Sassmaster Shines at Sam Houston

Charmin Chief Corona comes through in Sam Houston Derby on same card.

April 15, 2012

Trainer Eusevio Huitron is no stranger to developing champion American Quarter Horses. On Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park, he unveiled a rising star when Sassmaster won the richest race of the meet, the $487,700 Sam Houston Futurity (G2).

Sassmaster was the fourth-fastest qualifier in the trials run on March 31, running second to RC Had To Be My Day. Jockey Santos Carrizales rode the brown son of TR Dasher out of the Separatist mare Catch You Now in the trials, but owner Macedonio Lozano of McAllen, Texas, made the call to top Los Alamitos rider Rodrigo Aceves for the final.

“We felt that this horse has talent,” said Mario Lozano, the owner’s son. “He is paid into the All American Futurity (G1), and we wanted Rodrigo to ride him.”

“He slipped as he broke out of the gate,” said Aceves, who was making just his second trip to Sam Houston. “But once he got going, he did it easily.”

Thequeenhasgonenuts, the fifth-fastest qualifier, ran a game race under jockey Francisco Ramirez Jr. to finish a neck behind the winner. Hiclass Buck was third, and Diamond Version completed the superfecta.

Spartocus was the fastest qualifier of the 140 horses entered in the 15 trials but had no racing luck in the final, finishing sixth.

“He got wiped out at the break,” said trainer Bobby Martinez, who will head to Delta Downs and the Firecracker Futurity (G2) with the son of Shazoom.

Bred in California by Edward C. Allred, Sassmaster covered 330 yards in :16.867 in a ferocious headwind of 32 mph. Sent off as the third betting choice, he paid $12.00 for the win, earning $195,080 for his maiden-breaking score.

Also on the card, second-fastest qualifier Charmin Chief Corona ran an impressive race in the final of the $180,900 Sam Houston Derby (G3). Owned and bred in Texas by Gary Kurz, the chestnut filly was overlooked at odds of 5-1 despite an impressive trial victory as Sarah Must went off as the even-money favorite after setting a 350-yard track record of :17.238 in her trial.

Trainer Cindi Keeton had faith in her filly as well as rider Francisco Raul Ramirez Jr., and the two delivered a quality performance.

“She felt great,” said Ramirez. “She is a real nice mare to ride.”

This is the second year in a row that a female conditioner won the Sam Houston Derby. Last year Yasmine Fierro won with Stones Puede.

“She’s turned into a beautiful horse,” said Pat Kurz, who accepted the trophy with her husband, Gary. “My husband was the one who wanted to breed to Chief Corona, and he came through for us. Cindi is a beautiful person inside and out, and we are so happy for her.”

Charmin Chief Corona became the first stakes winner for her sire, a son of Corona Czech who won four of 18 starts and placed in two stakes during his career.

Keeton reported that her filly is paid into the Adequan Sam Houston Derby Challenge and will run in the trials on May 5.
Charmin Chief Corona ($12.00) earned $72,360 for the first stakes of her career. The Lizzard King ran second under John Hamilton, followed by Nash Jolla. Fastest qualifier Sarah Must ran fourth.

“It wasn’t the wind,” said jockey Jerry Lee Yoakum of Sarah Must. “The outside of the track was a lot deeper than last time.”

The $25,000 Sam Houston Juvenile Stakes (R) kicked off the stakes action on Saturday evening. The field of 10 Quarter Horses competed in trials for the Sam Houston Futurity on March 31 but missed the cut-off time of :16.836.

Trainer Cindi Keeton saddled the winner, Rightamountofwrong, a daughter of Fly Jess Fly, who broke alertly from the rail and closed under jockey Francisco Raul Ramirez Jr. In her trial, she was bumped and finished fifth, but had a much easier time of it this evening. The Texas-bred earned $15,000 for owners Potts, Powers, Smith and Stanfield.

Rightamountofwrong ran the distance of 330 yards in :17.037 and paid $22.40 for the win. Longshot Tactical Weapon was second, followed by First Alibi Snow.