Defending Champion Expectant Diva Faces Ten Rivals in Saturday’s Yellow Rose Stakes at SHRP

(November 30, 2006) - There are eight stakes on the Texas Champions Day card, powered by Dodge, this Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park. One of the most competitive races on the card is likely to be the $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares.

The defending champion of this race is Expectant Diva, a 5-year-old mare owned and bred by Virginia Jago Elder. She faced eight rivals last year and came off the pace to capture the 2005 Yellow Rose Stakes for trainer Randy Mayfield in a time of 1:11.52. Bobby Walker, Jr., who has won the first two stakes of the 2006/2007 Thoroughbred meeting, rode the daughter of Valid Expectations and has the return call on Saturday.

“She had a lung infection and didn’t run up to her potential in her last race,” said Mayfield of her fourth place finish on October 27 at Retama Park. “I feel she’s coming into this stakes in good shape and will run well. We’re hoping for a good, quick pace; she loves to come from behind.”

Expectant Diva will have some tough company in the Yellow Rose, most notably, Annie Savoy and Open Meadows. Annie Savoy captured the $50,000 Bara Lass last year for trainer Kari Craddock and owner Hal Browning and will be ridden by Quincy Hamilton, who has been the leading rider at Sam Houston Race Park for the past two years.

“She’s beaten Open Meadows and Open Meadows has beaten her,” commented Craddock. “We’re here; she’s been training well and it’s time for her to step up and face her elders. I think she will give a good account of herself.”

Open Meadows will make her ninth career start for owner Tom Durant and trainer Jack Bruner. The versatile filly has won turf and main track sprints and will be ridden by Justin Shepherd.

Mayfield could have a very good Texas Champions Day as he will also saddle Wrenice, in the $50,000 Bara Lass Stakes. The 2-year-old rising star has won her last four races for owner/breeder Stewart Hamblen of Canyon, Texas. Her most recent victory was just two weeks ago at Sam Houston Race Park in the $45,000 Houston Chronicle Stakes.

Cold Front Hits Houston Today

As forecast, a major cold front hit Texas this morning with temperatures dipping 25 degrees this morning. Rain and windy conditions are expected for Thursday’s card, but there is only a 10% chance of rain on Texas Champions Day. Daytime temperatures are expected to top 60 degrees with a cool, clear forecast set for Saturday night.

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. 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

Rick Trevino Concert and Handicapping Seminar Set for Texas Champions Day

In addition to the exciting racing action, Sam Houston Race Park will welcome patrons with a free concert and other events. 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, 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

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