News and Notes for January 16, 2015


Sam Houston Race Park will kick off its 22nd racing season tonight. Opening night will honor the men and women who serve our country with Free Admission for Military (with ID) and a salute to Accredited Texas-breds.

The 10-race card will be highlighted by three Texas Champions Weekend stakes, each with a purse of $50,000: the Yellow Rose for older fillies and mares; the Bara Lass for 3-year-old fillies and the San Jacinto Stakes with fillies and mares competing on the turf course.

Defending champion Lasting Bubbles leads the field of six fillies and mares in the 6-furlong Yellow Rose Stakes.

Last year, Judy Peek’s homebred daughter of Pulling Punches won the Yellow Rose in front-running fashion also captured the $50,000 Wayne Hanks Memorial Stakes and the $50,000 Valor Farm at Lone Star Park as well as the $75,000 Zia Distaff on November 26. Chris Rosier, who rode her to victory in the Wayne Hanks Memorial Stakes, has the mount.

Lasting Bubbles is the high earner in the field with $358,418 in 27 lifetime starts. She will face her stiffest test from stakes winner Platinum Song, who captured the 2013 Bara Lass. The 5-year-old daughter of My Golden Song is owned by Sharon McDaniel. Randy Mayfield trains the grey mare who will be ridden by E. T. Baird.

Rounding out the field are Early Fantasy (Early Flyer – Personal Fantasy), Moon Bling (Too Much Bling – Fiery Forum), Sassy Badger (Final Row (GB) – Auntie Adele), and J Gray (Too Much Bling – Excess Loot).

The Yellow Rose will run as the seventh race on the card with an approximate post time of 9:46 p.m. (CT).

Trainers Bret Calhoun and Danny Pish each have two entrants in Friday’s eighth race, the Bara Lass for 3-year-old fillies.

Calhoun won the 2014 Bara Lass with Scooter’s Choice and hopes for good efforts from Silver City Sal and Santacafe. Both fillies broke their maiden last May at Lone Star Park with Santacafe running second to the highly regarded Vivian Da Bling in the filly division of the $100,000 TTA Sales Futurity last July at Lone Star Park.

Both fillies were bred by the late Clarence Scharbauer Jr. and are owned by his son, Douglas.

Santacafe, the 3/1 favorite, will be ridden by Chris Rosier and Lindey Wade will pilot Silver City Sal.

Pish will saddle Silver Akantha, a Silver City filly bred and owned by John Silverthorne Ranch Inc. She has won two of her three starts and will be ridden by Gerardo Mora, leading rider at Sam Houston for the past two years. Roman Chapa will guide Infectious, a daughter of Valid Expectations, who broke her maiden on November 15 at Remington Park. She is a Will S. Farish homebred.

“I have always had some nice Texas Champions wins,” acknowledges Pish.  “Some of my horses have stepped up and run their best races in these stakes.”

Completing the field are Apache Belle (Jet Phone – Kachinga), Carol’s Flyer (Early Flyer – Deep Finesse), Tea For Two (Valid Expectations – Bridal Tea), and Moon Baby (Sing Baby Sing – Summer Moon).

Fillies and mares will take to the Connally Turf Course in the final stakes of the evening, the mile and one-sixteenth San Jacinto Stakes. Last year’s champion, Smiles Golden Song, owned by Sylvia Baird, returns to action and will be ridden by Deshawn Parker.

Trainer Larry Stroope will saddle the 6-year-old daughter of My Golden Song, who has now won 6 of her 14 turf career races.

2013 champion, Vilao, owned by Rugged Cross Racing, will attempt to turn the tables on Smiles Golden Song. Trainer Rebecca Baker reports that Vilao is in good form for her return. She drew post position nine and will have regular rider, Ramon Luna aboard.

The field of 12 includes Green Briar Kitty (Day of the Cat – Green Briar Rose), who closed for second in the 2014 San Jacinto, at odds of 52-1. David Cabrera will ride the 6-year-old mare for owner Danny Burnett.

