Attendance Up Significantly for Sam Houston Race Park Opening Weekend

The opening weekend of the 2007 Sam Houston Race Park was a resounding success with attendance and handle numbers the best in seven years. The first night of the meeting with Jason Aldean performing in the Verizon Wireless Concert Series drew 8,280 fans, compared to opening night in 2006 with 6,073 in attendance. On Saturday, June 30, the crowd was even larger with 8,446 patrons attending the races and the Merle Haggard concert. There was no concert last year on Saturday night and the attendance was 4,320. The Sunday afternoon card attracted 2,145 versus 2,000 in 2006. This represents an increase of 52.5% from last year and average live handle per race was up 6.5% from 2006.

“We were very pleased with our opening weekend,” said Andrea Young, Sam Houston Race Park executive vice president and chief operating officer. “The crowd was great for Jason Aldean, but the Merle Haggard audience did everything. They dined in our winner’s circle restaurant, attended the concert and bet on the races. We got a lot of positive feedback on the new concert venue (the Infield at Sam Houston Race Park). Like any new space, we had some kinks to work out, but the great news is that any problems are correctable and the experience for our patrons will just get better.”

The 2007 American Quarter Horse meeting at Sam Houston Race Park will continue through September 8.

Sam Houston Race Park Presents the TXU Energy July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza

Sam Houston Race Park is pleased to host the TXU Energy July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza, presented by Verizon Wireless and KHPT The Point on Wednesday, July 4. The all-American Independence Day celebration begins with a special day of American Quarter Horse racing, music, children’s activities and an unforgettable fireworks display.

Post time for live Quarter Horse racing on Wednesday is 5:00 p.m. and Dean Seltzer will perform on the South Apron stage and Flint Thompson will entertain in the Infield. The 25-minute Fireworks Extravaganza which promises to be the most exciting and patriotic fireworks display in the track’s history, will follow live racing at approximately 9:30 p.m. The Infield offers a fabulous view of the colorful show over the lake and families are welcome to lounge on the grassy area, which also features the children’s activities, concession stands and mutuel clerks for wagering on the live Quarter Horse races.

“We look forward to a great day of racing and entertainment on Wednesday, July 4,” said Andrea Young, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “The addition of TXU Energy as title sponsor of this exceptional event is wonderful for us and our fans. The combination of live American Quarter Horse racing, family activities and a spectacular fireworks display has become one of our most successful days of the year.”

Admission to the park is only $4 for adults, $2 for Senior Citizens and children 12 and under are free. For more information or to make reservations, call 281-807-8760. For parties of ten or more, contact group sales at 281-807-8750.

Extended Racing Weekend Set for July 4-8, 2007

As July 4 falls on Wednesday this year, Sam Houston Race Park will present five days of American Quarter Horse racing next week. Post times are:

Wednesday, July 4 5:00 p.m.

Thursday, July 5 6:00 p.m.

Friday, July 6 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 7 6:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 8 1:30 p.m.

The featured race on Saturday, July 7 is the $20,000-added Harris County Stakes for fillies and mares at a distance of 350 yards.

Simulcast Action at Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park will simulcast action from racetracks across the country throughout the holiday week. On July 4, Belmont Park will observe Independence Day with a fascinating pair of Grade 2 contests on Wednesday, July 4 Commentator leads the field in the $200,000 Tom Fool Breeders' Cup Handicap, while Nobiz Like Showbiz returns to action in the $150,000 Dwyer Stakes.

On Saturday, July 7, Hollywood Park will present the $750,000 American Invitational Oaks (G1) and Calder Race Coursc hosts a stakes-filled day highlighted by the running of the $500,000 Princess Rooney Handicap. Monmouth Park’s Saturday feature in the $750,000 United Nations Stakes, one of the premier turf races of the summer.

Admission to Sam Houston Race Park is only $4 for adults, $2 for Senior Citizens and children 12 and under are admitted free. For a complete listing of the simulcast schedule, please call 281-807-8740 or visit

Bank of America Texas Challenge Trial Results

Trials were held for the Bank of America Texas Challenge (G1) on Saturday, June 30. Defending champion of last year’s MBNA Texas Challenge Championship, This Snow is Cold, was the fastest qualifier, winning her trial in :21.793. The multiple-stakes winner is trained by Frank Mendez for owners Los Ladrilleros Horse Racing Company. Rider Russel Hadley piloted the 6-year-old mare to her second win of the year, following a five-month break from racing.

“She pulled up real good,” said Mendez. “We cooled her out and grazed her before shipping her back to the farm on Saturday night. She is an amazing mare; just loves to run.”

The finals of the $118,400 Bank of America Texas Challenge (G1) will take place on Saturday, July 14. In addition to the Bank of America Texas Challenge, regional finals will also include the $29,150 Red Cell Texas Distance Challenge (G3), the $75,200 Bayer Legend Texas Derby Challenge (G3), the $25,800 Professional’s Choice Texas Claiming Challenge, the $39,300 John Deere Texas Distaff Challenge (G3) and the finals of the $135,280 TQHA Sires’ Cup Futurity (RG2).

Arturo Puga Colorful and Successful

Riding is not all work for jockey Arturo Puga. The 18-year-old is fresh off his first riding title at Retama Park and wants to show racing fans his fun side. He arrived at Sam Houston Race Park with blue hair and dyed it red for Sunday’s program.

“I just want to have some fun,” commented the young rider, who is already a hit with racing fans as well as children, who surround him as he leaves the winner’s circle.

Puga, who was born in Jalisco, Mexico, is the current leader in the jockey standings with 6 wins from 26 starts over the first three days of the American Quarter Horse meeting at Sam Houston Race Park.

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