News and Notes for January 29, 2021

Since Retama Park did not run Thoroughbreds in 2020, Sam Houston Race Park agreed to run both divisions of the second leg of the Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Texas Stallion Stakes, each with a purse of $75,000.

The Darby’s Daughter division has a field of 6 fillies, headed up by 8-5 favorite Star of the North, a Minnesota-bred by Texas stallion The Hunk, a homebred for Michael Grossman that is trained by Francisco Bravo. In her last out, Minnesota North won the $100,000 Northern Lights Debutante Stakes at Canterbury by 4 ½ lengths in September.

At 5-2 is Wink Texas (Too Much Bling – Dixie Miner), bred by Stephen Baker and owned by Racing to the Cross LLC.

Danny Pish will send out W. S. Farish’s homebred 3-1 Great Affection (Grasshopper – Infectious), who won the filly division of the first leg of the TSS by 3 ¼ lengths at Lone Star in July.

Completing the field are 6-1 Cosmetology (Bradester – Fear the Facelift), 10-1 Bebop Baby (Too Much Bling – Conquest Bebop), and 12-1 Swift Red Bird (Grasshopper – Swifter Than Taylor).

Douglas Scharbauer has two homebreds in the field of 8 for the My Dandy division for colts and geldings. Dust Em (Too Much Bling – Dixie Dust) is the 2-1 favorite and won his last out at Remington on December 18th. Stone Café (Stonesider – Santacafe) has odds of 9-2.  Both are trained by Bret Calhoun.

Karl Broberg will saddle 3-1 Carbon Stryker (Crossbow – Whiskey Girl) for owner Three Feathers Farm.  The gelding was bred by Randel Ray Riley.

Rounding out the field are 8-1 Island Sun (Too Much Bling – Pacific Sunset), 6-1 Tap the Dot (Moro Tap – Dot Product), 20-1 Policy Limit (Bradester – In Gold Blood), 12-1 K C Tiz Moro (Moro Tap – Winning Turn), and 10-1 Sr. Bi Bi (Too Much Bling – Dixieland Baby).

Sam Houston Race Park will host its annual Houston Racing Festival on Sunday, January 31. A special post time of 1:45 pm (CT) has been set for the marquee day of the 2021 Thoroughbred meet with six featured stakes.

The $100,000 Pulse Power Turf Sprint at 5 furlongs on the turf will kick off the stakes action with a full field of twelve competing in the fifth race of the card.  

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who has been honored as Sam Houston Race Park’s leading trainer 12 times, won the 2012 edition of this stakes with Great Mills.  He will saddle Share The Upside who has a perfect three-for-three turf record.  

Conditioner Joe Sharp returns with Brad Grady’s Fast Boat, a 6-year-old son of City Zip. He has won seven of his 21 turf starts and is the 7-2 morning line choice. Last year, he ran a game second to Real News.  

Carotari will make his Sam Houston Race Park debut for trainer Brian Lynch. The 5-year-old son of Artie Schiller set a five furlong track record at Saratoga and faced some serious company last year.  

It will be very nice to welcome back conditioner Michelle Lovell, a former jockey, who began her training career at Sam Houston Race Park in 2003. She will send in Change of Control, a 5-year-old mare by Fed Biz. She exits a third-place finish in the Nelson Menard Stakes at Fair Grounds.

A field of nine will compete in the $75,000 Stonerside Sprint, which will run as the sixth race of the card. The 8-5 favorite is Nitrous, a 5-year-old son of Tapit trained by Steve Asmussen. The 5-year-old has earned $547,796 in 18 starts and is coming off a victory in the $125,000 Thanksgiving Classic at Fair Grounds.

Fellow Fair Grounds shipper Hollis, from the barn of John Alexander Ortiz has odds of 5-2.

Trainer Scott Young has high hopes for Bourbon Cowboy.  The 9-year-old son of Cowboy Cal was claimed at Remington Park last August for $20,000 by Young and his owner Terral Hogan. He won sprinting at the Oklahoma City racetrack on December 12 and his four-length victory at Sam Houston on January 9 propelled Young to nominate the Kentucky-bred gelding for the Stonerside Sprint.

Formerly named the Sam Houston Sprint Cup, this stakes was renamed in 2019 to honor the late Robert C. McNair and his Stonerside Stable. The well-respected Thoroughbred operation, in central Kentucky, produced national and international racing stars, including Congaree, Bob and John, Tout Charmont and Chilukki. McNair sold Stonerside Stable to Darley in 2008 to devote his full attention to his Houston Texans NFL team and numerous philanthropic causes.

The $200,000 Texas Turf Mile will run as the seventh race on the card with an approximate post time of 5:00 pm (CT). 

The quality and quantity of entries exceeded expectations for the first running of the $200,000 Texas Turf Mile last January. The race garnered even greater interest this year with an overflow field including Texas-bred Bobby Brinkley. 

Eclipse Award winning trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle 3-1 favorite Fighting Force, who finished second in the $75,000 Dania Beach at Gulfstream Park on January 2.

Pletcher also has 7-2 Winfromwithin who won his last out at Gulfstream on January 2nd.

William T. Reed’s homebred Excess Magic brings a two-race win streak into the stakes and will be saddled by Bret Calhoun. He has odds of 9-2 and is coming off a 4-length win at Fair Grounds.

The Grade 3, $300,000 Houston Ladies Classic will run as the eighth race with a field of seven including Texas-bred Shes Our Fastest. The multiple stakes winner was third in the $100,000 Treasure Chest Stakes at Delta Downs in November and has odds of 20-1.

The even money favorite is Kentucky-bred Letruska who won the G3 Rampart Stakes at Gulfstream by a whopping 6 ¾ lengths.

At 7-2 is Motion Emotion, and at 4-1 is Lady Apple, winner of last year’s edition of this race, both trained by Steve Asmussen. 

The Grade 3, John B. Connally Turf Cup, which will run as the ninth race on the card, attracted a full field of turf specialists. The field for the one and one-half mile stakes includes 5-2 favorite Spooky Channel, 7-2 Conviction Trade, and 9-2 Tut’s Revenge.

The $75,000 Jersey Lilly Stakes, a mile and-one-sixteenth turf feature for fillies and mares, will close out the Houston Racing Festival card as the tenth race. 

Catch a Bid, a 5-year-old mare by Real Solution, has been installed as the 7-5 morning line favorite. Purchased out of the November Mixed Sale at Keeneland by Highlander Training Center, she is trained by Joe Sharp.

The 3-1 second choice is Stunning Sky. The 4-year-old daughter of Declaration of War, made her last start at Gulfstream Park, running fifth in the $75,000 Tropical Park Oaks. 

Morning Molly, who made her last start at Tampa Bay Downs for conditioner Tom Proctor is another solid contender at 4-1.

The lone Texas-bred in the field is Ian Yarnot’s homebred longshot Corluna (Unbridled’s Heart – Red Moon Cat).  She is trained by Sarah Delany.

We wish everyone the best of racing luck!