|Big Crowds Expected This Saturday for Camel and Ostrich Races at Sam Houston Race Park
(Houston, Texas - Wednesday, March 8, 2012) - For the first time ever, Sam Houston Race Park will present exotic racing featuring Camel and Ostrich races. The family-friendly action will be featured in between the Saturday evening Thoroughbred races on March 10. Fans will be able to root for their favorite camel and ostrich as they race a distance of approximately 100 yards.
These races have become hugely popular at many racetracks across the country including Remington Park in Oklahoma, Prairie Meadows in Iowa, Ellis Park in Kentucky and Canterbury Park in Minnesota. Fans of all ages enjoy the fast and sometimes unpredictable sprints from both camels, which can be ridden by celebrity jockeys and ostriches, which must be ridden by jockeys or exercise riders.
Racing camels can reach speeds of 12mph at the gallop, and celebrities, including Jerome Solomon, the Houston Chronicle sports columnist, and Sam Houston Race Park's president Andréa Young will serve as honorary jockeys. The race will be called by track announcer, Tom Harris, who will undoubtedly be as entertaining as the actual races.
In addition, the world-renown Budweiser Clydesdales will make an appearance at Sam Houston Race Park on Friday and will perform on Saturday. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with the first Thoroughbred race at 7:00 p.m. For more information, visit shrp.com.
Strong Field Set for the Spring Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge Stakes
The final stakes of the 2012 Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred meet is set for Saturday evening. The $50,000 Spring Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge Stakes will feature 3-year-olds at a distance of one mile.
Trainer Steve Asmussen sends in the entry of Boca Bay and Patchwork for owner Will S. Farish. Both made their stakes debut in the $100,000 Jim's Orbit at Sam Houston on February 18; Boca Bay ran second to Defiant Flyer and Patchwork was fourth. Both are progeny of Too Much Bling, who stands at Lane's End Texas. Boca Bay made his racing debut last April at Keeneland. He has won two of his nine career efforts. Patchwork won at first asking on February 10 at Sam Houston, coming off the pace under rider Roman Chapa.
Trainer Allen Milligan will ship in King Coral from Oaklawn Park. The son of Limehouse broke his maiden last June at Lone Star Park and won a $30,000 allowance at Remington Park on November 17. Milligan ran him in two tough stakes at Oaklawn Park, the $100,000 Smarty Jones on January 12 and the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest Stakes one month later. He did not hit the board in either, so Milligan and assistant trainer, Jeanette Hughes, felt that the Saturday's feature would be a good spot for the Kentucky-bred owned by Mike Carson.
"His best race was at Remington last November," said Hughes. "This will be a little softer spot than Oaklawn. He's training great and we are expecting good things from him on Saturday."
Sam Houston leading rider, Glen Murphy, who rode King Coral to victory at Remington Park, retains the mount and will break from the far outside post.
Another Oaklawn Park invader is Slamit, a Florida-bred son of Grand Slam, trained by Tim Ice. Jockey Chris Landeros will ride the dark bay colt, who exits his maiden-breaking win at Hot Springs on February 18.
Powerpointer will make his Sam Houston debut for trainer Tom Amoss. The Kentucky-bred son of El Corredor won a 7 1/2 furlong maiden special weight on December 20 at Delta Downs. Jockey James Graham has the mount.
The remainder of the field includes Sam Houston allowance winner, Ishararuler with Gerardo Mora aboard for the Brent Davidson barn; Private Cat, who exits a front-running allowance score here on February 12 for trainer Johnny Johnson and the lightly raced Mr Why Why who will be making his third career start for conditioner Christie Grisham.
The $50,000 Spring Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge Stakes will run as the ninth race of the Saturday evening card, with an estimated post time of 10:28 p.m. (CT).
Maxxam Gold Cup Update
Trainer Al Stall, Jr. reports that Cease, the impressive winner of the $150,000 Maxxam Gold Cup, has come out of the race in good order. He shipped back to Stall's Fair Grounds barn on Sunday and Stall was pleased with the stakes victory by the Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider homebred.
"He ran a huge race," said Stall. "I watched him in the paddock and was confident he was sitting on a big effort. The good horses know when they are going into battle. He handled himself so well."
Stall was quick to give credit to winning jockey Glen Murphy, who is at the top of his game this meet.
"I've known Glen for a long time, and he's ridden many races for us," added Stall. "He timed his move perfectly; that's what you see when a rider has a lot of confidence."
Stall indicated that Cease will be pointed to the Grade 2, $400,000 New Orleans Handicap on April 1 at Fair Grounds. The Grade 2 main track feature will be run at distance of a mile and one-eighth, the same as the Maxxam.
This was the first Maxxam Gold Cup victory for Murphy, who has four stakes wins this meet including the $50,000 Jersey Lilly Stakes aboard Always In My Heart for trainer Donnie Von Hemel; the $50,000 Spirit of Texas with Solar Charge from the Karl Broberg barn and Joy’s Paradise in the $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes, also trained by Broberg.
Big Night at the Darley Awards for Owner Sam Vasquez
The Darley Awards, the Arabian racing version of Thoroughbred racing's Eclipse Awards, were held in Houston on March 4. Sunday night's festivities marked the 25th anniversary of the prestigious awards honoring the outstanding breeder, owner, horse and trainer for 2011.
Sam Vasquez, of Galveston, Texas, is a dry wall contractor with a passion for Arabian racehorses. He has been heavily involved in Arabian racing as an owner and breeder since 1991. Vasquez was the Darley Owner of the Year in 2008 and two of his horses, Golly Bret and Jessys Princess, were also honored.
On Sunday night, Vasquez picked up his second leading owner award and his first Horse of the Year trophy. T M Fred Texas, the 5-year-old son of Burning Sand won 9 of his 13 races in 2011.
Vasquez sold the multiple stakes winner to Shiek Joaan Bin Hamad K. H. Al-Thani for six figures at the end of the year. After receiving the prestigious award, Vasquez thanked the new owner as well as Todd Moak, who bred T M Fred Texas.
Trainer, Jockey and Owner Standings
Karl Broberg remains in sole possession of first place with wins from 25 of his 89 starters. Should he hold off a late rally, he will pick up his third consecutive Sam Houston leading trainer title when the Thoroughbred meet wraps on Monday, March 12. Steve Asmussen is second in the standings with 17 wins and Joe Offolter continues to have a strong meet with 14 trips to the winner's circle. Danny Pish is fourth with 12 victories and Brent Davidson and Jerenesto Torrez are tied with 10 winners each.
Glen Murphy, who was the leading rider in the 2000 Sam Houston meet, has been a force to be reckoned with, and has built an insurmountable lead in the jockey standings heading into the final four days of the meet, He won four races on the Saturday night card, including the $150,000 Maxxam Gold Cup. Murphy has a total of 40-wins and is the leading money earner with $618,370. Apprentice Gerardo Mora is second with 28 wins. Larry Taylor is third with 24 victories and Chris Landeros and Roman Chapa are tied for fifth with 21 victories to date. Landeros, who will depart Texas to ride the Florida circuit next week, is second in purse earnings with $367,287.
In the owner standings, Steve Asmussen, who was honored as leading owner in 2005 and 2010, has six wins. Jose Luis Espinoza follows closely with five winners and Kathy Stephens and Frank Nieschwietz have won four races. Horses owned by Clarence Scharbauer, Jr., Monarch Thoroughbreds, LLC, Hall's Family Trust, Pharme Racing, Pozo e Luna, Inc. and Ronald Kotara have each won three races this meet.