Sam Houston's Stakes Weekend

Sam Houston weekend highlighted by Merial Distaff Challenge.

May 9, 2012

Sam Houston Race Park will run a special Friday-through-Sunday live racing schedule culminating with an afternoon card on Sunday, May 13. Sunday's program will be held in honor of Mother’s Day with festivities to include free admission for all ladies, a gourmet brunch in the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and $2 Bloody Marys and Mimosas.

Racing kicks off on Friday night at 7 p.m. and will include the final of the $42,300 Bank of America Texas Maiden Challenge. Trials took place on April 26 and Allure Sr, a California-bred mare was the fastest qualifier. Owned by
Gilberto Flores and trained by Janet VanBebber, the 4-year-old mare won her career debut convincingly, drawing off by 2 1/2 lengths in a final time of  17.714 seconds for 350 yards.  Jockey David Alvarez was the winning rider in trials, but he has departed for Delta Downs, so Arturo Carillo will step aboard the gray mare, who has been installed as the 7-2 morning-line choice.

Second-fastest qualifier, Im Jess A Cowgirl crossed the wire in :17.779 and will be seeking her third consecutive victory on Friday evening for trainer Tara Smith. The 3-year-old filly is one of two finalists sired by Feature Mr Jess. Owner and trainer Jorge Haddad will saddle Im A Feature Girl, who recorded the fifth fastest time of :18.052. The Louisiana-bred filly has won two of her three starts and will be ridden by Santos Carrizales.

My First Timber lost a head bob to Im A Feature Girl in trials, but Judd Kearl, who trains the 3-year-old son of AQHA world champion Oak Tree Special, feels that his colt has a good chance.

"That was his first start since last August," said Kearl. "He ran a good race and just got nosed at the wire. We stood him in the gates this morning and he looked ready."

The Bank of America Maiden Challenge will be run as the ninth race of the card, with post time set at 10:28 p.m. (CT).

The Saturday evening card will also get underway at 7 p.m. with the $21,870 Pfizer Animal Health Texas Starter Challenge Allowance headlining the card.

Sam Houston Race Park's feature race on Sunday, the $28,800 Merial Distaff Texas Challenge will be fitting tribute to fillies and mares. The draw for the 400 yard stakes will take place on Thursday, May 10, but is expected to include Painted Sable, a daughter of PYC Paint Your Wagon owned by Dr. Tommy Hays and Bobby Barnett. The 4-year-old filly, trained by Bobby Martinez, has won five of her 14 career starts and bankrolled $118,515. She was the fastest qualifier in the 2011 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge, but broke poorly and finished in a dead-heat for third. She will make her 2012 debut on Sunday.

"She's been doing really well," reports Martinez. "We have seen a pattern of her running great in trials and not coming back in the finals. No trials for this, so we think she'll be tough."

Last year, trainer Judd Kearl won the Merial Distaff with Ms Riptide, for owner/breeder James Cordell.

The winning mare will represent Texas in the $125,000 Merial Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) at Prairie Meadows on October 27.

The 2012 Concert Series at Sam Houston Race Park will take place on the Bud Light Stage and will feature artists performing on Friday and Saturday nights following live Quarter Horse racing.

Sam Houston Race Park will show their appreciation to fans with a special admission offer for the Roger Creager concert on Friday, May 18. All guests arriving before 9 p.m are entitled to FREE concert admission with $6 live racing admission. The country music star will perform on the Bud Light Stage after the final race on Friday, May 18.

All guests arriving to the Park before 9 p.m. Friday, May 18 will enjoy the total entertainment experience with live racing, 50 Cent Beer and $1.50 Wine followed by a free Roger Creager performance all with a $6 racing ticket! Guests arriving after 9 p.m. will pay the full concert price of $18.