||Sam Houston Race Park Hosts Texas Champions Stakes Over the Final Weekend of the Live Thoroughbred Racing Season
Houston, Texas (Tuesday, March 7, 2017) - Sam Houston Race Park will salute accredited Texas-breds on the final weekend of the 2017 Thoroughbred racing season. Texas Champions Weekend will feature seven stakes over the final four days of the meet.
Interspersed with the racing action will be two promotions. Friday is College Night at the Track, so support your favorite university by wearing your college shirt and you will get general admission for just $5 at the gate. There will also be 50-cent beer and $1.50 wine from 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Saturday marks the first-ever SHRP Track-Athalon, with several entertaining races such as the lawn mower race, human hamster balls, children's stick pony races, and sumo suits happening right on the track between the horse races. Post time on Friday is 7:00 p.m.; the Saturday night card gets underway at 6:15 p.m.
$50,000 Bara Lass Stakes Kicks off Texas Champions Weekend
A field of six accredited Texas-bred fillies will compete six furlongs in the first of seven Texas Champions Weekend stakes, the $50,000 Bara Lass. Trainer Bret Calhoun ran three fillies in the $65,000 Two Altazano on February 18, and two will make their return on Friday evening.
Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch own Kat's Infatuation, who was a game runner-up to Archer City last month and has been installed as the even-money favorite. Jockey C.J. McMahon will reunite with the Silver City filly, breaking from post position four.
"Kat's Infatuation has changed her running style from pure speed," said Calhoun. "She has gotten to where she can sit off the pace and pounce."
Calhoun's other trainee, Gold Shock, will make her eighth career start for owner Douglas Scharbauer. The daughter of My Golden Song is the highest earner in the field, with stakes placings at Lone Star Park, Retama and Remington Park.
"This is a better post for this filly," stated Calhoun. "Once Lindey got her off the rail, she got in gear; she's just never liked the rail."
The field also includes Mighty Ferrari, who ran fourth in the Two Altazano and three fillies making their stakes debut: Bixie, Cat’s Kitten and Miss Photo.
Nine Fillies and Mares to Run in the $50,000 San Jacinto Stakes
Also, on Friday, fillies and mares will take to the Connally Turf Course for the mile and one-sixteenth San Jacinto Stakes.
Calhoun and Scharbauer will be prominent in this feature with More Than Most, a four-year-old Indygo Mountain filly bred by the late Clarence Scharbauer. The multiple-stakes winner has won seven of her 16 career efforts, earning $242,464 to date. She made her Sam Houston Race Park debut on January 31, winning her allowance prep by one length. Calhoun has given the mount to McMahon, and expects her to run well.
"She is a very good filly, but maybe more consistent on turf," said Calhoun. "It was a workmanlike prep, and DeShawn did a good job on her. I hated to take him off, but we are bringing C. J. in and felt we had to make it worth his while."
Trainer Mindy Willis will saddle two mares in the San Jacinto Stakes. Special Rockstar, owned by Star Bright Thoroughbreds, will break from the rail under David Cabrera. The five-year-old mare by Special Rate prepped for this with a solid allowance score on February 7. Willis' other runner is Richard P. Chandler's Texas Belle. The daughter of Angliana will be making her 22nd career start and will be ridden by Paul Nolan.
Danny Pish's homebred Pa Loli was no match for More Than Most earlier this meet, but the five-year-old daughter of Silent Picture has won five turf races. Ted Gondron will ride for Pish, who has saddled four previous San Jacinto Stakes champions.
Soul Affair will make her stakes debut after two impressive front-running scores at Retama Park and a six-length romp in an allowance here on January 27. The Century Acres Farm homebred daughter of Grasshopper is trained by Tina Rena Hurley and will have jockey Ivan Arellano in the irons.
The San Jacinto Stakes is set as the eighth race on Friday's card.
Prada’s Bling Leads the Field in the $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes
Saturday night's action begins with a field of ten fillies and mares in the six furlong $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes.
Trainer Karl Broberg won back-to-back editions of the Yellow Rose in 2011 and 2012 with Truly Lucky and Joy's Paradise. He claimed Prada's Bling last December at Delta Downs for $25,000, and has tabbed Sasha Risenhoover to ride the five-year-old daughter of Too Much Bling.
"She's going to get out there and give it her best," said Broberg. "The race came up pretty tough."
Zippit E, bred and owned by Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch, has not run since July 17 at Lone Star Park. She had built an impressive three-race win streak for Calhoun, who reports that a few minor injuries kept her out of action for the duration of her three-year-old campaign. The My Golden Song filly will make her Sam Houston debut under rider DeShawn Parker and has posted a solid series of works for her return.
Trainer Danny Pish will saddle My Master Plan, a four-year old Oratory filly, who ships in from Oaklawn Park. Owned by Joyce D. McGough, My Master Plan was stakes placed at Prairie Meadows last year and will be ridden by Paul Nolan.
Jolie Mon, a four-year-old daughter of Too Much Bling owned by Susan Archer, is another top contender in the Yellow Rose. Trained by Robert Young, Jolie Mon will be making her 11th start and won a six furlong allowance here in January, 2016. David Cabrera will ride the gray filly, breaking from post position three. Valid Bride, who breaks from the far outside post for conditioner Jaime Castellanos, is also a filly to watch.
Magna Breeze Returns in the $50,000 Richard King Stakes
A contentious field of ten turf specialists will compete in the $50,000 Richard King Stakes, for four-year-olds and upward at a mile and one-eighth on the Connally Turf Course.
Multiple-stakes winner, Magna Breeze, a seven-year-old son of Magna Graduate owned and trained by Steve Asmussen, returns to action in hopes of securing his second stakes win of the meet. He was victorious in the $50,000 Houston Turf Stakes on February 11 and will be ridden, once again, by current Sam Houston Race Park leading jockey, Iram Diego. Asmussen, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last August, remains a strong supporter of Texas racing and looks poised to pick up his eighth Sam Houston Race Park leading trainer title next week.
Sing It Up, owned by Powderhorn Racing, who ran a very game second to Magna Breeze at odds of 43-1, is also entered and reunites with jockey Jason Eads. The five-year-old son of Sing Baby Sing has won three of his ten starts at Sam Houston for trainer Nathan Hatcher. Also returning from the Houston Turf Stakes are Mav Master, who ran third under rider Paul Nolan; Early Ride, Special Praise, Can't Be Wrong and Preacher Preacher.
The Richard King will run as the eighth race of the ten-race card.
Camel and Ostrich Races Draw Huge Crowds at Sam Houston Race Park
For the sixth year in a row, Sam Houston Race Park presented family-friendly Camel and Ostrich races. The promotion has been expanded to two nights, and despite rain on Saturday, huge crowds were in attendance, rooting for their favorite Camel and Ostrich as they raced approximately 100 yards.
Four local celebrities served as "trainers" for the eight-foot tall Camels, who sprinted 100 yards in front of the enthusiastic patrons. This year's winning trainer on Friday night was Krystina Ramey, of the 104 KRBE Roula & Ryan Morning Show. She selected the Houston Area Women's Center as her charity. Fred Faour, of ESPN 97.5 FM, had the winning camel on Saturday evening. He designated the 100 Club as his charity. Sam Houston Race Park donated $500 to both.