|Texas Champions Day Offered Exciting
Evening of Live Racing at Sam Houston Race Park
December 2, 2007) - Sam Houston Race Park, with the support
and cooperation of the Texas Thoroughbred Association (TTA), hosted
Texas Champions Day, a live Thoroughbred racing event with a Texas
theme on Saturday, December 1, 2007. The signature event celebrated
Thoroughbred horses, trainers, breeders and owners in the Lone Star
State, and included eight stakes races and $500,000 in racing purses.
The evening was full of upsets and surprising champions, providing
fans of all ages the opportunity to see some of the best live racing
in the region.
It was a big night for jockey Paul Nolan who spent a good portion
of the evening in the winner’s circle with an incredible three
wins. Nolan earned his final victory of the night with Sandburr
($4.80), who claimed top honors in the Star of Texas $100,000 Stakes.
The 8-year old Chestnut Gelding, owned by Feel The Thunder Stables,
defended his stake’s title for a second year in a row with
a hefty lead on the final leg of the 1 1/16 mile course with a top
time of 1:44:53.
“This was such a big effort from a really great warrior,”
said trainer Michael Stidham. “Sandburr goes out there every
time and tries as hard as he can. I have to pay tribute to him.
That’s what racing’s all about; seeing those old horses
just do what they can do.”
Second and third place honors for the race were awarded to Moon
Kid and Goosey Moose. Two horses were scratched from the card leaving
a total of six to compete in the race.
Paul Nolan offered an exciting upset as 3-year old filly Hollye
Lynne ($25.20) captured first place in the $75,000 Martanza Stakes,
the second largest purse at Texas Champions Day. Hollye Lynne managed
a time of 1:39:04 on the one mile course nudging out favorite Sweet
Idea and third place recipient Magic Money Meg. The filly is owned
by TBD Owners LLC and trained by John G. Locke.
When asked about the thrilling win, Paul Nolan stated, “John
told me to not let her hit the front until we get to the lane and
I was having to hold her back a bit. She wanted to go so bad early
on. Once we hit the outside, I gave in and she just exploded.”
During the race, jockey Eguard Tejera was unseated from his mount
Party of One and transported to Methodist Hospital at Willowbrook
to be treated for a broken collarbone.
The Spirit of Texas, the first stakes races of the night, featured
a $50,000 purse and was captured with one of the fastest runs of
the evening by favorite Mystery Classic ($3.00), a 4-year-old Brown
Gelding owned by John L. Pierce II, ridden to victory by Bobby Walker,
Jr. with a final time of 1:09:55. The six furlong race was open
to horses ages 3 and up. Coming in behind Mystery Classic were Rain
on Monday and Snuck By. The race featured a total of six horses.
The Bara Lass Stakes, offering a $50,000 purse for two year old
fillies, saw the first upset of the night as favored pick Valid
Lilly was beaten to the finishing line by Ms Classic Seneca ($29.60)
and jockey Tony McNeil with a finishing time of 1:24:39. The victorious
horse is trained by Cheryl Asmussen and owned by Keith I. Asmussen.
Taptam and Valid Lilly claimed second and third place nods in the
seven furlong race which had a field of 12 runners.
The Groovy Stakes $50,000 race delivered another exciting upset
with Don Simington and Crook’s Bodgit ($105.40) claiming top
honors with a time of 1:24:54. The seven furlong course landed Ferdinand’s
Flyer in second and a third place win for Authentic Jones. The field
included 11 horses.
The Yellow Rose Stakes carried a $50,000 purse and a photo finish
to determine the winner. In another exciting turn of events, Annie
Savoy ($31.20) beat race favorite Valid Lil with an impressive time
of 1:10:18, the second fastest race course time of the night. In
addition, jockey Paul Nolan and his mount beat out last year’s
winning mare Wrenice. The 4-year old Chestnut Gelding drew much
praise from owner Hal Browning and trainer Kari Craddock. Two horses
were scratched from the card for a total of nine fillies and mares
on the six furlong course. A second place win was awarded to Stealth
Cat and third place went to Moneyinmywranglers.
The sixth race of the evening featured the Richard King $50,000
Stakes race. The 1 1/8 mile course was run on the lush turf course
at The Park with Alleged Hug ($21.20) and jockey Steve Bourque earning
top marks with a time of 1:53:28. The 5-year old Brown Gelding,
owned by Joe H. Carothers and trained by Danny Pish, beat out favored
pick General Charley, owned by Bob McNair and famously named for
former Houston Texans general manager Charley Casserly. Coming in
on the heels of Alleged Hug was Northern Scene and a third place
photo finish for Spiffy. The race showcased a total of seven runners.
The final stakes race of the night was the $50,000 San Jacinto
Stakes race where racing fans were treated to another exciting upset
as Jenz Benz ($5.60) beat out favorite Durrymane as well as last
year’s dead-heat winning horses Wild Encounter and Tunnel
Time. The 4-year old filly was jockeyed by Jeremy Collier and ran
the race in 1:45:80. A total of nine runners competed in the 1 1/16
mile race for fillies and mares. Funny Tune and Senora Tormenta
followed closely to earn second and third place. Jenz Benz is owned
by Agave Racing Stables and B/L Racing and is trained by Michelle
Texas Champions Day also feature additional activities for racing
fans including live entertainment, a $2,500 handicapping contest
for all eight stakes races, musical performances by “2004
Best Country Singer in Houston” contest winner Mignon Grabois,
and a special pre-racing handicapping seminar with Park Announcer
Michael Chamberlain, Mary Rampellini of the Daily Racing Form
and the Houston Chronicle’s Martha Claussen.
The 2007-2008 Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred meeting continues
through April 5, 2008. For more information, and a complete list
of Texas Champions Day racing results, visit www.shrp.com.