Trainer Steve Asmussen Has Favorites in Both the $125,000 Two Altazano and $125,000 Jimís Orbit at SHRP on February 18

(February 16, 2006) - Two exiting races will take place on Saturday, February 18 at Sam Houston Race Park. The $125,000 Two Altazano and $125,000 Jim’s Orbit are two legs of the Texas Stallion Stakes. The series is underwritten by the Texas Thoroughbred Association (TTA) and is designed as an incentive for offspring of Texas-based stallions.

The Texas Stallion Stakes is a series of eight races that are run at each of the three Class 1 racetracks in Texas: Sam Houston Race Park, Retama Park and Lone Star Park. The purse for each division is $125,000 for a total of $1 million, making it one of the richest stallion stakes series in the country.

In 2005, the Texas Thoroughbred Association (TTA) renamed each of the Texas Stallion Stakes races to honor a famous Texas Thoroughbred. The colts and gelding division at Sam Houston Race Park has been named for Jim’s Orbit, who won the Grade 2 Ohio Derby and started in the 1988 Kentucky Derby. The fillies division is a tribute to Two Altazano, winner of the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks in 1994. The accomplished mare, owned by the late Harold V. Goodman, was inducted into the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2003.

Seven fillies will go postward in the Two Altazano with Larisaanna as the 2-1 morning-line favorite. Bred and owned by Stewart M. Madison, Larisaanna will be making her eighth career start and ships into Houston following an allowance win at Louisiana Downs on December 29. The daughter of Valid Expectations is trained by Steve Asmussen and will be ridden by Quincy Hamilton. Asmussen has three fillies in the Two Altazano and has named Roman Chapa to ride It’s Valid for owner William S. Farish and Glen Murphy aboard Seadrift, who is owned and bred by Heiligbrodt Racing Stable.

The highest earner in the field is Kathy’s Rocket, owned by Frank Fletcher and trained by William Howard. She won the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes last October at Retama Park and ran fourth in the $50,000 Bara Lass here on Texas Champions Day. Terry Stanton, who piloted Dixie Meister to victory in last year’s Jim’s Orbit, has the mount. The contentious field also includes Chit Chat Pam, who was impressive in her Cy-Fair Stakes victory at Sam Houston Race Park on January 14 for trainer Bob Young and Expect Misty, a Stonerside Stable homebred who will make her fourth career start for trainer Michael Stidham.

The Jim’s Orbit drew a field of 12, lead by the Asmussen-trained duo of Upstream and Tweed Suit. They will run as an entry bearing the colors of Will Farish with Murphy named on Upstream and Chapa on Tweed Suit. Upstream won an allowance here on December 17 and Tweed Suit has been competing at Sunland Park where he broke his maiden on December 3 and ran second and third in his last two allowance races. Lissa’s Star ran fourth in the Groovy Stakes on Texas Champions Day, but returned to Sam Houston Race Park on January 13 with an effortless allowance victory last month. Owned by Bob McNair’s Stonerside Stable, Lissa’s Star will be ridden by Ted Gondron.

The Two Altazano will run as the sixth race of the Saturday evening program and the Jim’s Orbit is carded as the eighth. Post time is 7:00 p.m.

Greg "Boomer" Wry This Weekend at Sam Houston Race Park

Professional handicapper Greg "Boomer" Wry, a veteran track announcer, handicapper, columnist and author in the field of horse racing with 25+ years of experience, will make an appearance this weekend at Sam Houston Race Park.

Wry will be available Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon to autograph copies of his book, "HOW TO TURN ANY RACETRACK INTO YOUR OWN MONEY MACHINE" (and be just one of the 2% that do).

In addition, Wry will participate in a handicapping seminar on Saturday, February 18 at 7:00 p.m. on the Club Level Stage. He will be joined by Denis Blake, editor of the Texas Thoroughbred Magazine and Martha Claussen, publicity director at Sam Houston Race Park. They will offer analysis of the $125,000 Two Altazano and Jim’s Orbit and offer wagering strategies for the evening card.

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