Texas Preview Day headlines Sam Houston race weekend

Race horses with jockeys on the home straight. Shaving effect.

Texas Preview Day headlines Sam Houston race weekend

This weekend Sam Houston Race Park will host a loaded four-day weekend of racing action. Friday kicks off the festivities with a nine-race card featuring various levels of competition.

The race of the day should be the third, a maiden special weight for three-year-old fillies and mares traveling a mile and a sixteenth on the turf. Fame Street, a daughter of Street Sense trained by Brett Calhoun, should be a strong contender. Vivaciously could be another horse of interest, while Tiz a Knockout is a longer shot that could also factor in the results.

Saturday marks The Texas Preview Day, headlined by five stakes races and a card designed for and featuring Texas-bred horses.

The first stakes race of the day is the Jim’s Orbit Stakes in the fifth. Written for three-year-old colts and geldings over six furlongs on the dirt, this race has attracted a seven-horse field that will battle for the $75,000 purse. Ima Cowboy and Bling Bling Bling look like strong contenders. Ima Cowboy finished second in his last start, while Bling Bling Bling won two starts ago and features the Asmussen – Elliot combo.

Race six is the Houston Turf Stakes, a mile and a sixteenth on the turf for Texas-accredited horses four years old and up with a purse of $75,000. Sunlit Song looks like the class of this race, coming off of back-to-back wins. This gelding son of My Golden Song finished second in the Remington Green Stakes last September and was second in this race last year. Ridden by Stewart Elliot and trained by Mindy Willis, Sunlit Song will look to add to her $525,000 in career earnings. If the favorite is off his game, look for Moojab Jr. or Singapore Flash as strong alternatives.

In the seventh race, three-year-old fillies will contest the Two Altazano Stakes over six furlongs on the dirt. Izatiz, a daughter of My Golden Song trained by David Gomez and ridden by Jansen Melancon, appears to be the strong favorite here. In her last three starts, Izatiz has won and been second twice and in six career starts she has only been off the board once. Missingyoucrazy and Hop On In might be strong contenders off of speed figures.

The H-town Stakes will be contested over seven furlongs on the dirt by horses four years old and up in the eighth race. Gold Pilot and Algebra look to have the best chance in this one, as Gold Pilot has won two out of his last three starts and was third in the other. Algebra has had a similar string of strong performances, with two wins bookending a second-place effort. These two met on Jan. 20, with Gold Pilot coming out on top.

The Miss Bluebonnet Turf Stakes will wrap up the day with fillies and mares four years old and up traveling a mile over the turf. No Mas Tequila is coming off a long layoff but looks to be the strongest entry on paper. An effort similar to her previous starts should be enough to win, but if she is rusty, Imaluckycharm, Ima Discreet Lady, or Discreet Smile might have a chance.

The weekend will continue with a nine-race card on Sunday and a holiday card of eight races on Monday.  

In the Kentucky Derby points chase, all attention will turn to The Fair Grounds this Saturday as a field of fourteen will compete in the Risen Star Stakes (G2).  The race signals a new phase in the Derby prep season as it is the first to offer a total of 100 qualifying points. The winner will receive 50 points which would all but assure a spot in the starting gate for the first Saturday in May. Victory Formation looks to be the early favorite, but Tapit’s Conquest, Curly Jack, and Two Phil’s are strong contenders as well. This prep season has shown that the winner can come from anywhere.

Last week saw several front runners falter in Derby prep races as Arctic Arrogance fell to Hit Show in the Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct,  while LItigate took the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.

Chase the Chaos won an automatic berth in the Preakness Stakes and 10 Derby points with his win in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields.

Currently, two-year-old champion Forte sits atop the Derby qualifying list with 40 points, while Instant Coffee is in second with 32. However, there are a lot of points yet to be determined, and the final order is anyone’s guess.

Sam Houston Horses to Watch:

Friday – Race 3 – Vivaciously – The Asmussen – Elliot combo plus a horse sired by Into Mischief is too much to resist in a Maiden Special Weight.

Saturday – Race 9 – Set the Pace – This horse may go off as a long shot, but she is a personal favorite, and I am hoping she can put in a big effort. If you want a sure thing look for Gold Pilot in the eighth.

Sunday – Race 1 – Betyar Azets – Sharp Azteca has been one of the hottest sires in North America, and that is enough to get me to give this one a good hard look.

Monday – Race 1 – Nephi – By English Channel out of a Kitten’s Joy mare.

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