Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park

Five official Texas-bred stakes were contested at the track on Saturday.

Kiss My Annee GL. PHOTO: Coady Photography

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Five official stakes for Texas-bred Quarter Horses were run at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday.

The track reported a wagering handle of $779,227 for 12 races, of which $680,382 was bet off track. Following is a recap of all five stakes:

Sam Houston Texas-Bred Championship
Kiss My Annee GL won the richest race of the night, the 400-yard, $106,000 Sam Houston Texas-Bred Championship (R).

Trained by Juan Diaz Jr. for owners Sergio Holguin and Felix Rodriguez, Kiss My Annee GL defeated Famous Chief by a nose in :20.010. Jorge Garcia rode the 4-year-old Kiss My Hocks gelding.

Kiss My Annee GL was bred by Francisco Javier Garza, and he was coming off of a wire-to-wire, 1 1/2-length victory 300-yard starter-optional claiming ($10,000) dash at Sam Houston Race Park on May 28. Raced in three states, including Louisiana and New Mexico, the gelding has won five of 14 starts, and the $63,600 winner's share of the purse from his first stakes victory increased his earnings to $119,250.

KIss My Annee GL was claimed by Holguin and Rodriguez for $7,500 at Remington Park in May 2019.

"For a $7,500 claimer to win a $100,000 race is pretty exciting," Holguin said. "We like this horse very much. We decided to take a chance, and it's worked out."

Holguin added that Kiss My Annee GL would remain at Sam Houston Race Park, and that he and Diaz will look at the stakes schedule for the transferred Retama Park meet, which starts June 23.

Five Bar Silver finished third, a half of a length behind Kiss My Annee GL, and was followed by L Capone, 8-5 favorite Carry The Memories, and Air To Em Jess.

Sam Houston 550 Stakes
Blue Star Racing's Dak and Sarah Huskey's Ghost Bear finished in a dead heat for the win in Saturday's $80,250 Sam Houston 550 Stakes (R).

Both Dak and Ghost Bear reached the wire in :27.467 for 550 yards. Carlos Guillen Chacon rode Dak for trainer Brian Stroud, while Noe Villatoro piloted Ghost Bear for trainer Esteban Rubio.

Dak was bred by Bullard Farms, and he was recording his first win in three starts at the 550-yard distance. Campaigned in Texas and Louisiana, the 5-year-old Dominyun gelding has won four of 18 outs, including the 2018 Texas QHA Sale Futurity (RG3) at Retama Park, and the $32,100 co-winners share of the purse from his second stakes victory increased his bankroll to $290,607.

"I've only had him for two months," said Stroud of Dak. "He didn't get away all that well, but he came running on the end. I started him here two weeks ago, and he kind of got washed out. He ran a lot better tonight.

Ghost Bear was bred by Sandra Garnett Tatom. A 4-year-old gelded son of the Chicks Beduino stallion Phantom Menace, Ghost Bear has won two of 10 races and has banked $49,741 while racing exclusively in Texas.

Ten Sent finished third, 1 1/2 lengths behind the dead-heat winners. Steves Klassy Jess and P Walk Survivor completed the order of finish.

Sam Houston 250 Stakes
Sent to post as the 6-5 favorite in a field of six Texas-bred sprinters, Pa Cha Ching scored a three-quarter length victory in Saturday's $80,250 Sam Houston 250 Stakes (R).

Pa Cha Ching went 250 yards in :13.191 while aided by a reported 5-mph tail wind. Jose Martinez rode the 4-year-old son of champion Tempting Dash for owners Robert R. Armor and Samuel F. and Helen Henderson.

Pa Cha Ching was bred by Pat Allen, and he was making his first start at the 250-yard distance. The stallion has earned $156,248 from 12 outs, and his five wins include a three-quarter length victory as the 17-10 favorite in the 2019 Texas Classic Juvenile Stakes at Lone Star Park.

Pa Cha Ching has won two of his four starts at Sam Houston Race Park, and his record at the track includes a second-place finish in the 2019 Sam Houston Futurity (G2)

Jess Eleven Or Seven ran second and was followed by Ms Guerra, Lethal Women, Witchers Cartel, and Blue Capo.

Miss Sam Houston Stakes
Edgar Rosales' SS Classyjess used a strong late surge to win Saturday's 80,250 Miss Sam Houston Stakes (R) for Texas-bred fillies and mares.

Under jockey Juan Garcia, SS Classyjess covered 330 yards in :116.773, and her margin of victory was a nose from Jess A Dashin Angela. Jose Carrizales prepped the 5-year-old gray daughter of the Mr Jess Perry stallion Rock Solid Jess.

"The way she closed tonight really impressed me," said Carrizales. "The way that (Jess A Dashin Angela) broke really scared me, but that's what this mare likes. She loves the competition.

"Today was her 34th start, but she's so easy to train," he added. "She rests on her own and never wastes energy. She saves it all for the racetrack."

SS Classyjess was bred by Ronnie Stewart and Double S Farm,  and she was making just her second career start at Sam Houston Race Park. Raced in Texas and Louisiana, the mare has won 15 of 34 outs -- including seven stakes -- and she has earned $330,446.

Leading Senorita ran third and was followed by I Got Daddys Eyes and Coronados Lil Lady.

Jesse Yoakum Memorial Stakes
Viva Le Don, the 1-2 favorite in a field of eight distance specialists, rolled to a 7 1/2-length victory in Saturday's 870-yard, $81,000 Jesse Yoakum Memorial Stakes (R).

Prepped by Tammy Johnson for owner Rockin J Running Horses, Viva Le Don stopped the timer in :45.631 and posted a 99 speed index while earning his second stakes win at the 870 distance. Josh Romero rode the homebred 5-year-old Rock Solid Jess gelding.

"We had a great break, and he showed a lot of confidence out there," said Romero. "The way Tammy trains her horses is phenomenal. Every time I get a chance to ride for her, I take advantage of it."

Viva Le Don was coming off of a Remington Park spring campaign during which he scored a 2 1/2-length victory in the April 25, $38,000 AQHA Oklahoma Distance Challenge (G3). This race marked just his fourth start at the 870 distance. 

"I always had the plan all along to stretch him out," said Johnson. "His body needed to mature to be able to run the hook, and I wanted him healthy and strong.

"He loved it, but he had to learn a little bit how to handle the traffic," she added. "He's a smart horse, and he's figured it out."

All told, Viva Le Don has won eight of 27 races and has earned $411,806. He's won six stakes, including last year's TQHA 550 Stakes (R) and 550-yard Tower of the Americas Stakes, both at Retama Park.

The Kings Horse ran second and was followed by Show Time, Love Ta Zoom, Silver City Lights, Executive Trust, Tek Ni Color, and Stolis Pro.

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