Fields Set for the $125,000 Two Altazano and $125,000 Jim's Orbit at Sam Houston Race Park

(February 14, 2007) - Two exciting races with full fields will take place on Saturday, February 17 at Sam Houston Race Park. The $125,000 Two Altazano and $125,000 Jim’s Orbit are two legs of the Texas Stallion Stakes. The series is underwritten by the Texas Thoroughbred Association (TTA) and is designed as an incentive for offspring of Texas-based stallions.

The Texas Stallion Stakes is a series of eight races that are run at each of the three Class 1 racetracks in Texas: Sam Houston Race Park, Retama Park and Lone Star Park. The purse for each division is $125,000 for a total of $1 million, making it one of the richest stallion stakes series in the country.

In 2005, the Texas Thoroughbred Association (TTA) renamed each of the Texas Stallion Stakes races to honor a famous Texas Thoroughbred. The colts and gelding division at Sam Houston Race Park has been named for Jim’s Orbit, who won the Grade 2 Ohio Derby and started in the 1988 Kentucky Derby. The fillies division is a tribute to Two Altazano, winner of the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks in 1994. The accomplished mare, owned by the late Harold V. Goodman, was inducted into the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2003.

Twelve fillies will go postward in the Two Altazano with Wrenice, 2006 Texas Thoroughbred Association 2-Year-Old Filly of the Year, as the 9-5 morning-line favorite. The 3-year-old daughter of Uncle Abbie is owned and bred in Texas by Stewart Hamblen of Canyon, Texas and trained by Randy Mayfield. She won five races in a row, including the $45,000 Houston Chronicle Stakes on November 18 and the seven-furlong $50,000 Bara Lass on December 2 at Sam Houston Race Park. She competed in the $50,000 Genesis Stakes at Delta Downs on January 26, where she ran second. Regular rider, Bobby Walker, Jr. has ridden the dark bay filly in each of her nine career starts and will be aboard on Saturday evening.

There are five fillies in the Two Altazano trained by the Asmussen family: Steve, who has won the Sam Houston Race Park training title a record five times and his sister-in-law, Cheryl Asmussen. Cheryl has the entry of Touchofreality and Stage Stop, who have been installed as the second betting choice at 4-1. Steve has three fillies in the Two Altazano, including Funny Tune, owned by Will S. Farish. The daughter of Dove Hunt was previously trained by Canadian condition, Mark Casse and will make her Texas debut with Robby Albarado aboard. Light Lace was closing nicely in the Bara Lass where she finished second to Wrenice. Asmussen has named Jamie Theriot to ride Light Lace and Jose Figueroa will remain on Swamp Lady, who just broke her maiden on February 2, but did so at the distance of one mile and 70 yards.

While last year Danny Pish saddled Brick Fight ($85.40), a longshot winner in the $125,000 Jim’s Orbit, his horse, Daddy Warbucks, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the 2007 edition of the Texas Stallion Stakes. The son of leading Texas sire, Valid Expections, has exceeded his expectations with a career record of four wins from six starts for owner William H. Bright. Daddy Warbucks won the $50,000 Groovy Stakes on Texas Champions Day and followed that up with a victory in the $50,000 Triple Sec Stakes at Delta Downs on January 26. Pish reported that the chestnut colt came out of the Delta race in good shape and has been training well at Sam Houston Race Park for this Saturday’s effort. Quincy Hamilton rode Brick Fight to victory last year and will return to Sam Houston Race Park to pilot Daddy Warbucks.

Power Surge from the barn of Bret Calhoun is the second betting choice at 4-1. Sired by Holzmeister, Power Surge ran second to Daddy Warbucks in the Texas Stallion Stakes at Retama Park last October, before shipping to Fair Grounds for his next two starts. He ran second in the $100,000 Louisiana Juvenile on December 9 and followed that up with a victory in the $75,000 Gentilly Stakes on January 20. Jamie Theriot will fly in from New Orleans to ride for Calhoun and owner Carl R. Moore Management LLC. Calhoun has another entrant in the Jim’s Orbit, Snifter’s Spirit, who will make his stakes debut Saturday night. His sire, Captain Countdown, was voted 2001 Sam Houston Race Park Horse of the Meeting. Texas Praise, closed for second in the Groovy Stakes and will return to Sam Houston Race Park for trainer Jim Hudson who has given the call to Robby Albarado.

“We are thrilled with the full fields and quality of both of the Texas Stallion Stakes,” said Eric Johnston, racing secretary at Sam Houston Race Park. “Racing fans in Houston and at simulcast facilities across the country will see the top horses in Texas this Saturday night.”

The Two Altazano will run as the sixth race of the Saturday evening program and the Jim’s Orbit is carded as the eighth. Post time is 7:00 p.m.

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