(FROM SHRP PRESS RELEASE)
HOUSTON, TX- The first two stakes of the 2023 Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred season were contested on Saturday afternoon with Stelliot’s Legacy breaking her maiden in the $75,000 Darby’s Daughter and Bling Bling Bling winning the second stakes of his career in the $75,000 My Dandy. The Texas Thoroughbred Association sponsors the Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Texas Stallion Stakes Series (TSSS), a set of races for progeny of nominated Texas-based stallions. The series features three sets of races, each split into two divisions (colts/geldings and fillies) for a purse of $75,000 per division.
Stelliot’s Legacy Breaks Her Maiden Impressively in the $75,000 Darby’s Daughter
Six fillies entered the starting gate in the first feature of the day, the $75,000 Darby’s Daughter with a huge effort from first time starter, Stelliot’s Legacy, who garnered her first stakes score.
Jockey Gerardo Mora dueled for the lead with Come to the Party, who won the Texas Stallion Stakes-Pan Zareta Stakes last June at Lone Star Park. Stelliot’s Legacy had plenty left, taking the lead at the top of the stretch and crossing the wire of the five and one-half furlong stakes in 1:07.37.
Bred by Ronni Blaustein and Roslyn Eisenstark, the filly by Bradester out of the Invasor mare Sugarfoot Angel was making her debut for owners John A. Monday, Rodney Fleenor and Lynn Haverkamp. Trainer Carlos Padilla praised the owners for their patience in his post-race interview.
“We were prepping her for the 2-year-old stakes at Lone Star, but it didn’t work out,” explained Padilla. “Her owners were very patient and she posted a couple of decent breezes at Remington Park. I really liked the way she was training; almost gliding across the track! After working her from the gates, I felt we had to take a shot and it worked out well!”
Mora, who was honored as Sam Houston Race Park leading rider in 2013 and 2014, was pleased with the performance of his filly.
“I worked her from the gates for Carlos; she ran a great race,” said Mora.
Stelliot’s Legacy was sent off at odds of 10-1 and returned $22 for the win. Izatiz, runner-up in the Pan Zareta, finished second under rider Maria Baca, followed by Waving Bye, Blingonmercury, The Next Big Bling and Come to the Party.
The Texas Thoroughbred Association named each of the stakes in the TSSS for notable Texas-breds.Darby’s Daughter made her racing debut in 1988, winning two stakes at Louisiana Downs, the Grade 2, Miss Grillo at Aqueduct and the San Clemente Handicap at Del Mar. She retired with an impressive record of five wins from 15 starts and earnings of $435,104.
Bling Bling Bling Lived Up to His Favored Status in the $75,000 My Dandy
A field of seven colts and geldings competed in the $75,000 My Dandy, but there was no denying Bling Bling Bling who drew off to a three-length victory under rider Stewart Elliott as the odds-on favorite. The son of Too Much Bling out of the Golden Song mare Swifterthantaylor, was a six-length winner in the $81,000 TTA Stallion Series -Staunch Avenger on June 19 at Lone Star Park. Bred by Douglas Scharbauer, Bling Bling Bling then finished fifth in the $150,000 Texas Thoroughbred Futurity one month later.
Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen gave the bay colt time off following the Lone Star meet and he ran a very professional race, taking the lead at the 3/8 pole and covering five and one-half furlongs in 1:05.67 over a fast main track.
Elliott, 2021 and 2022 leading rider here, had ridden the bay colt in each of his previous starts.
“He was comfortable the whole way,” said Elliott. “He seemed more focused as a 3-year-old and knew what he was doing out there.”
Asmussen was in Houston today and gave credit to his horse and longtime Texas owners William and Corinne Heiligbrodt.
“The Texas Stallion Stakes, Texas racing and the Heiligbrodts are very important to us,” said Asmussen. “This colt is another example of what has given us a lot of the success we have enjoyed throughout the years. This horse is pretty rangy, but as he matures, will become an even better runner.”
Asmussen went on to comment on the professionalism of Elliott.
“He’s a great horseman, who has had a tremendous amount of success,” he said. “We are fortunate to have him ride for us. What cannot be overstated about Stewart is his consistency.”
With 14 Sam Houston Race Park leading trainer titles, Asmussen is a huge supporter of Texas racing, but has also won three editions of the Grade 3, Houston Ladies Classic. He was asked about the likelihood that Pauline’s Pearl would defend her title here on January 28.
“Absolutely,” he stated. “She is a tremendous Stonestreet Stables homebred who got her year off to a good start in the Houston Ladies Classic. We are definitely trying to duplicate that.”
This was the second victory in four starts for Bling Bling Bling ($5.00) and the winner’s check of $44,100 boosted his career earnings to $104,000.
Just Whiskey, ran impressively in his debut to complete the exacta under Gerardo Mora. Randy Mayfield bred and owns the Bradester gelding. My Favorite Song completed the trifecta,followed by Little Jony, Im’a Cowboy, Take My Money and Streetster. Moro Mafia and Let’s Tie One On were early scratches.
My Dandy was a 1925 Texas-bred foal who boasted a lifetime record of 191 starts with 47 wins and earnings of $137,923. A true “iron horse”, he ran from 1927 to 1935 and in 1930 made 43 starts in a single year.
Sam Houston Race Park will showcase Texas-bredson Saturday, February 18 with Texas Preview Day featuring the five stakes and Saturday, March 25when the northwest Houston racetrack presents Texas Champions Day with seven $100,000 stakes on the card.
Nominations for the Houston Racing Festival Close on Saturday, January 14
The Houston Racing Festival, with five stakes races offering over $800,000 in purses, will take place onSaturday, January 28 with a 1:00 pm (Central) post time. The Grade 3, $300,000 Houston Ladies Classic, now in its eleventh running, anchors the Houston Racing Festival, which also includes the Grade 3, $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup, $100,000 Bob Bork Texas Turf Mile, $100,000 Bara Lass and $100,000 Groovy Stakes. Contact the Sam Houston Race Park racing office at (281) 807-8889 to nominate to the Houston Racing Festival.
Sam Houston Race Park Post Times and Promotions
The 2023 Thoroughbred racing season opened on Friday, January 6 and will conclude on Saturday, April 8 with racing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 pm (Central). Holiday Monday racing, also at 1:00 pm, will take place on Martin Luther King Day and President’s Day. Admission is$5.00 on all live racing days.
The slogan for the upcoming season is “Houston’s Best Bet!” and fans will be able to enjoy the excitement of live racing with three major Festival events as well as a variety of promotions, special events and food and beverage offerings. In addition to the popular Winner’s Circle Restaurant, the upcoming season will feature new food and bar outlets. The Finish Line Bar will offer fans great views of the track and a high-end drink experience. Those with a sweeter tooth will enjoy the new Whole Scoop, offering a variety of dessert favorites. Happy Hour will be offered each Friday from 3:00- 5:00 pm during the thoroughbred meet. A full schedule of post times and special racing events is posted on shrp.com.
About Sam Houston Race Park
Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located just 15 miles from downtown Houston. Owned by Penn Entertainment Inc., the racetrack, which opened in 1994, offers a variety of attractions including a Suite Level featuring luxurious suites overlooking the racetrack, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and theJockey Club. For more information on upcoming live racing, shows, events and tickets, please visit www.shrp.com.