First Ever Derby Dog Dash and $50,000 Sam Houston Sprint Cup Set for Saturday, February 21 at Sam Houston Race Park

Houston, Texas (Wednesday, February 18, 2015) - The popular Wiener Dog races at Sam Houston Race Park will take on a new twist on Saturday, February 21, 2015. This year, Houston's fastest Wiener Dogs will have competition from small dogs of other breeds in the first ever Derby Dog Dash.

The fun-filled and family-friendly event will feature small dog races a distance of approximately 30 yards in between live Thoroughbred horse races. In addition to racing events, Sam Houston Race Park will offer $1 hot dogs and offer families a chance to bring their four legged best friend to watch the dog races from our pet friendly Pavilion.

Weekend festivities kick off on Friday evening with an appearance by the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales. Presented by Anheuser-Busch and Silver Eagle Distributors, the legendary The Clydesdales, which feature a hitch of 10 Clydesdales along with lead driver Manny Raber, plus their trusty companion, a two-year-old Dalmatian named Clyde. The Clydesdales will perform live on the track following Friday night's first horse race with a 7:00 pm post time, weather permitting.

It is always 50 Cent Beer Fridays, featuring 50 cent draft beer and $1.50 wine specials from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Rise Up Leads the Field in Saturday's $50,000 Sam Houston Sprint Cup

This weekend's feature at Sam Houston Race Park is the $50,000 Sam Houston Sprint Cup. A contentious field of nine will compete in the six furlong contest on Saturday, February 21.

Paul Van Doren's Rise Up makes his Sam Houston Race Park debut for trainer Tom Amoss. The four-year-old son of Rockport Harbor captured the 2013 Delta Jackpot under jockey Gerard Melancon, who will ship in Saturday to ride the bay colt.

Amoss has a noted history of shipping in for stakes at Sam Houston Race Park. In 2014, his turf sprinter Sum of the Parts, set a five-furlong turf track record in the Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint, and last month Heitai defeated ten rivals in the 2015 edition of the stakes.

Rise Up, who won the $1 million Delta Jackpot and the one-mile Woodchopper Stakes at Fair Grounds on December 27, shortens to six furlongs Saturday night.

"The tardy start from the gate cost him his last race," Amoss said of Rise Up's third-place finish at Fair Grounds on January 18. "I expect him to do well Saturday."

Rise Up did not meet his reserve offering of $27,000 in the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale. Van Doren's colt has earned $925,215 in 16 career starts.

Ghost is Clear, owned and trained by Mike Maker, will break from the far outside post under Sam Houston's leading rider, Deshawn Parker. The seven-year-old son of Ghostzapper ships to Houston in pursuit of his third consecutive win. He captured the $50,000 Forego over the Turfway Park polytrack on January 17, which was his 12th win from 37 starts.

Multiple-stakes winner Solar Charge, returns off his second-place finish in the $50,000 Bucharest Stakes here on February 7. Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez will ride the eight-year-old Texas-bred, who is the second highest earner in the field with $462,094 to date.

Johnny Whip, winner of the Silver Goblin Stakes at Remington Park on November 21, drew the rail, with David Cabrera in the irons. Flat Black, who ran fourth in last year's edition of the stakes, will return for trainer Tim Williams, along with Only Liquour, Unbridled Giant, Saturday's Charm and Daybreak Dreamer.

Live racing on Saturday evening gets underway at 6:00 p.m. (CT). The Sam Houston Sprint Cup runs as the ninth race on the card, which also includes two Arabian stakes, the Grade 2, $30,000 Texas Six-Shooter and Grade 2, $30,000 Texas Yellow Rose.

Several Options for Promise Me Silver, Two Altazano Winner Last Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park

The undefeated filly Promise Me Silver lived up to her star billing last Saturday night as she won the $75,000 Two Altazano Stakes in effortless fashion.

Trainer Bret Calhoun reported that she came out of the race in good order and vanned back to the Evangeline Downs Training Center on Sunday morning.

"It couldn't have gone any better," said Calhoun of her sixth straight score on Saturday night. "She has answered every question we have ever asked of her."

The only question he faces in planning her next start is if she will sprint or route, and he does not want to be overly ambitious in stretching her out too quickly.

"It was always our goal to stretch her out, and we liked the way she handled seven furlongs (in the Two Altazano)," said Calhoun. "There are several options in the works: the Honeybee at Oaklawn Park, the Sunland Oaks, or maybe even the stakes at Laurel if we can make the proper flight arrangements."

Calhoun is not sure when Supermason, winner of the $75,000 Jim's Orbit, will make his next start. The son of Grasshopper is owned by Brad Grady and outclassed his five rivals with an impressive front running victory last weekend. Options include the six-furlong Gazebo Stakes at Oaklawn Park or waiting for the Texas-bred stakes at Lone Star Park in May.

"The horse has a world of talent but mentally hasn't shown up in many of his races," commented Calhoun. "The win last Saturday was a huge confidence builder, and I couldn't be happier for the owners. They have put a lot of money into this game and have been very patient with me."

Nominations Closed for Maxxam Gold On February 28

Nominations closed on February 16 for the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup, $50,000 Jersey Lilly and $50,000 Texas Heritage Stakes.

The Sam Houston racing office confirmed that 23 horses are listed for the Maxxam, the mile and one-eighth handicap for older horses.

The Maxxam Gold Cup has produced exceptional champions since its first running in 1994, including Sir Cherokee, Valhol, Student Council and Alumni Hall. Last year's winner, Red Rifle owned by Twin Creeks Racing LLC, went on to win two stakes, including the Grade 2, Hawthorne Gold Cup.

The Saturday February 28th card will also include the Jersey Lilly Stakes for fillies and mares on the turf as well as the one-mile Texas Heritage Stakes for three-year-olds.

Sam Houston Race Park is Host Site for Cirque du Soleil Event

Sam Houston Race Park is pleased to be the host site for a unique and exquisite entertainment experience of Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna. The production opened Thursday, February 12, and performances will run through March 22. For show times and to order tickets, click here.

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