Texas Stallion Stakes highlight opening weekend at Sam Houston Race Park

Texas Stallion Stakes highlight opening weekend at Sam Houston Race Park

The beginning of a new year also signals the return of live thoroughbred racing in Texas. Sam Houston Race Park is scheduled to begin their race meet January 6, kicking off the Texas racing circuit and lasting until April 8.

Opening weekend will start with a bang, as each day will feature a nine race card highlighted by two stakes races on Saturday.

Three year old colts will compete in the My Dandy Division of the Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Texas Stallion Stakes  While qualified fillies will do battle in the Darby’s Daughter Division.

These races represent the second leg of the Texas Stallion Stakes Series and each division carries a listed purse of $75,000. The field for the races will feature newly turned three year olds that have been sired by Texas based stallions that are accredited with the Texas Thoroughbred Association. 

The Texas Stallion Stakes Series is named in memory of Clarence Scharbauer Jr, who passed away in 2014. Scharbauer was a rancher, philanthropist, and oil man from Midland, Texas. He was a leader in Texas thoroughbred racing and was part of a family that owned and raced 1987 Kentucky Derby winner Alysheba. 

Each of the division races are named for a legendary racehorse that was notable in the history of the Texas turf. Darby’s Daughter was a Texas bred mare that won multiple graded stakes races across the country from Aqueduct to Del Mar. My Dandy  was born in 1925 and recorded 47 wins out of a whopping 191 starts. This series of races is a major target for owners and breeders in the Lone Star state and the surrounding areas.

In the fillies division Come to the Party will attempt to replicate her winning performance from the first leg of the series which she won in June at Lone Star Park. Come to the Party is trained by North America’s leader in victories, Steve Asmussen, and will be ridden by Sam Houston stalwart Stewart Elliot. Five other starters will look to spoil the party, led by Izatiz, a filly sired by My Golden Song, one of the leading Texas based stallions who passed away last year.  Waving Bye is another strong contender, coming off of a layoff after breaking her maiden in her previous start. 

Bling Bling Bling, also trained by Asmussen and ridden by Elliot, won the first race in the colts series back in June and will look to fend off a field of eight other runners.  I’m a Cowboy was the runner-up in June and recorded a third place finish in his last start at Delta Downs in December. Take My Money should get attention as a possible alternative and is the second entry trained by Steve Asmussenn. 

Both stakes races this weekend represent an increase in distance for the maturing horses, so success in the first leg may not guarantee a win on Saturday. What is certain is that this weekend the Texas thoroughbred community will be focused on the action in Houston.

Horses to watch:

Friday – Race 8 Princess Pauline – By Curlin out of a Pulpit mare, she is coming off a layoff and she boasts the Asmussen-Elliot combo.

Saturday – Race 6 Dude Perfecta – Finished first or second in his last three starts, was on the board in five of his ten starts in 2022.

Sunday – Race 8 Crooked Fellow – This horse is by Connect and he won his first and only start back in December at Remington Park.

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