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Sam Houston Closes with Two Challenge Stakes

Final day of racing features a dead heat in the Adequan Sam Houston Derby Challenge.

Press Release
May 11, 2014

Sam Houston Race Park's American Quarter Horse meet concluded Sunday with an excellent card featuring two Bank of America Racing Challenge stakes. There was an exciting dead heat between DB Captain King and Raising Kain in the $58,860 Adequan Sam Houston Derby Challenge. In the second stakes of the final day of the meet, Million Dollar Kiss was a convincing winner in the $68,490 John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge.

DB Captain King and Raising Cain Cross the Wire in Unison in the $58,860 Adequan Sam Houston Derby Challenge
In one of the most exciting finishes of the 2014 Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse season, two finalists could not be separated by the photo finish camera. Officials deemed that DB Captain King and Raising Kain finished in a dead-heat in the $59,850 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge.

DB Captain King, owned and bred by Dude Biggs, was the fastest qualifier in trials run on April 18. The 3-year-old gelded son of Captain Courage was ridden by Santos Carrizales, breaking cleanly and winning the 400-yard final in :20.151. Pete Scarmardo’s homebred Raising Kain, a Down N Dash gelding with Francisco Calderon in the irons, crossed the wire in the same time; both earned a speed index of 92.

It was a jubilant winner’s circle celebration as trainers Leon Bard and “Tooter” Jordan are close friends and stable together at all of the Texas racetracks.

“This horse had surgery after he came back from California,” said Raising Kain’s trainer Bard. “We weren’t sure he would be ready but paid him into this race and he couldn’t have run better.”

Jordan was equally pleased with the effort of DB Captain King, who has four wins in eight career starts.

“The horse got away really well,” said Jordan. “He lugged in a little in the final strides, which might have cost him, but he ran a good race. I’d like to say a special thanks to Dude Biggs, who is 95 years old and is watching today. We’ve got a ticket to the dance, so we’ll go to Prairie Meadows.”

Neither Bard or Scarmardo had confirmed plans for Raising Kain, but Iowa is definitely the long-term goal.

“We were happy to win the (John Deere) Juvenile last year with Raising Kain,” said Scarmardo. “It will be a thrill to try for another championship as a 3-year-old.”

Sent off as the post-time favorite, DB Captain King returned $3.00 for the win. Raising Kain, at odds of 5-1, paid $5.00. Eagle Money Pop, owned and bred by Johnny Trotter, ran third and Time for Jesse Lee completed the superfecta.

Because of the dead heat, only the winner with the highest earnings as of the date of the last regional race is guaranteed a starting berth in the $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G1) on October 18 at Prairie Meadows, but the other winner will receive first preference should any another regional winners not compete.

Million Dollar Kiss Posts Sharp Win in the $68,490 John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge
Trainer Vicky McIlvain got a perfect Mother’s Day gift Million Dollar Kiss delivered a super performance in the $68,490 John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge.

Bred and owned by Jerry Chapman of Waco, Texas, Million Dollar Kiss made her debut on March 18 at Louisiana Downs. She ran eighth, but once she united with rider Alejandro Medina, she began racking up the wins. Today’s victory was the third in a row for the Jess Louisiana Blue filly.

“We’ve been proud of her,” said Espinosa. “Her debut was heartbreaking, but she didn’t have her rider. Alejandro fits her perfectly.”

Medina crossed the wire of the 350-yard final in :18.047 into an 18 mph head wind.

Chapman proudly accepted the trophy and shared that his filly is just beginning to peak.

“She started getting into gear and I knew we had it won,” added Chapman. “I think she will be great at 400 or even 440.”

Freakin Runaway, the second-fastest qualifier from trials, closed well from the far outside post under Juan Francisco Garcia Jr. Fastest qualifier Red Corona Warrior finished third, but was disqualified due to interference at the start and placed ninth by the stewards. Grey Daze was placed third, followed by Corona Blast.

Million Dollar Kiss now has a berth in the $150,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) at Prairie Meadows.

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