The 2014 Thoroughbred racing season at Sam Houston Race Park gets underway on Friday, January 17. Post times are set for Friday and Saturday (7 p.m.); Monday (1 p.m.) and a newly-added Tuesday afternoon card (1 p.m.). The meet will feature 24 stakes races and average daily purses in excess of $165,000.
Opening night for the 32-day Thoroughbred season kicks off with Texas Champions Weekend, shining the spotlight on Texas-breds with seven stakes worth a total of $350,000. Fillies and mares will compete in the $50,000 Bara Lass; $50,000 Yellow Rose and $50,000 San Jacinto Stakes. On Friday, January 17, Sam Houston Race Park offers Free Admission for Military with Military ID. It will also be the first of the ongoing promotion, entitled 50 Cent Beer Fridays featuring 50 Cent Draft Beer and $1.50 Wine Specials every Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Saturday, January 18 card features four stakes as part of Texas Champions Weekend. Colts and geldings will compete in the $50,000 Groovy Stakes, $50,000 Spirit of Texas, $50,000 Richard King and $50,000 Star Of Texas.
A rich stakes schedule offering a total of $1.6 million continues on January 25 with the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic, $200,000 Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup, $75,000 Champions Energy Services Stakes, $50,000 Allen’s Landing Stakes; February 1: $50,000 Tomball Stakes; February 8: $50,000 Bucharest Stakes; February 15: $75,000 Jim’s Orbit Stakes & $75,000 Two Altazano Stakes (Texas Stallion Stakes), $50,000 Jersey Lilly Stakes; February 22: $50,000 Sam Houston Sprint Cup, Texas Six Shooter Stakes & Texas Yellow Rose Stakes; March 1: $100,000 MAXXAM Gold Cup, $50,000 Jersey Village Stakes, $50,000 Texas Heritage Stakes; March 8: Sheikha Mubarak Ladies Stakes & HH Sheikh Zayed Cup for Arabians.
Defending Champions and New Arrivals Ensure a Competitive Jockey Colony
A very solid jockey colony is shaping up for the 2014 live racing season. Past leading rider champions Gerardo Mora (2013),Glen Murphy (2000 & 2012), Lindey Wade (2011), Paul Nolan (2010) and Larry Taylor (2007) will return as will Roman Chapa, Ernesto Valdez-Jimenez, Ivan Arrellano and brothers, Bryan and Eric McNeil.
Veteran jockey Deshawn Parker will ship his tack to Houston for the first time, primarily to ride for trainer Eric Reed, but the 43 year-old rider looks forward to picking up mounts for a number of horsemen.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Parker rode his first race in 1988 at ThistleDown Racecourse and has won 4,456 career races. He completed 2013 as the seventh leading rider in North America. Racing fans know him from Mountaineer Park, where he just won his sixth leading rider title.
Married, with two sons, Parker has ridden over 28,500 horses and has no plans of slowing down at this juncture.
“I have been lucky in avoiding serious injuries and just love what I do,” states Parker. “Watching Gary Stevens return to such a high level of riding has been an inspiration to me. I look forward to my first meet at Sam Houston.”
Bobby Walker, Jr., who had his share of stakes wins at Sam Houston Race Park will take on a new role this year. Walker will be the agent for riders Justin Shepherd and apprentice Garrett Steinberg.
Exciting Promotional Schedule set for the 2014 Live Racing Season
In addition to the thrill of live racing, Sam Houston Race Park is offering one of its most exciting and action-packed promotional schedules for the 2014 season, with the always popular Camel & Ostrich Races expanded to Two Nights on March 7 and 8.
The 2014 Sam Houston Race Park special events and promotions include:
- Opening Night/Texas Champions Weekend Kick Off with 50 Cent Draft Beer, $1.50 Wine Specials, and Free Admission for Military in uniform. (January 17)
- 50 Cent Beer Fridays featuring 50 Cent Draft Beer and $1.50 Wine Specials every Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- Houston Ladies Classic featuring the richest thoroughbred race day in Texas benefiting Susan G. Komen, hat contest, drink specials and more! (January 25)
- Chinese New Year Celebration featuring a Dragon Dance and Asian inspired food selections. (January 31)
- Food Trucks Day featuring a variety of Houston’s best food trucks outside of the Paddock. Last year’s event included local favorites such as Bernie’s Burger Bus, Kurbside Eatz, Good Dog Hot Dogs, Happy Endings, and Porch Swing Desserts. (February 1)
- Wiener Dog Races highlighting the fastest Wiener dogs in Houston and $1 hot dogs. (February 8)
- Dollar Day at The Park featuring $1 admission, live racing programs, hot dogs, soda and draft beer. Free Petting Zoo. (February 15 & April 19)
- Ladies Night where ladies get in free and enjoy $2.00 wine specials (February 22)
- Camel & Ostrich Races has been expanded to two nights in 2014 after a sell out in 2013. This year’s event will star reigning Camel Racing Champion Chita Johnson from Houston’s KHOU Channel 11. (March 7 & 8)
- Kentucky Derby Day highlighting simulcast action direct from Churchill Downs, mint julep specials, hat contest and more! (May 3)
- Mother’s Day Brunch Special featuring live racing, $50 premier buffet in the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and a special post time. (May 11)