TM Junior Johnson
-photo by Jack Coady/Coady Photography
Arabian Flat Racing Festival Including First All-Female Rider Stakes Produced Exciting Finishes at Sam Houston Race Park

Houston, Texas (Saturday, March 3, 2012) - Sam Houston Race Park hosted two prestigious Arabian stakes on Saturday, March 3. The $30,000 Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup and $27,500 HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies IFAHR Cup were the first races of the year in a seven-race series as part of the Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival.

TM Junior Johnson was an impressive winner of the $30,000 Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup, defeating a top-caliber field of 11 Arabians. The 4-year-old son of Burning Sand is a full brother to TM Fred Texas, nominated as Horse of the Year as part of the 2012 Darley Awards. TM Junior Johnson won the $30,000 Texas Six Shooter for owner and breeder Todd Moak on February 18.

Rider Jose Figueroa controlled the race from the opening bell, crossing the finish line of the seven furlong stake in 1:33.35. Trained by Jerenesto Torrez, TM Junior Johnson has won five of his career starts. 

Sent off as the second betting choice, TM Junior Johnson paid $7.60 for the win. Status Symboll was a game runner-up as a 69-1 longshot. Its Far From Over was third and defending champion, Grilla completed the superfecta.

While Grilla's breeder and owner, Bill Waldron might have been disappointed, he quickly rebounded with a victory by Sanddpiper ($6.60) in the $27,500 HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies IFAHR Cup. The 5-year-old gray mare, also a daughter of Burning Sand, won the 2011 Yellow Rose Stakes at Sam Houston and proved that she has an affinity for the Houston oval this evening.

The all-female jockey race featured an exciting international roster of riders. Fatma Al Manji was the winning jockey, dueling with early pacesetter TM Super Bird, before drawing off to a two-length victory. Rich Kingha finished third and Lori Anne was fourth.

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