News and Notes for February 24, 2017

The $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup is the marquee feature of Saturday night’s Maxxam Gold Cup Racing Festival, but each of the three turf stakes on the ten-race card came up with highly competitive fields. A solid group of classy turf sprinters will compete in the $50,000 Bucharest Turf Sprint; fillies and mares will star in the $50,000 Jersey Lilly Stakes and the $50,000 Texas Heritage Stakes for three-year-olds will also be run on the Connally Turf Course. Saturday’s post time is 6:23 p.m. (Central).

The $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup attracted a field of 11 exceptional horses to compete at a distance of a mile and one-eighth on the main track. It will be run as the seventh race of the Saturday night card.

The complete field, in post position order, with riders is: Raagheb, DeShawn Parker; Tiger of Wales, C.J. McMahon; Money Flows, Colby Hernandez; King of New York, Geovanni Franco; Albano, Lindey Wade; Phantom Trip, Paul Nolan; Iron Fist, Iram Diego; Financial Modeling, Sophie Doyle; Witt Six, Sasha Risenhoover; Salsa’s Return, David Cabrera; and Fear The Cowboy, Jesus Rios.

Accredited Texas-bred Witt Six (Drums of Thunder – Taitt Hill) runs for owner Henry Witt Jr.  The 5-year-old gelding has been running mostly in Canada, where he won 3 stakes last year.  He has amassed earnings of $183,431 with a career record of 34-8-4-9. Amanda Barton will saddle him for this race. 

The Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston Race Park had its first running in 1994, and has produced an outstanding roster of distance specialists. Past champions of the mile and one-eighth main track feature include Sir Cherokee, Reporting for Duty, Student Council, Alumni Hall, Cease, Unstoppable U and Red Rifle. Last year’s Maxxam champion was Mobile Bay, who became a millionaire on February 11th at Delta Downs.

Last year, trainer Joe Sharp saddled the winner and runner-up of the $50,000 Bucharest Turf Sprint. He is hoping for a repeat performance from Newport Racing Stables LLC’s American Sailor, a five-year-old son of City Zip, who won the 2016 edition of the five-furlong dash in front running fashion.

His toughest test will likely come from Partly Mocha, who returns to Sam Houston after a definitive victory in the Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint on January 29. Owned by Sarah and Kenneth Ramsey, the eight-year-old son of Half Ours is trained by Mike Maker. He won with a rail-skimming ride by Jose Ortiz last month, and drew the far inside post again for Saturday’s stakes.

The field of seven includes Accredited Texas-bred stakes winner Meme Jo (Too Much Bling – Honey Gold), bred by Jeanne Bruce and trained by George Bryant for Team Bryant Thoroughbreds. The 7-year-old gelding finished third in the Sam Houston Sprint Cup Stakes on February 11th and has been given odds of 15/1.

Completing the field are Mascherato, Dance Proudly, Wings Locked Up and Ishaq.

Mexican Miss shipped in last year for the $50,000 Jersey Lilly Stakes, and the daughter of More Than Ready topped a full field in her stakes debut. Owned by Brad Grady, the six-year-old mare is back to defend her title in the mile and one-sixteenth turf stakes. Jockey C. J. McMahon has the mount, and will break from post position two. Mexican Miss ran in two stakes last year after the Jersey Lilly and made her 2017 debut on February 4 at Fair Grounds.

The Jersey Lilly is not lacking for stakes-level competition with Miss Mo Kelly, a Congrats mare trained by Paul Holthus and Iowa Stallion Stakes winner Another Bond Girl, the local hopeful for the Brent Davidson barn at Sam Houston Race Park.

Trainer Mike Maker has won the Jersey Lilly three times, all with progeny of Kitten’s Joy for Sarah and Kenneth Ramsey. His 2015 winner was Kitten’s Queen; in 2014 he won with Always Kitten, and he captured the 2013 edition of the turf stakes with Artemus Kitten. This year, Maker will run the five-year-old English Channel filly Susie Bee, owned by Calumet Farm. The gray multiple-stakes winner ran fifth in last year’s Jersey Lilly and third in the $50,000 Houston Distaff here on January 29.

Completing the field are Selenite, Untouchable, Enchanteresse, Event of Default, Stormquility, and Girl’s Rule.

The $50,000 Texas Heritage Stakes has attracted a field of eleven three-year-olds to compete at the distance of one mile and one-sixteenth on the Connally Turf Course, including five Accredited Texas-breds.

At 10/1 is Fast Talkin Man (Oratory – Dancingwithfortune), a homebred for the partnership of Born to Run LLC, Marietta Burks, and Carl and Betty Davis.  He is trained by Danny Pish. J.R. Caldwell will saddle Stewart Armstrong’s homebred Valentine Street (Street Move – Crissy Aya), who is listed at 15/1.

Also listed at 15/1 is Henry Wit Jr.’s homebred filly – yes, a filly – Witt’s Town (Drums of Thunder – Fortunistic).  Amanda Barton is the trainer.

