Texas Champions Day Set for Saturday, December 2 at Sam Houston Race Park

(November 28, 2006) - Sam Houston Race Park is proud to host Texas Champions Day, powered by Dodge, a celebration of the most remarkable horses, breeders, owners and trainers in Texas. The Saturday, December 2 event shines the national and local spotlight on the most exceptional Thoroughbreds in the Lone Star State.

Texas Champions Day will feature eight stakes races and purses of $500,000, a significant boon to the owners, trainers and jockeys in Texas.

The evening of the Texan experience will begin with a live concert with The evening of the Texan experience will begin with a live concert with Rick Trevino. Trevino is well known for super hits such as, “She Can’t Say I Didn’t Cry,” “Just Enough Rope,” “I Only Get This Way With You,” and “Honky Tonk Crowd.” The country artist will perform from 5:00-6:30 p.m. then Patrick Murphy will provide musical entertainment between each of the ten live races.

Racing fans are invited to enter the $1,000 Texas Champions Day Online Handicapping Contest. A complete set of rules is posted on the web site, shrp.com. In addition, the northwest Houston racetrack will offer a Texas Champions Day Handicapping Seminar at 6:30 p.m. on the free Theatre seat stage. Panelists will include Mary Rampellini of the Daily Racing Form, Denis Blake editor of the Texas Thoroughbred Association Magazine and Martha Claussen, Publicity Director at Sam Houston Race Park.

To make reservations for Texas Champions Day, call (281) 807-8760 or visit shrp.com.

Cool, Clear Weather Conditions Expected for Texas Champions Day

While the draw for Texas Champions Day will not take place until Wednesday, November 29, there is good news in the weather department. The extended forecast for Houston calls for clear, cool weather with a high of 60 degrees and temperatures dipping into the 40’s later in the evening. No rain is expected for the showcase event for Texas-bred racehorses on Saturday, December 2.

Jockey Crisis Fund Silent Auction Set for Saturday Night

Sam Houston Race Park will host a silent auction to benefit the Jockey Crisis Fund on Saturday, December 2, 2006. The fund was established to lend support to injured riders and their families in times of need and has assisted over 30 riders at Sam Houston Race Park.

“We have a very talented jockey colony this year at Sam Houston Race Park and they are extremely important to our organization, ” said Eric Johnston, racing secretary. “While we do everything to protect our riders, injuries can occur when a rider is aboard a 1,000 pound racehorse at speeds of 35 - 40 m.p.h. Trainers, owners and racing fans have expressed an interest in helping injured riders and their families. We are hopeful that the silent auction is successful in raising funds to assist our jockeys in their times of need.”

December 2 is Texas Champions Day, one of the most exceptional days of racing in the 2006/2007 Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred meeting. The premier racing event shines the spotlight on Texas-breds as they compete in eight stakes races with purses totaling $500,000. Racing fans will have an opportunity to bid on the following items, with all the proceeds benefiting the Jockey Crisis Fund:

  • Tickets to the Houston Texans vs The Cleveland Browns
  • Autographed baseball from Luke Scott of the Houston Astros
  • Stable tour conducted by jockey Amanda Crandall
  • Tickets to the Houston Rockets vs the Los Angeles Clippers
  • Superbowl Party for Ten in the Sam Houston Race Park Jockey Club
  • Weekend Package at the Exclusive Hotel Derek
  • Golf Bag courtesy of Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Houston
  • Stars of the Turf Peb Portfolio and Complete Set of the Elements of Handicapping Series Books courtesy of the Daily Racing Form
  • Photo of Kentucky Derby Winner, Barbaro
  • Dinner at Maggiano’s Little Italy

For more information on the Jockey Crisis Fund at Sam Houston Race Park, contact Chaplain John Shumaker at (281) 807-7236.

Sam Houston Race Park Jockeys Laud Record Set by Russell Baze

Thoroughbred jockey Russell Baze as continues his quest to break the all-time record of the legendary Laffitt Pincay, Jr., who retired in 2003 with 9,530 career wins. Baze, is five short of the record and is named on six mounts for the Sunday Bay Meadows program. Several of the Sam Houston Race Park riders were rooting for Baze and amazed by his milestone.

“That’s incredible,” said Larry Taylor, who celebrated his 1,000th career win last year. “I’ve been riding 20 years and I can tell you, that’s a lot of wins. I take my hat off to him.”

“He’s such a hard worker and a great role model for all riders,” commented Paul Nolan. “He may not have gotten the limelight that others have, but he’s won over 400 races a year, which is an incredible feat.”

Don Simington, who won his 2,000th career race on June 25, 2005 at Louisiana Downs, concurs.

“I think it’s a great accomplishment,” said Simington. “To be around that long and win that many races is special. I don’t care where you’re racing or who you’re racing against, they don’t give any of them away. You have to earn every one of them and he certainly has done that. He deserves all the respect in the world; he’s got mine.”

Jockey, Trainer and Owner Standings

John Jacinto, who was leading rider here in the 2001/2002, remains in the lead in the jockey standings following the second week of the meeting. Jacinto won four races last week and has a total of 11 wins to date. His win percentage of 26% tops his fellow riders. Larry Taylor and Roimes Chirinos, who finished first and second, respectively in the 2006 Retama Park meeting, are tied for second place with seven wins each. Paul Nolan added four wins for the week and has made six trips to the winner's circle. Filemon Rodriguez follows with five wins and Bobby Walker, Jr. has won four races this meet, including back-to-back weekend stakes. Walker guided Wrenice to victory in the $45,000 Houston Chronicle Stakes on November 18 and returned last Saturday with a hard-fought victory aboard Jack Grant in the $45,000 Bountiful Harvest Stakes.

