Ivan James Leads Sam Houston Derby Qualifiers

The Ivory James colt won the first of seven 350-yard trials Friday at Sam Houston Race Park.

Q-Racing Journal

Ivan James, shown here winning the first of seven Sam Houston Derby trials on Friday, is the fastest qualifier to the $191,000 final on April 23. PHOTO: Coady Photography

Jorge Meraz's Ivan James, a homebred bay son of Ivory James trained by Angel Sanchez, made his 3-year-old debut with a wire-to-wire victory in the first of seven Sam Houston Derby (G3) trials at Sam Houston Race Park on Friday.

Under jockey Luis Vivanco, Ivan James defeated Real Solid Oak by a head in :17.361 for 350 yards. The colt was making his first start since July 4, when he ran third in the Firecracker Futurity (G2) at Delta Downs.

"He ran a big race, and Luis said he felt good," Sanchez said. "I was pleased with him, as he's been off for eight months. We'll see how he looks tomorrow. He's always been a nice horse."

Ivan James was winning for the third time in five starts and pushing his bankroll to $285,552. He has won all three of his outs at Sam Houston Race Park, including last year's 330-yard, $621,100 Sam Houston Futurity (G2).

Click here for a complete list of qualifiers to the April 23, $191,000 Sam Houston Derby final.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqharacing.com.