The AQHA office is closed Thursday, December 25, Friday, December 26, and Thursday, January 1.

Sam Houston Opens March 22

Sam Houston Race Park opens Thursday, March 22.

March 22, 2012

Live American Quarter Horse racing returns to Sam Houston Race Park on Thursday, March 22. Opening night will feature eight trials for the Sam Houston Maiden Classic. The fastest ten qualifiers will advance to the final on Saturday, April 7.

Sam Houston Race Park's 2012 American Quarter Horse meet will feature racing every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m. There will be one Sunday card on May 13; racing for the week of May 11-13 shifts to Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The 27-day racing season will run through Saturday, May 19. For the full calendar of Sam Houston Race Park’s 2012 live race dates, visit www.shrp.com.

Texas breeder and trainer Jorge Haddad won the 2011 Maiden Classic with the talented filly, Jakes Charming Jody. He will saddle five horses in Thursday's trials, which will be run at the distance of 350 yards. Haddad owns and trains Ivory Cartel, Im A Feature Girl, Barraco as well as Runaway B and also conditions Jazz This for owner Alejandro Garza.

"They are all training well," said Haddad. "Ivory Girl ran her first race last March at Sam Houston, and was laid off for the rest of the year. She has been working solidly for her return (including a bullet work at 220 yards on February 22)."

Haddad, who resides in Seguin, Texas, was honored as 2011 Quarter Horse Owner of the Meet at Sam Houston Race Park. He finished second to Judd Kearl in the trainer standings. 

Due to an outstanding number of nominations for the Sam Houston Futurity (G2), there could be as many as 18 trials run on Saturday, March 31. As a result, Sam Houston Race Park has moved its 7 p.m. post time to 2:30 p.m. The ten fastest 2-year-olds will advance to the final which will be run on Saturday, April 14.

Last year's Sam Houston Futurity purse was a record $600,000 with Jess Tee Off scoring the victory for Judd Kearl and owner LB Ranch LLC. Kearl reports that the son of Tres Seis, who won $240,000 as the winner of the lucrative futurity, has resumed training and will run in trials for the Adequan Sam Houston Derby Challenge on May 3.

Sam Houston Race Park invites racing fans to meet Quarter Horse expert Martha Claussen every Saturday night for an "Up Close and Personal" introduction to American Quarter Horse racing. Claussen is a member of the Q-Racing Aces, a touring fan education program initiated by AQHA in 2010.

There is no charge for the program, which will take place each Saturday starting March 24 through May 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the Sam Houston Race Park Saddling Paddock. Claussen will provide an introduction to American Quarter Horse racing with a preview of the horses in the first race. She will have special guests each week including a jockey, trainer or owner and answer questions from fans on the differences between Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing. The first 20 fans each week will receive a complimentary $2 wagering voucher as well as informative handicapping materials, courtesy of AQHA.

There are 19 stakes on the 2012 American Quarter Horse Stakes schedule and Sam Houston Race Park will once again participate in the Bank of America Racing Challenge, the richest and most successful program in American Quarter Horse racing today. Stakes highlights include:

April 7 Sam Houston Maiden Classic
April 14 Sam Houston Futurity (G2), Sam Houston Derby (G3), Bank of America Sam Houston Championship Challenge  (G1)
April 28 Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge
May 5 Sam Houston Classic (G2) 
May 13 Merial Texas Distaff Challenge 
May 19 John Deere Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge (G3), Adequan Sam Houston Derby Challenge

Sam Houston Race Park will offer a variety of promotions for the 2012 Quarter Horse meet. This Saturday, March 24, is Dollar Day with admission, live racing programs, hot dogs, ice cream, sodas and draft beer offered for just $1. Dollar Day will also include a free children’s petting zoo. Additional events include the popular Crawfish Boil on April 28; live racing coupled with the simulcast of the 138th Kentucky Derby with Mint Juleps and the annual Kentucky Derby Hat Contest on May 5, a special Sunday live racing program in honor of Mother’s Day on May 13 and live racing coupled with the simulcast of the 137th Preakness Stakes on May 19.

The 2012 Concert Series at Sam Houston Race Park will take place on the Bud Light Stage and will feature a total of seventeen artists performing on Friday and Saturday nights following live quarter horse racing. Ticket prices begin at $10 and can be purchased at shrp.com.

The performers are:
Saturday, March 31 Puddle of Mudd with Nothing More
Saturday, April 7 Casey Donahew with Buck Yeager Band
Friday, April 20 Cory Morrow with Amanda Nagurney
Saturday, April 28 The Outlaws with Whiskey Myers
Friday, May 4 Randy Houser with Rosehill
Saturday, May 12 Bob Schneider with Honeybrowne
Friday, May 18 Roger Creager with The Jeff Bootz Band
Saturday, May 19 38 Special with Blackberry Smoke
& Folk Family Revival