FIELDS SET FOR TEXAS CHAMPIONS WEEKEND AT SAM HOUSTON
Sam Houston Race Park will salute Accredited Texas-breds tonight and Saturday night when they host Texas Champions Weekend. Seven stakes will be contested, with fillies and mares in action tonight at 7:00 pm and colts and geldings taking center stage Saturday night at 6:00 pm.
Judy Peek’s homebred Lasting Bubbles (Pulling Punches – Slim’s Secret) is the 2/1 favorite in the field of six fillies and mares in the six furlong $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes.
Lasting Bubbles won the Yellow Rose in front-running fashion two years ago and ran second in last year’s stakes. Trained by Kevin Peek, the 8-year-old mare is still in very sharp form, with two stakes victories at Lone Star Park and a runner-up finish in the $100,000 Zia Distaff on November 25. She will be ridden again this year by Lindey Wade, and is the high earner in the field with $466,788 in 35 lifetime starts.
Lasting Bubbles will face her stiffest test from Valor Farm Stakes runner-up, 4-year-old Everything Bling (Too Much Bling – Anythingmore). Danele Durham trains the gray filly for Hall’s Family Trust and will give a leg up to jockey Glenn Corbett.
Prada’s Bling (Too Much Bling – Kimbell’s Prada), Expect to Fly (Early Flyer – Martys Expectation), Tea For Two (Valid Expectations – Bridal Tea) and Johnlouisclassical (Valid Expectations – Kristy’s Regency) complete the field.
Fillies and mares will take to the Connally Turf Course for the mile and one-sixteenth San Jacinto Stakes. Last year’s champion, Expect Royalty (Valid Expectations – Autumn Sky) has been installed as the 2/1 choice over her five rivals. Bred, owned and trained by Leroy J. Pollok, she has now won 9 of her 17 lifetime starts; six victories have been on the grass.
Rounding out the field are Whiskey Eyes (Special Rate – Hay Costa), Molly’s Honour (Etesaal – Honour Shaker), Youaremyconnection (Uncle Abbie – Atti Girl Fergie, Seneca Destiny (Seneca Jones – Dixie’s Destiny), and Infectious (Valid Expectations and Red Cell).
A field of eight accredited Texas-bred fillies will compete six furlongs in the final race of tonight’s card, the $50,000 Bara Lass.
Trainer Danele Durham might be honored as the “Queen of Bling” if Too Much Prada (Too Much Bling – Kimbell’s Prada) comes through as the 5/2 favorite. The Hall’s Family Trust homebred won her debut at Lone Star and was impressive with a front-running score in the $75,000 Texas Stallion Stakes last September at Retama Park. Glenn Corbett will ride Too Much Prada, who will break from the rail.
Trainer Danny Pish, who has won the Bara Lass three times, will saddle Indygo Rocket (Indygo Mountain – Rockin Regent) for owners Riley and Ronald Morgan. She ran third in the Texas Stallion Stakes in September, but won her prep for the Bara Lass last month at Delta Downs. She will be ridden by David Cabrera from post position seven.
Completing the field are Easter Ellie (My Golden Song – Dance With Dana), Quick Union (Grasshopper – Quick Tip), Rise to Greatness (Commanchero – Lady Hi Teck), She’sasweet Deputy (Lewis Michael – Bet Sweet), K One Spirit (One King – Crook’s Spirit), and Vanilla (Special Rate – Sublimation).
On Saturday night, several respected veteran sprinters will compete in the six furlong $50,000 Spirit of Texas Stakes. David L. Davis’ homebred A M Milky Way (Elusive Bluff – Actress E), winner of the $50,000 Groovy Stakes last January at Sam Houston Race Park, leads the field at 2/1.
Trainer Karl Broberg, who is off to a great start in the 2016 Sam Houston meet, brings back his gelding off a seven-month layoff. His last race was a seventh-place finish in the Grade 3 CarryBack Stakes at Gulfstream Park in July. Broberg has tabbed veteran rider Patrick Valenzuela to ride the 4-year-old.
