-photo courtesy Coady Photography

Texas Champions Day Offered Exciting Evening of Live Racing at Sam Houston Race Park

(Sunday, 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 Lovell.

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

back to TTHBPA Infomation