Grade 2 Sam Houston Classic Tops Saturday Stakes Doubleheader

Morning-line choice Dashin For A Prize heads field of eight in the 440-yard, $50,000 stakes.

Q-Racing Journal

Dashin For A Prize is one of eight entered in Saturday's Grade 2, 440-yard Sam Houston Classic Stakes. PHOTO: Dustin Orona Photography

Oscar Moreno's Dashin For A Prize, a 5-year-old Heza Fast Dash gelding from the barn of trainer Bobby Martinez, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite for Saturday's 440-yard, $50,000 Sam Houston Classic Stakes (G2) at Sam Houston Race Park.

Dashin For A Prize will be shortening in distance off of his half-length victory in thhe 550-yard, $50,000 SLM Big Daddy Stakes at Remington Park on March 19. The gelding's 4-year-old season included a second-place finish, a neck behind winner Rock You, in the 440-yard, $200,000 All American Gold Cup Stakes (G1) at Ruidoso Downs. He also ran fifth, 2 1/2 lengths behind winner Pyro, in last year's Sam Houston Classic.

"He's a nice horse," said Martinez of Dashin For A Prize. "If he gets away good, we've got a shot."

Dashin For A Prize drew post 5 and will be ridden by Oscar Hernandez. The gelding's seven opponents include Jessies First Down, a 5-year-old son of champion FDD Dynasty trained by Judd Kearl for owner Ted G. Abrams, and Terrazas Family's Jumpn Streak, a homebred 4-year-old Jumpn Chic gelding conditioned by Josue Ponce.

Jessies First Down is coming off of a second-place finish to 2014 world champion JRC Callas First in the 440-yard, $108,000 Bank of America Sam Houston Championship Challenge (G2) on April 16. The gelding drew post 6 and will be ridden by Rodrigo Vallejo.

Jumpn Streak will be stretching out in distance off of his convincing wire-to-wire, 1 3/4-length victory in the 400-yard, $25,000 Streakin La Jolla Stakes at Louisiana Downs on March 20. His sophomore campaign included a third-place finish, three-quarters of a length behind winner Marys Coronitas, in the 400-yard, $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G3) at Lone Star Park on November 7.

"He ran a big race in the Streakin La Jolla," said Ponce, who celebrated his 21st birthday last Saturday. "To run third in the (Adequan) Derby was great, and he didn't miss a step in his first start as a 4-year-old."

Past winners of the Sam Houston Classic include world champions Tailor Fit and Streakin Sin Tacha, and champion Kool Kue Baby. The complete lineup in this year's stakes, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
Poker Chip 831 (Jerry Lee Yoakum), 10-1
Fly Thru The Fire (Noe Villatoro), 6-1
Kool Design (Jorge Galvan), 15-1
Jumpn Streak (F.R. Ramirez Jr.), 8-1
Dashin For A Prize (Oscar Hernandez), 5-2
Jessies First Down (Rodrigo Vallejo), 7-2
Jess Toast Winner (Luis Vivanco), 9-2
Quemados Version (Francisco Calderon), 12-1

Also on Saturday, a field of eight distance specialists has been entered in the 870-yard, $25,000 Governor's Cup Marathon Stakes.

Jess Twice Cash, a 6-year-old gelded son of champion Jess Louisiana Blue owned and trained by Ty Remington, drew the rail post and will be ridden by F.R. Ramirez Jr. Jess Twice Cash won a pair of 870-yard racse during the 2015 Lone Star Park fall meet, including the October 3, $30,000 Zoetis Lone Star Distance Challenge, and he ran fourth, 1 1/4 lengths behind winner CR Tuckernuck, in the November 7, $125,000 Zoetis Distance Challenge Championship (G1).

"He loves the hook and always runs well from the inside," said Remington. "We sent him to Hialeah Park for what was supposed to be a four-race distance series, but we only ended up with one. He's doing great, and we're looking forward to coming to Houston."

The complete lineup, in post position order including jockey assignments and morning-line odds:
Jess Twice Cash (F.R. Ramirez Jr.), 7-2
The Field Cricket (Jerry Lee Yoakum), 8-1
Dashers Midnight (Donald Guynes), 5-1
EC Cartel (Donell Blake), 3-1
Iknow Heknows Iknow (Luis Vivanco), 4-1
EBW More Whisky (Gaspar Garcia), 10-1
First Prize Dive (Pedro Espinosa), 12-1
Corona La Jolla (Nestor Duran), 6-1

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