||Sand On Fire and Burning Fleet Impressive Winners in the Arabian Racing Festival at Sam Houston Race Park
Houston, Texas (Saturday, March 7, 2015) - Sam Houston Race Park hosted two prestigious Arabian stakes on Saturday, March 7, the $45,000 Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup – Amethyst Jewel and $38,500 HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies IFAHR Cup, both at a distance of seven furlongs.
Sand on Fire Springs the Upset in the $38,500 HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies IFAHR Cup
A field of nine Arabian fillies competed in the $38,500 HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR Cup. The race featured all female jockeys for the fourth year in a row.
It was British rider Rebecca Smith who guided Sand on Fire to victory, coming off the pace to hand All N All her first defeat. The six-year-old daughter of Burning Sand is owned and bred by Jane Teutsch and trained by Scott Powell. She was making her 29th career start, with tonight's victory her sixth lifetime win.
"Sand on Fire did great," said Powell. "We knew she would be tough. It was the luck of the draw with the riders, but Rebecca did exactly what she needed to do."
"She was a little slow out of the gate," said Smith. "The trainer told me to keep hustling and she would run on for me. We had a lovely line and she was fantastic!"
Cre Enterprises LLC's All N All returned off a gate-to-wire score in the Grade 2, $30,000 Texas Yellow Rose on February 21. The four-year-old Dahess filly was saddled by Lynn Ashby, who gave a leg up to Hungarian rider Alexandra Bihari.
Sand on Fire, sent off at odds of 17-1, paid $36.60 for the win, covering seven furlongs in 1:34.93. All N All ran second, and Throughleap, from the barn of Jerenesto Torrez, ran third, followed by RB Frynch Broad.
Burning Fleet Front Running Victor in the $45,000 HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup - Amethyst Jewel
A talented group of 11 colts and geldings showed their mettle in the Grade 1, HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup. Betty and Joseph Gillis' homebred Burning Fleet won in gate-to-wire fashion under jockey Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez, covering seven furlongs in 1:33.11.
Trainer Jerenesto Torrez conditions the five-year-old son of Burning Sand, who won the Texas Arabian Derby at Retama Park on November 14 by 20 lengths. This was his fifth win from 14 starts, and he did it with confidence.
"This horse needs to go to the lead," said Torrez. "When he gets in front, he does his best running."
Burning Fleet returned $11.40 for the win. Paddys Day, winner of the Grade 2, $30,000 Texas Six Shooter two weeks ago, was a game second for Quarter Moon Ranch LLC. Jockey Kelsi Purcell had the call aboard the four-year-old Burning Sand colt, who has won three of his last four starts. Quick and Rich was third under Paul Nolan, followed by Our Princess.
Valiant Boy SbFar was scratched as two flights were cancelled due to winter storms and the seven-year-old French-bred stallion never made it to Houston.
Camel, Zebra and Ostrich Races Draw Huge Crowds at Sam Houston Race Park
For the fourth year in a row, Sam Houston Race Park presented family-friendly exotic animal racing. This year, the action included zebra, camel and ostrich races. The promotion has been expanded to two nights, and 24,568 fans were in attendance, rooting for their favorite camel, zebra and ostrich as they raced a distance of approximately 100 yards.
Four brave local celebrities got a leg up on the eight-foot tall camels and race 100 yards in front of the fervent crowd. On Saturday night, four ladies, Sarah Pepper, 95.7 Hot Hits; Lauren, KHMX Mix 96.5; and Marcy de Luna, Culture Map; and Hayley Hernandez of KPRC-2 were the brave jockeys. Sam Houston Race Park donated $500 to the winner, Marcy de Luna's charity of choice, Kids Meals, a lunch program serving impoverished youth in Houston.
End of the Meet Awards to be Presented on Tuesday, March 10
Just two more days remain in the 2015 Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred meet. Live racing returns on Monday at 1:00 p.m., and the Tuesday, March 10 card will be the final day. Racing is set for 1:00 p.m., and the top horsemen will be honored.
Steve Asmussen, who has won six leading training titles at Sam Houston Race Park, has been in the lead throughout the meet and currently has 25 wins. Danny Pish has four titles here and is in second-place in the standings with 21 wins.
Last year, Texas businessman Danny Keene clinched his first Sam Houston Race Park leading owner title in 2014. He is locked in a tight battle with Asmussen for this year's title.
Deshawn Parker has dominated the jockey colony throughout the 2015 Thoroughbred meet and has 50 wins. David Cabrera, who won leading rider titles at both Lone Star Park and Retama Park in 2014, is second with 38 trips to the winner's circle.