-photo by Coady Photography
|Grilla and RB Burn Baby Burn Capture Arabian Stakes on Saturday, March 8 at Sam Houston Race Park
Houston, Texas (Saturday, March 8, 2014) - Sam Houston Race Park hosted two prestigious Arabian stakes on Saturday, March 8. The $47,000 Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup and $41,000 HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies IFAHR World Championship. The races are stops on an international tour as part of the Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival.
A field of 10 fillies was assembled for the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship IFAHR Cup, at a distance of seven furlongs. The stakes featured all female jockeys for the third year in a row and it was Sandee Dee Martin who guided RB Burn Baby Burn to victory in commanding fashion.
RB Burn Baby Burn notched her third win of the Sam Houston Race Park meet, returning off a gate to wire score in the Grade 2, $30,000 Texas Yellow Rose on February 22. Trained by Jerenesto Torrez, the four-year-old daughter of TH Richie is owned by Rosebrook Farms LLC covered seven furlongs over a sloppy track in 1:35.38.
Sent off as the favorite, RB Burn Baby Burn paid $5.40 for the win. Ms Dixie ran second under Silja Storen, followed by Zells Follies and TTT Dark Diamond.
A talented group of nine colts and geldings showed their mettle in the Grade 1, HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup. Bill Waldron's homebred Grilla was a seven length winner under a ground saving trip by rider David Cabrera. This was the 11th career win for the eight-year-old son of Kong, who surpassed the $200,000 mark in career earnings with tonight’s victory.
Grilla was also sent to the gates as the betting favorite and returned $4.40 to his supporters. He crossed the wire of the seven furlong stakes in 1:32.62. RB Champage Taste ran second with Gerardo Mora in the irons. Mora lodged a claim of interference against Cabrera for action at the top of the stretch, but the stewards did not uphold his objection. Burning Fleet, winner of the Grade 2, $30,000 Texas Six Shooter two weeks ago, ran third and Sand On Fire completed the superfecta.
Camel and Ostrich Races a Big Hit For Two Nights at Sam Houston Race Park
For the third year in a row, Sam Houston Race Park presented exotic racing featuring Camel and Ostrich races. Due to its popularity, the family-friendly event was expanded to two nights. Despite showers on Saturday evening, attendance for the two-night event was up 28% over last year's festivities. Fans were able to root for their favorite camel and ostrich as they raced a distance of approximately 100 yards.
On Friday evening, the winning camel was "CamElvis Presley", ridden confidently by Dinah Powers, KTBZ The Buzz. She donated her $500 winner's check to The Houston Food Bank. Powers was able to hold off fellow competitors Andrea Young, Sam Houston Race Park's President, Connected K, KGLK, The Eagle and Samica Knight, KTRK Channel 13.
Special K of the Roula and Ryan Show on 104 KRBE was the champion on Saturday night. He guided "Equalacam" to victory and rode for his charity, HRC, the Race for Equality. 2013 champion, Chita Johnson, KHOU Channel 11, Sarah Pepper, KKHH Hot 95.7 and Lauren, KHMX Mix 96.5, braved the rain and were gracious in defeat.
Sam Houston apprentice jockey Victor Briseno won both Friday's and Saturday's ostrich races, breaking cleanly and finishing by daylight over his four rivals.
"I had never ridden an Ostrich before, but was told to just sit still and keep my balance," said the 19-year-old rider. "They were really fun to ride."
Frank Stacks to Serve as Racing Secretary for the 2014 Quarter Horse Meet
Frank Stacks, who has served as the assistant racing secretary for the 2014 Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred meeting, will take on the role of racing secretary for the upcoming Quarter Horse season. Sam Houston Race Park officials made this decision following last week's announcement that Eric Johnston has accepted the Director of Racing Operations role for Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.
Stacks has served in numerous racing office positions in his 30-year career in the industry at racetracks including Oaklawn Park, Louisiana Downs and Great Lakes Downs. More recently, he served as racing secretary at Presque Isle Downs Racetrack and Casino from 2008 - 2012.
The 2014 Quarter Horse meet begins on March 21 and continues through May 11.
"We are pleased to have Frank Stacks assume the duties of racing secretary for the 2014 Quarter Horse meet," said Sam Houston Race Park president, Andrea Young. "While we will miss Eric greatly, Frank is an experienced racing professional who has done a great job throughout our Thoroughbred meet."
End of the Meet Awards to be Presented on Tuesday, March 11
Steve Asmussen, who has won five 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 18 wins. Eric Reed, who shipped a string to Houston for the first time this year, follows closely with16 victories.
Texas businessman Danny Keene added two wins on Friday evening to clinch his first Sam Houston Race Park leading owner title. Keene has won 16 races.
The battle for leading rider will go down to the wire, with 2013 champion Gerardo Mora tied with Deshawn Parker heading into Monday's card. Both riders have 34 wins.