Danny Pish, who was the leading trainer here last year, continues to lead in the standings with six wins, including two wins last weekend. Scott Blasi and Bret Calhoun are tied for second with five wins each. Both are posting some impressive stats with Blasi winning 45% of his starts and Calhoun scoring with each of his four starters on the November 25 card for a stellar win percentage of 71%. Michael Stidham follows with four wins and Jim Bausch has saddled three winners this meeting.

In the owner standings, Dallas horsemen, Larry Hirsch and Wayne Sanders had a big night on Saturday, November 25 as each of their three horses won. All are trained by Bret Calhoun and the highlight was the first stakes win for the talented 2-year-old, Jack Grant in the $45,000 Bountiful Harvest Stakes. Shrum Racing, Inc. follows with three wins and Colt Racing, Inc., Stephen R. Baker, Keith Asmussen and Oceanfront Properties and John B. Goodman each have won two races over the first six days of the Thoroughbred racing season.

Jockey Paul Nolan Off to a Good Start at Sam Houston Race Park

Rider Paul Nolan has started the meet on a winning streak. Nolan, 44, returned to the Sam Houston Race Park jockey colony this year, largely at the request of trainer Michael Stidham. He rode successfully for Stidham at Canterbury Park and Hawthorne this year and when Stidham’s regular Texas rider, Ted Gondron broke his leg last month, Stidham asked Nolan to head south.

Born in Rugeley, England, Nolan began his career at Royal Windsor in Great Britain and made his US debut in 2000. He has ridden six winners so far this meet; three have been for the Stidham barn and a close second on Tytus in the $45,000 Bountiful Harvest Stakes last weekend.

“My wife, Sherry and I have always liked Texas and were happy to return,” said Nolan. “It meant a great deal to me that Mike Stidham had confidence in my ability and this is a great career opportunity to ride for a major outfit.”

Liberty Lebrun Saddles Winner on Friday, November 24

Former Thoroughbred and Arabian jockey, Liberty Lebrun is now training horses and recorded her first career Thoroughbred victory on Friday, November 24 with Miss Mint Julep ($43.40) in the seventh race, a six-furlong claimer for fillies and mares.

“I love being able to work one-on-one and really get to know my horses,” said Lebrun. “When you ride, it’s hard to really bond with a horse because you ride so many. Then, a trainer can take you off, even if you did well for them. It’s also nice that several of my fellow riders (Jody Wright, Charlotte Bronstad) are training now too.”

There was yet another female trainer boasting her first career victory on Sunday, November 26. Kharina Hunt saddled Miss Dove ($14.80), a Texas-bred filly owned by Bayshore Racing Stable. Hunt currently has 12 horses stabled at Sam Houston Race Park.

Texans Football and $1 Beer This Sunday at Sam Houston Race Park

Sunday is full of entertainment at Sam Houston Race Park. Patrons may enjoy watching simulcast races from tracks across the country, while rooting for the Houston Texans.

The Finish Line Bar, located on the Club Level of the Grandstand, will feature all the Texans games and offer $1 beer during the game. The Finish Line Bar is a fully stocked bar with an excellent view, as it overlooks the track and the Infield lakes.

Join us this Sunday as the Texans take on the Oakland Raiders at 3:00 p.m. Admission to the park is free for VIP Club members during non live racing hours and just $4 for others. To become a VIP Club member, visit The Player’s Lounge or call 281-807-8801.

December VIP Specials at Sam Houston Race Park

VIP Club Members are very important at Sam Houston Race Park! Through the month of December, all VIP Club members will enjoy free admission during simulcast hours, before gates open for live racing. Members may also appreciate the discounted Counter Seats offer on Sunday, December 3, 10 and 17, as each Counter Seat is just $1. The Winner’s Circle Restaurant is offering $2 off their Grand Buffet on Thursday, December 7 and December 14. The bountiful buffet features a fried shrimp special each Thursday for just $12.99. With the VIP Club advantage, members will pay just $10.99 but must swipe their VIP Club card before 5:00 p.m. to receive the discount.

Opportunities to earn money are just as exciting as saving money. The VIP Club will host a $1,000 Texas Champions Day Online Handicapping Contest and a $500 Christmas Cash Contest, which will take place on Thursday, December 7 and the 14. Rules and details for both contests are available in the Player’s Lounge.

On Saturday, December 9 and the 23, complimentary Shipley Donuts and coffee will be available in Paddock Central from 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

There are many great incentives for joining the VIP Club, including the VIP point-earning program. For swiping the VIP card, members earn player points for a free dinner in the Winner’s Circle Restaurant, complimentary Box Seats and many other great rewards.

To become a VIP Club member, visit the Players Lounge located at the North end of the Grandstand on the Paddock Level. For more information about the benefits of the VIP Club stop by the Players Lounge or call 281-807-8801.

Simulcasting this Weekend at Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park will simulcast the Grade III, $1 Million Delta Jackpot Stakes and the $300,000 Delta Princess Stakes on Friday, December 1 from Delta Downs. On Saturday, December 2, Calder Race Course has three stakes on the card, including the $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap. Sunday’s highlighted races include the $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap from Hollywood Park and the $65,000 East View Stakes at Aqueduct.

For a complete list of simulcast tracks and post times, visit shrp.com or call (281) 807-8740.

back to TTHBPA Infomation