Sam Houston Race Park wraps up another exciting weekend of racing
Another thrilling weekend of racing at Sam Houston Race Park has come and gone.
The weekend opened with two large purse races on Friday. In the first, a maiden special weight sprint over six furlongs for Texas-accredited older horses, Josh’s Dream set the early pace and proved the best drawing away in the stretch to graduate. The winning jockey was Iran Diego, and the trainer was Alan Love. Valdina Dreams was second best, and Smarty Ridge finished third.
The second race was taken by Im the Machine, who stalked the pace early and proved better than Impressed, who battled gamely but came up short. Third went to Sonneman. The winning rider was Floyd Whethey, and Mindy Willis trained the winner.
Moving down the card to the eighth race, another maiden special weight affair, we find maiden three-year-old fillies sprinting five furlongs on the dirt. Jenny’s Penny overcame a bumpy start and a wide trip to get up for the win. Wiki Lio and Our Pastor rounded out the trifecta.
The ninth and final race on Friday’s card was an allowance for Texas-accredited older horses over a mile on the turf. The winner, Jr’s Pacifico, stalked the leaders early before moving up on the far turn and taking command in the stretch. Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez and Ronnie Cravens combined as the winning rider and trainer, respectively. Tapit’s Kash was good enough for second, while Eurorockstar finished third.
Looking at Saturday’s action, we turn to the second race, an allowance optional claimer for Texas-accredited three-year-olds traveling six furlongs on the dirt. Tapiture Jones drew away in the stretch to win easily, while Poseidon’s Wave finished second, and Nightwind was able to claim third.
The fourth race was a maiden special weight affair written for older horses going seven furlongs on the dirt. Mayan, a Ray Ashford trainee ridden by Weston Hamilton, was able to set the terms throughout and proved the best over Uptown Bigbadjon and gold Baron.
Three-year-olds battled over a mile on the dirt in the fifth race, another allowance optional claimer. The winner Phantom Ride settled on the outside off the pace, stayed out of trouble, and did enough to nab victory at the wire. Stewart Elliot and Steve Asmussen add to their joint totals, while Cosmic Soul finished second, with Mano Dura taking third.
The seventh race, a maiden special weight for Texas-accredited three-year-old fillies, was won by Mor Peanuts. Elliot once again guided the winner, and Willis added another win to her total. Philogyny Street was second, while Olilvia’s Race Day took third.
The Saturday finale was another big purse allowance race with older horses seeking their second win battling over a mile on the turf. Witch’s Vow took an early lead and was able to outfinish all others to claim victory. Brucelea was good enough for second, while Dare to Fail settled for third despite a strong finish.
Waving Bye lived up to her name, taking the lead early in the fourth race on Sunday and holding on to defeat all others in an allowance optional claiming for Texas-accredited three-year-old fillies over six furlongs on the dirt. Floyd Whethey rode the winner for trainer Francisco Bravo.
Candy Bee and Fast Track took the minor awards.
The sixth race, a maiden special weight for Texas-accredited three-year-olds, was taken by long shot Red Summerbird who got up to take the win by a nose. Elliot and Willis once again combined on the winner. Zavala was second, with Hard Gold placing third.
Older horses contested the eighth race, an allowance event over a mile on the dirt. Hern was able to sit just off the pace before drawing away in the end. Elliot and Asmussen once again took the winner’s share of the purse. Big Bernie was second, Tale Twister third.
The last race of the weekend, an allowance optional claimer over a mile on the turf, went to Risk Manager. The son of Lookin’ At Lucky was ridden by Stewart Elliot and trained by Sarah Davidson. Singapore Flash was second, with Seductive U S A finished third.
Live racing will resume at Sam Houston this weekend, first post time on Friday will be one o’clock.
The horse that had the biggest weekend on the Road to the Kentucky Derby might be the stallion Violence. The son of Medaglia d’Oro sired both Raise Cain, the winner of the Grade III Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, and Forte, who took the Grade II Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream. Two graded stakes winners in one day is quite a feat.
The other two races carrying Derby points were the John Battaglia Stakes at Turfway and the San Felipe Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita. Congruent, a son of renowned sire Tapit, took the Battaglia while Practical Move proved the best in the San Felipe.
With his win, Forte reclaims the top spot on the list of qualifiers, and his strong performance should put him atop the list of early Derby favorites.
This weekend the Road to the Derby will run through Florida as hopefuls will tangle in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2). The winner will take home fifty points, almost guaranteeing a spot in the Run for the Roses, with another fifty total points up for grabs for second through fifth place.