Providing tough competition are 4/1 favorite Expect Royalty (Valid Expectations – Autumn Sky), Another Dollar (My Golden Song – Another Day), Girl Wando (Wando – Manda Girl), Sheridan’s Bling (Too Much Bling – Deeya Maria), Molly’s Honour (Etesaal – Honour Shaker), Wampas Kitty (Captain Countdown – Ms. Winfrey), Julie’s Memory (Etesaal – Memory Call), I Am Jane Dough (My Golden Song – Strawberry Smile), and Witt’s Charm (Penitent Man – Palace Charmer).

Saturday’s Texas Champions Weekend stakes for colts and geldings will include the Groovy Stakes, Richard King Stakes, Spirit of Texas Stakes and the Star of Texas Stakes, each with purses of $50,000.

Carded as the 6th race, the Star of Texas Stakes for 4-year-olds and upwards going a mile boasts a competitive field of 8, starting with last year’s winner, the 5/2 favorite Texas Air (Texas City – Malaysian Air).  The 7-year-old Paul Rigali homebred will be saddled by Allen Milligan and piloted by Lindey Wade. Texas Air will be making his 35th career start and has bankrolled $174,099 to date.

Completing the field are He Has Bling (Too Much Bling – Deeya Maria), Wajir On Me (Wajir – Bon Ami) who is making his 103rd start, Devils Jewel (Devil His Due – La Samanna), Chitaurus (Quick Rib – Tyler’s Tops), Ring Necked (Too Much Bling – Wood Duck), F J Uncle Vic (Uncle Abbie – Let Her Reign), and Defiant Flyer (Early Flyer – Rosebud Souix).

Several respected veteran sprinters will compete in the six furlong $50,000 Spirit of Texas Stakes. 2013 champion, Gold Element (Gold Legend – Five Elements) and Solar Charge (Authenticate – Another Sunlit) who won the 2012 edition of the Spirit of Texas Stakes, are two of the top contenders.

Carolyn Barnett’s homebred Solar Charge has earned $446,594 in 53 career starts. The 8-year-old, trained by Ellen Williams, ran second in last year’s Spirit of Texas to Sam Houston Horse of the Meet Triumph and Song.  Solar Charge scored in the $50,000 Premiere Stakes at Lone Star Park last April. Lindey Wade will guide the bay gelding on Saturday night.

Gold Element, owned by Danny Keene, will be ridden by David Cabrera. The son of Gold Legend is a notable “horse for the course” with a record at Sam Houston of four wins from six starts.

Wagson (Wagon Limit – Great Lady B), owned by Texas Bucket List Racing LLC, ran third in the 2014 Spirit of Texas.  The 6-year-old was claimed by Karl Broberg, and prepped for this stakes with a six furlong victory last month at Fair Grounds.

Completing the field are Mighty Rhett (Special Rate – Hermighty), Peeta (Early Flyer – Wild Ditty), Edplicit (Explicit – Hay Costa), Hempstead (Chief Three Sox – Colleague), and Jump In Line (Erlton – Jump City).

Trainer Bret Calhoun has won the $50,000 Groovy Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings three times and will have three chances again this year.

Calhoun’s entrants are Douglas Scharbauer’s Alamo City (Silver City – Most Magic) with Deshawn Parker in the irons and Silverhill (Silver City – Indian Nation) with Colby Hernandez up. Supermason (Grasshopper – Folksy) at 2/1, owned by Brad Grady, completes the Calhoun trio.

In an interesting post position scenario, the three are entered side-by-side and will break from the far outside posts in the nine-horse field.

Rounding out the field are Witt Six (Drums of Thunder – Taitt Hill), My Nephew Andrew (Gaff – Suzy True), Plaska (Intimidator – Wild Mist), A M Milky Way (Elusive Bluff – Actress E), In The Pocket (Gilded Crusader – Pedro’s Choice), and Witt’s Tax Day (Drums of Thunder – Bill Collector).

