Turbulenz Named 2009 American Quarter Horse "Horse of the Meet" at Sam Houston Race Park

Turbulenz was voted Horse of the Meet for the 2009 American Quarter Horse Meeting at Sam Houston Race Park. The two-year-old gelding made his debut on April 12, 2009, at Manor Downs, where he was knocked sideways on his way to a sixth place finish, beaten 2 ½ lengths. He moved on to Sam Houston for the track’s Quarter Horse meet and followed up his troubled debut by three consecutive wins, including the $408,729 TQHA Sale Futurity (RG1) on July 25.

After his three consecutive Sam Houston triumphs, Turbulenz, owned and bred in Texas by Bobby D. Cox and trained by John S. Buchanan, moved on to Ruidoso Downs to compete in the All-American Futurity (G1) trials. Unfortunately, he was bothered by A Dream Catch in his trial, being forced in and steadied on his way to a fourth-place finish as the $0.70-to-1 favorite. Though A Dream Catch was disqualified from second and placed ninth and Turbulenz was moved up to third place, the son of Special Leader and the Special Task mare Clearly Im Special did not qualify for the All-American finals. Turbulenz’s record now stands at three wins in five starts and earnings of $186,995.

“I’m really happy to have this horse,” commented Cox. “The funny thing about it is when he was a baby, we made the decision to sell him and the mare. The people who bought him raised him to a yearling and sold him in the TQHA Sale here at Sam Houston. I saw him race at the very beginning of this year’s meet and was blown away, so I started negotiations with the owners to buy him back.”

After regaining ownership of Turbulenz, Cox put him in the TQHA Sale Futurity where he dominated.

“That was a huge win for Turbulenz,” claims Cox. “We took him out to Ruidoso after that, but he doesn’t like it out there as much, so we’re bringing him back to Texas to compete in the Dash for Cash (Futurity) and Texas Classic (Futurity) at Lone Star Park.”

Touchet Tops Trainers

Claiming his first title as Sam Houston Race Park’s Trainer of the Meet was Bobby Touchet, with 36 wins in 151 starts and purse money totaling in $228,748. Touchet’s charges finished in the money an impressive 60.9% of the time, notching 34 seconds and 22 third place finishes.

Touchet has notched six career training titles overall, from Manor Downs just outside of Austin to Retama Park in Selma, Texas.

Touchet noted one of his top accomplishments for the Sam Houston meet included Calientes Wrangler claiming a new 300-yard track record on May 17, winning the race in a time of :15.30 and smashing the previous record set by First Down Fame on August 11, 2000.

“I was really proud of Calientes Wrangler in setting a new record,” commented Touchet. “Another one of my horses I was really impressed with this season was Gray Invasion, who holds the 550-yard track record at The Park, at Lone Star, and at Retama.”

Gray Invasion, a 10-year-old gelded son of Chicks Beduino out of the Timeto Thinkrich mare Gislin, has won well over 10 stakes races in his career.

Touchet also added that he is “proud of this win most importantly because of the great competition and top-notch trainers that come to Sam Houston.”

Judd S. Kearl finished second in the trainer’s standings with 26 wins from 174 starters. Carlos Terrazas and C. Dwayne “Sleepy” Gilbreath tied for third place with 23 winners apiece. Gilbreath achieved that number with 74 starters, and Terrazas did it with 137 starters.

Owner Standings End in Tie

Owner of the Meet for the 2009 American Quarter Horse Meet ended in a tie between owners A.D. Maddox and Jorge Haddad.

Haddad celebrated his first owner title at The Park in only his second year of racing. Haddad, who owns and operates Haddad Ranch, said he was “excited most about this win because this is the first year to have my own crop racing,” which he breeds, owns and trains himself. Before coming to race in Houston, Haddad ran horses at Los Alamitos in California and various tracks in Mexico City. Haddad finished the 2009 American Quarter Horse Meet with 11 wins out of 51 starts and a total purse of $61,137.

Maddox, a seasoned veteran at Sam Houston Race Park, finished the 2009 meet with 11 wins and a total purse of $63,884.

“I enjoyed this meet,” commented Maddox. “I felt operationally it ran very smooth, which is easier on the horses and those that work with them.” He also added that, “The dates picked up from the Retama meet made it much easier for the horses and horsemen that live here in Houston.”

Alvarez Leads Jockeys

Finishing with an unbelievable 81 wins, jockey David A. Alvarez was awarded top honors as Sam Houston Race Park’s leading rider. Alvarez was also one of the top jockeys for the 2009 American Quarter Horse Meet at Manor Downs.

Alvarez finished the meet an impressive 34 wins ahead of the competition and tallied $426,228 in purse money. His mounts were in the money 49.7% of the time.

Luis Ramirez finished the meet strong to take second in the jockey’s standings with 47 wins from 300 mounts. Gaspar Garcia finished third with 45 winners from 277 mounts.

Mixed Results

Attendance was up on live racing days as compared to last year’s Quarter Horse meet. Likewise, off-track and simulcast handle showed increases over last year. However, live wagering decreased.

When asked by the Houston Chronicle, Sam Houston Race Park President Andrea Young asserted, “We feel the drop in live handle (dollars bet) was more an impact of Hurricane Ike's aftermath and our extended closure than anything else.”

Young noted that the track’s summer concert series was “the best of any to date.” She also reported that a customer satisfaction survey of 3,000 indicated an average score of 4.7 on a scale of 5. Moveover, Young said Dollar Days and wiener dog races brought out many new customers.

Winter Thoroughbred Meet Opens November 27

Sam Houston Race Park’s 2009/2010 Thoroughbred meeting will open on Friday, November 27, 2009, and will continue through Saturday, April 3, 2010.

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