News and Notes for February 10, 2017

A field of nine accredited Texas-breds will compete in the $50,000 Houston Turf Stakes for 4-year-olds and up going a mile and a sixteenth on Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park

Macassar Corporation’s homebred Can’t Be Wrong (Broken Vow – Running Dispute) has been installed as the 5-2 morning line choice. Trained by Danny Pish, the four-year-old gelding captured the $50,000 Texas Hall of Fame Stakes on October 16 at Retama Park. It was his third turf win in a row. 

Preacher Preacher (Preachinatthebar – Smart Doll), owned by Mindy Willis, Steve Bragg and Morris Thompson, will make his stakes debut on Saturday night. The six-year-old gelding bred by Paul Rigali Jr. won a $20,000 allowance over the Connally Turf Course two weeks ago.  He has odds of 7-2

Willis is off to a very good start in the 2017 Sam Houston Thoroughbred meet with 10 wins since opening day on January 20. She is hoping Preacher Preacher can give her co-owners their first stakes win.

The 9-2 choice, Magna Breeze (Magna Graduate – Flashbulb Breeze), a seven-year-old son of Magna Graduate, ran second in this stakes last year. Bred by Joanne Schapiro, Steve Asmussen claimed the bay gelding from trainer Mike Maker for $5,000 last July at Ellis Park. Asmussen, who also trains Magna Breeze, has given the mount to current leading Sam Houston Race Park jockey Iram Diego.

Completing the field are Early Ride (Early Flyer – Miss My Ride), bred by Jane Jones, owned and trained by Karen Jacks; Hal Browning’s homebred Mav Master (Mizzen Mast – Annie Savoy); Sing It Up (Sing Bay Sing – Undeclared) bred by Tom Durant and Owned by Powderhorn Racing; Ronald Podraza’s homebred Special Praise (River Squall – With Praise); Bonjour Baby (Sing Baby Sing – Secret Sweep), bred by Tom Durant and owned by Alvin Wong; and Spider’s Alibi (Lookin at Lucky – Miss Missile) owned by Terry Propps who bred him in partnership with trainer Charlie Smith.

The $50,000 Sam Houston Sprint Cup for 4-year-olds and up going six furlongs drew a contentious mix of proven stakes winners and rising stars, including four Accredited Texas-breds.

The race marks the return of Bravura (Early Flyer – Coryphee), Sam Houston Race Park’s 2016 Horse of the Meet. Bred and owned by Victoria Ashford, the colt is trained by Bret Calhoun. Last year, Bravura was victorious in the $50,000 Groovy Stakes and followed that with an impressive score in the $75,000 Jim’s Orbit. His time of 1:10.59 in the Jim’s Orbit was one of the swiftest clockings of the season, and he was the only multiple stakes winner of the meet.  His odds are listed at 6-1.

Ronnie Cravens will saddle David Davis’ homebred A M Milky Way (Elusive Bluff – Actress E), who has been given odds of 10/1.

At 12/1 is Meme Jo (Too Much Bling – Honey Gold), bred by Jeanne Bruce and trained by George Bryant for Team Bryant Racing.

Larry Stroope will send out Alvin Wong’s Turn Up the Lights (Touch Tone – Thunderforafantasy), bred by Tom Durant.

The field, from the rail, is: Union Jackson, Iram Diego; Flat Black, Curtis Kimes; Meme Jo, Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez; Chifforobe, Quincy Hamilton; Mascherato, Sasha Risenhoover; Bravura, DeShawn Parker; Ishaq, Jesus Rios; Turn Up The Lights, David Cabrera; Wings Locked Up, Paul Nolan; and A M Milky Way, Ivan Arellano.

Sam Houston Race Park will host the six-furlong $65,000 Jim’s Orbit and $65,000 Two Altazano on Saturday, February 18. Both are part of the Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Texas Stallion Stakes Series. Also, the Maxxam Racing Festival, which features four stakes, is set for Saturday, February 25. The featured events are the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup, $50,000 Jersey Lilly, $50,000 Bucharest Turf Sprint and $50,000 Texas Heritage Stakes.

Iram Diego, the leading rider in the 2016 Sam Houston Thoroughbred meet, had a big week, winning nine races to take a commanding lead in the standings. Diego, who once again is riding first call in Houston for Steve Asmussen, already has 20 wins for the season. David Cabrera is second with 14 first-place finishes. Ivan Arellano and Sasha Risenhoover are tied with nine wins each, and Deshawn Parker, who was the leading rider at Sam Houston in the 2015 Thoroughbred meet, follows with eight wins. 

In the trainer standings, Steve Asmussen steamrolled through the third week of the meet, winning eight races. The Hall of Famer, who has seven leading trainer titles at Sam Houston Race Park, is now in the lead with 14 wins. Mindy Wills, last week’s leader, is now in second place with 10 trips to the winner’s circle. Jerenesto Torrez follows with six wins, and Bret Calhoun rounds out the top four with five victories.

Asmussen is also off to a great start as an owner and shares the lead in this category with Jose Luis Espinoza. They have each won six races. Asmussen’s client, Clark O. Brewster, follows with four victories.

The TTA has compiled a list of breeders and owners who have earned money through the Accredited Texas-Bred (ATB) Program for 2015 racing and for various reasons, has been unable to pay. Usually the problem is very simple to correct. Perhaps we need a tax identification number, a Transfer of Accreditation Form or copy of a Jockey Club Certificate. View the list at and call the TTA’s Accreditation Department at (512) 458-6133 so we can complete your paperwork and you can collect your ATB earnings!

NOTES: Saturday marks the return of the popular Wiener Dog Races at Sam Houston Race Park. The entertaining event will feature Dachshunds in all shapes and colors racing approximately 30 yards from the starting gate to the finish line between live Thoroughbred horse races…The Texas Racing Commission will meet at 10:30 next Thursday, February 16 at the offices of the Texas Animal Health Commission.  The agenda and meeting materials can be found at… The TTA Board of Directors will meet at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday, February 18th…Friday, February 24 is the deadline to cast your vote for the 2016 Texas Champion Claimer.  For more information and to vote, go to… The next Roses to Ribbons event will take place at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday, March 4.  For more information, go to