Jose Luis Espinoza’s homebred Moojab Jr. (Moojab – Ticket) is trained by Jerenesto Torrez and goes off at 20/1, as does Hal Browning’s homebred Blanco Grande (Cape Blanco (IRE) – Annie Savoy, trained by Kari Craddock.

The 5/2 favorite is Taco, who, puts his three-race win streak on the line. The son of Gio Ponti was a back-to-back winner at Gulfstream Park and ships in off a solid allowance score at Fair Grounds.

Phat Man, at 7/2 is owned by Brad Grady, and ran in the Grade 3, $200,000 LeComte at Fair Grounds for Joe Sharp. He will make his fourth career start, and second try on the turf.

Current Sam Houston Race Park leaders Steve Asmussen and Iram Diego team up with 9/2 Smooth Flight, a Kentucky-bred son of Concord Point. Owned by Griseldo Trevino, Asmussen steps him directly to stakes company following a solid maiden-breaking win here on February 7.

This will be the second year that the Texas Heritage Stakes will be contested on the Connally Turf Course. It has been a springboard race for several notable three-year-olds including Departing, who won in 2013, then added four graded stakes. Kip Deville, captured the 2006 edition of the Texas Heritage Stakes, before winning the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Monmouth Park.

Two Accredited Texas-breds will compete in a field of seven for Sunday’s $75,000 Curribot Handicap for 3-year-olds and up going a mile and a sixteenth at Sunland Park.

At 7/2 is Ol Winedrinker Who (Sligo Bay (IRE) – Silverup), a homebred for Sam E. Stevens and Sammy L. Stevens.  The 8-year-old gelding was second in the $65,000 Winsham Lad Handicap on January 21 at Sunland.  He boasts a career record of 44-13-5-7 with $777,694 in earnings.

Overland Park (Snow Ridge – Bonnie’s Slam) is listed at 4/1.  Bred by Joe K. Davis, the 5-year-old gelding now runs for Donna Eaton and is trained by Nancy Summers.  He won an allowance optional claiming race on February 7th here.

The Texas Thoroughbred Association is pleased to announce that it has catalogued more than 100 horses for the second annual Texas Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale. It is to be held at the Texas Thoroughbred Sales Pavilion on the grounds of Lone Star Park on Tuesday, April 4, at noon. The under tack show is set for Sunday, April 2, at Lone Star starting at 11:00 a.m.

“We have almost 25 percent more juveniles in this sale than we did at last year’s inaugural sale,” said Mary Ruyle, executive director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association. “Our sire power has also increased significantly, and we have a strong mix of horses bred in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, and of course also Kentucky, so I think this auction is headed in the right direction.”

Among the nationally prominent sires represented are Bodemeister, Creative Cause, Into Mischief, Midnight Lute, Munnings, Quality Road, Tale of the Cat, Tapizar, The Factor and Twirling Candy in addition to first crop sires Shanghai Bobby, Paynter, Overanalyze and Morning Line.

“I am very pleased with the national sire power our consignors have pointed to the sale,” commented Tim Boyce, sale director, “plus we have horses by top Texas sires like Too Much Bling, Grasshopper and My Golden Song that will also turn some heads. Our sale-topper last year looked like a Richard Stone Reeves print wherever she stood.” 

Boyce was referring to Texas-bred Bling on the Music, a daughter of Too Much Bling who sold for $95,000 to Danny Keene from the consignment of Asmussen Horse Center.

“She had the fastest breeze for an 1/8 in the under tack show and was just as gorgeous standing as she was moving,” said Boyce. “And then she went on to win two stakes and place in a Grade 2 at Churchill Downs.”

Videos for the under tack show will be posted online again this year and an enhanced, interactive online catalog will be available allowing consignors to showcase their offerings with additional photos, videos and information.

Graduates of the sale will be eligible for the Texas Thoroughbred Sales Futurity to be run in two $100,000-estimated divisions at Lone Star Park this year.

The catalog is now available at and will be mailed out shortly. The sale will again be live-streamed online on the TTA Sales website.

Supplements are still being taken for the sale, and additional consignments will be announced.

The next Roses to Ribbons Old Fashioned Horse Fair is scheduled for Saturday, March 4 at Sam Houston Race Park.  The event is an opportunity for the public to shop for off the track thoroughbreds. Available horses will be shown to the public in the saddling paddock area.

Along with horses there will be a horse fair featuring all sorts of horse related products as well as equine artists. The event goes on rain or shine.

Photos of available horses and more information can be found at

NOTES: The Texas Animal Health Commission has stated that a case of Equine Herpes Virus has been confirmed in Denton County – see details at We extend our sympathy to the family of former TTA Director Nita Brooks-Lewallen of Stephenville wo passed away this week at the age of 94.  The complete obituary for this amazing woman can be viewed at