kitchen; and Skye Café.
The stakes action on Saturday night includes three features: the $50,000 Houston Distaff, $50,000 Houston Turf and $50,000 Sam Houston Sprint Cup.
San Jacinto Stakes Winner Seneca Destiny Returns in the $50,000 Houston Distaff
Seneca Destiny was sent off as the 3-2 choice in the $50,000 San Jacinto Stakes on January 22 at Sam Houston Race Park and did not disappoint. The five-year-old daughter of Seneca Jones was bred by Keith Asmussen and is owned by Double Dip Stables. Trainer Brad Cox is hopeful that the five-year-old Seneca Jones mare will pick up her third consecutive victory on Saturday night. Florent Geroux, who had a very successful showing here on January 30, will ride.
"She's doing very well," said Cox. "We have her back at Fair Grounds, and she will ship back to Houston on Friday. We're excited to see her back on the turf!"
Seneca Destiny will face the second, third and fourth-place finisher in the San Jacinto, Whiskey Eyes, Molly's Honor and Infectious, as well as 2015 San Jacinto Stakes champion Expect Royalty, in the mile and one-sixteenth feature for accredited Texas-bred fillies and mares.
Danny Pish trains Infectious for owner/breeder Will S. Farish and will also saddle Swifterthantaylor. Jockey David Cabrera piloted Infectious to a turf win here on February 2 and retains the mount. Larry Taylor has ridden John Silverthorne Ranch, Inc's Swifterthantaylor in her last six starts and will guide the five-year-old daughter of My Golden Song on Saturday night.
"They've always gotten along," Pish said of Taylor riding Swifterthantaylor. "He's had good luck with the mare. She's a front-running type, and Infectious is more of a stalking, mid-pack runner, so hopefully one of them get can it done."
The Distaff runs as the fourth race of the ten race card, which gets underway at 6:15 pm.
Multiple Stakes Winner I Am Jane Dough Faces Nine in the $50,000 Houston Turf
A full field of accredited Texas-breds will compete in the second turf stakes of the evening, the $50,000 Houston Turf.
Rose Mary Chandler's homebred I Am Jane Dough came from off the pace to win the $50,000 Richard King Stakes on opening weekend. Trainer Danny Pish opted to test the five-year-old daughter of My Golden Song against the "boys" in the Richard King. With jockey Glenn Corbett in the irons, the dark bay mare closed from off the pace, winning the Richard King by a margin of 1 1/4 lengths.
"I entered her back against the boys again for a couple of reasons," said Pish. "I wanted to get DeShawn (Parker) to ride her as Glenn was not going to be here. Plus, a horse that comes from the clouds like she does benefits from a full field. A short field when they are all spread out doesn't give her the right set-up."
Rule Breaker, who ran sixth in last year's Richard King, rallied for second under Danny Sorenson. He will guide the six-year-old gelding, who is owned by P and D Racing Stable and trained by Brent Davidson.
"He needed his last race," said Sarah Davidson, who serves as assistant trainer for her father. "He will still have to face 'Jane', but some new horses in the field could change up the pace and better serve his stalking style."
One of the new shooters is 2015 Jim's Orbit winner Supermason, who will make his first career start on grass for owner Brad Grady and trainer Bret Calhoun. Sired by Grasshopper, Supermason will be ridden by Lindey Wade, who was aboard for his six-length score in the Texas Stallion Stakes last May at Lone Star Park.
William J. Buck Butler's Magna Breeze, a six-year-old son of Magna Graduate trained by Mike Maker, will be another prominent entrant in the mile and one-sixteenth stakes. He won last year's Jersey Village Stakes and ran in the Richard King on January 23, finishing in a dead-heat with P Millers Clock. Maker looks for a better effort Saturday from his charge.
"Last race was a speed duel, and a mile and an eighth is not his best distance," said Maker. "He runs well in Houston; he shortens up, and I think he gets the job done."
Competitive Field Drawn for the $50,000 Sam Houston Sprint Cup
The final feature of the card, the $50,000 Sam Houston Sprint Cup Stakes, drew a compact, but contentious field of runners at six furlongs.
Cox sends in Double Ours, owned by Bryan D. Foster. The six-year-old Florida-bred is Grade 3 placed and made his last start at Oaklawn Park on January 15.
"This will be his second race off a layoff," said Cox. "He ran well at Oaklawn at 5 1/2 furlongs. It might have been a little too short, but we were trying to get him back into racing form."
He will break from the rail under Florent Geroux, but Cox has no issue with his draw.
"Post position is no big deal for this horse," stated Cox. "He usually breaks sharp and finds his best stride two to three jumps into the race."
The field includes last year's champion, Ghost is Clear, owned and trained by Mike Maker, who has won 14 of his 42 career starts. The eight-year-old son of Ghostzapper won an $40,000 optional allowance at Turfway Park on January 6.
Trainer Joe Offolter will saddle Yonaguska Boy and Holiday Mischief. Lindey Wade will ride Yonaguska Boy, who makes his Sam Houston debut for James and Colleen Wilms. Jockey Gerardo Mora has the call on Holiday Mischief, co-owned by Offolter and Carter Thoroughbreds LLC. The six-year-old Kentucky-bred has picked up five checks in his seven previous Sam Houston Race Park starts.
Sam Houston Race Park Jockey, Trainer and Owner Standings
David Cabrera remains the leading rider in the 2016 Thoroughbred meet, winning 21 of his 111 starts. Iram Diego won eight races last week to move into second place in the standings with 20 trips to the winner's circle. DeShawn Parker, who was the leading rider at Sam Houston in the 2015 Thoroughbred meet, is third with 19 wins. Ernesto Valdez-Jimenez and Lindey Wade are tied for fourth with 14 wins each. Wade was the star of the Tuesday, February 9 card, winning three races on the card.
It's been a great meet for Mindy Wills, who has saddled 12 winners to take sole possession of the lead in the trainer standings. Steve Asmussen is second with 11 wins, and Karl Broberg follows with 10 victories throughout the first four weeks of the season. Danny Pish added three wins last week and is in fourth place with nine first-place finishes so far.
Asmussen is also off to a great start as an owner with six wins this meet. Mindy Willis and Stonewall Dominion LLC and Jose Luis Espinoza are tied for second with five victories. End Zone Athletics, Sonia Dupuy, Kenneth E. Sykes, Georgie Stuart and Henry Witt, Sr. each have three wins.