His competition will include Circustown Flyer (Early Flyer – Rockin Regent), who was a runner-up in the 2014 Groovy Stakes for owner Ox Creek Farms, Inc. The 5-year-old is trained by Bret Calhoun and has posted three nice works for his 2016 debut. Louisiana-based jockey C. J. McMahon has the call. Carolyn Barnett’s homebred Solar Charge (Authenticate – Another Sunlit) will make his 66th career start in the Spirit of Texas. The 9-year-old, trained by Ellen Williams, won the 2013 edition of the stakes and has surpassed the $500,000 earnings mark. David Cabrera will guide the bay gelding on Saturday night.
Also providing tough competition will be Jump In Line (Erton – Jump City), Nublado Bling (Too Much Bling – General Reunion), Reflector (Ready’s Image – Passionate Dancer), and Salt Lake Flyer (Early Flyer – Salt Cedar).
A very competitive field is entered in the one-mile $50,000 Star of Texas. Last year’s champion, F J Uncle Vic (Uncle Abbie – Let Her Reign), closed in the final stride to win by a half-length. The 5-year-old will once again be ridden by Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez for owners Johnny B. Evans and Terry Eoff. Eoff trains F J Uncle Vic, who has been given odds of 6/1.
Texas Bling (Too Much Bling – Anythingmore), the 9/5 favorite, will make his Sam Houston Race Park debut for Hall ‘s Family Trust and trainer Danele Durham. The 6-year-old was a huge upset winner in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park and then ran second in the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park. He also was the back-to-back winner of the Assault Stakes at Lone Star Park.
2014 Star of Texas champion, Paul Rigali, Jr.’s homebred Texas Air (Texas City – Malaysian Air), returns with 3/1 odds. The 8-year-old is trained by Allen Milligan. The field also includes Supermason (Grasshopper – Folksy), the 2015 Spirit of Texas Stakes victor, Edplicit (Explicit – Hay Costa), and Witt Six (Drums of Thunder – Taitt Hill).
Owner David Davis and trainer Karl Broberg won last year’s Groovy Stakes with A M Milky Way and have another talented 3-year-old, Taylors Angiel ((Private Vow – Itisi), running in this year’s field of ten. He broke his maiden at first asking at Delta Downs on November 13 and won the $50,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes last month at Fair Grounds. Installed as the 3/1 favorite, he will break from post position six.
Trainer Bret Calhoun has won the Groovy Stakes three times and will saddle Victoria Ashford’s homebred Bravura (Early Flyer – Coryphee). The colt won his prep for this race last month at Delta Downs under C. J. McMahon, who will break from post position seven. Trainer Danny Pish will send out Silver Doddge (Silver City – Dodd), who has won his last two for owner Danny Keene and Break Free (Grasshopper – Head For the Shed), owned and bred by Will Farish, Rounding out the field are Mr. Campo (Mr. Nightlinger – Afleet Belle), Imma Bling (Too Much Bling – Imma Be a Wildcat), Jet Over (Jet Phone – Belle of the Band), Fred’s Lucky Boy (Wimbledon – Dancin’ Daphne), Tiz Cherry Wine (Tiz the One – Miss Cherry) and Viciousgrasshopper (Grasshopper – Host the Secret).
The final stakes of Texas Champions Weekend is the $50,000 Richard King Stakes, for 4-year-olds and upward at a mile and one-eighth on the Connally Turf Course.
Rose Mary Chandler’s homebred, I Am Jane Dough (My Golden Song – Strawberry Smile), came from off the pace to win the $50,000 Tomball Distaff for accredited Texas-bred fillies and mares last February. The 5-year-old mare could have run Friday night, but trainer Danny Pish opted to test her against the “boys” in the Richard King. She will be ridden by Glenn Corbett as the 3/1 morning-line choice.
She will face several accomplished turf runners in the nine-horse field, which includes Everything’s a Bet (Everything Free – Colmesa), Magna Breeze (Magna Graduate- Flashbulb Breeze), P Millers Clock (Etesaal – Class Approval), Bully Good (My Golden Song – Uno Mas), Special U F O (Special Rate – Mysterious Light), Rule Breaker (Ish Ar – Heavenly Rules), Early Ride (Early Flyer – Miss My Ride) and Ring Necked (Too Much Bling – Wood Duck).
Best of luck to all involved in Texas Champions Weekend! Also, best of luck to Sam E. Stevens and Sammy L. Stevens’ homebred Ol Winedrinker Who (Sligo Bay – Silverup), who will run in the $65,000 Winsham Lad Handicap at Sunland Park on Saturday!
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