Finally, a field of 10 will go forth in the Richard King at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.  Last year, Quiet Acceleration, under jockey Roman Chapa, slipped through an opening inside the sixteenth pole to take the Richard King. Bred, owned and trained by Danny Pish, the 6-year-old has solid turf credentials and has topped the $200,000 earnings mark.  Chapa will guide the dark bay gelding, who will make his 34th career start.

Trainer Michael Maker will saddle 5/2 favorite Magna Breeze (Magna Graduate – Flashbulb Breeze) for William Butler.  Magna Breeze captured the Texas Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Retama Park, and is in pursuit of his fourth consecutive win.  Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez, who was aboard for the Hall of Fame victory on October 18, will ride.

Fly the Red Eye (Early Flyer – Rare and Sixy) and Seeking West (Authenticate – Seeking a Storm), who placed second and fourth, respectively, in the Texas Racing Hall of Fame Stakes, are two of the other contenders in the ten-horse field.

Rounding out the field are Rule Breaker (Ish Ar – Heavenly Rules), Fiery Dream (Valid Expectations – Fiery Forum), Spiderman Ridge (Ben’s Ridge (GB) – Lady Elagance), Anew Rumor (New Trieste – Miss Bailey), Special Praise (River Squall – With Praise), and Special U F O (Special Rate – Mysterious Light).

Some tracks in northeast, as well as Sam Houston Race Park, have been unable to receive premier simulcast signals due to an impasse between the MidAtlantic Cooperative and Monarch Content Management, a company that negotiates simulcast agreements for The Stronach Group and several other racetracks, that has continued into its second month with no end in sight.

The dispute means horseplayers are unable to wager on Gulfstream Park, Laurel, Santa Anita Park, and Tampa Bay Downs.

The Paulick Report provided the following analysis:

Simulcast agreements are kept private, but it’s believed most tracks pay between 3 and 6% for the right to import a signal for wagering purposes, with premium tracks like Santa Anita and Gulfstream at the high end of that scale and smaller tracks like Portland Meadows on the low end.

That host fee is generally divided 50/50 between the track and horsemen presenting the live races, which means between 1.5% and 3% of every simulcast dollar wagered goes to purses at that track (the same amount helps the track owner presenting live racing pay operating expenses). The remaining 14 to 17% of the takeout (minus expenses) stays at the simulcast location (based on a blended takeout rate of 20%). If that track offers live racing, half of the retained takeout goes to purses. So that’s 7 to 8.5% for purses at the simulcast receiver and 7 to 8.5% for the simulcast facility. That is IF the simulcast facility operates live racing.

And that is the biggest stumbling block in the Monarch-MidAtlantic Cooperative negotiations. Monarch says too many members of the Coop either do not present live racing or they are a Standardbred racetrack.

The complete article can be viewed here:

NOTES: The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will take no action against trainer Steve Asmussen or his assistant Scott Blasi based on accusations made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, according to a report released Thursday… A new Kentucky horse tourism group has been formed to provide a better way to tell the horse industry’s story with the non-profit organization serving as a central booking outlet for tours of Kentucky farms, equine clinics, and local equine attractions… Texas-bred Promise Me Silver captured yesterday’s $100K Dixie Belle Stakes to open the Oaklawn Park meet, and the daughter of Valor Farm stallion Promise Me Silver is now undefeated with five wins at five different tracks (including four stakes). Read more about her here –…TTA Accreditation /Racing Manager Jennifer Gibbs would like to thank everyone for their kindness in the aftermath of the fire that destroyed her home earlier this month. Stallion seasons have been donated to a special auction to assist her. For more info, go to…Best We wish the best of racing luck to Accredited Texas-breds Zooming (After Market – Dance Studio), who is running in the $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds on Saturday, and to Thegirlinthatsong (My Golden Song – Belle of the Band), competing in the $200,000 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita.