|Wassup T Doc Named Horse of the Meet
at Sam Houston Race Park
Sam Houston Race Park concluded
its 2007 Quarter Horse meeting on Saturday, September 8 and honored the
leading trainer, jockey and owner. In addition, Wassup T Doc was named
Horse of the Meeting.
Wassup T Doc had already won his first two starts of the year when he
arrived at Sam Houston Race Park for the 2007 Quarter Horse season. The
intrepid runner is trained by Jesse Yoakum and owned by Bernardine and
Gordon Haslam of Essex Junction, Vermont. The 6-year-old Texas-bred won
here on July 1 and added four more consecutive victories for the meet,
including a stakes win on July 27 in the $27,100 TQHA Starter Stakes.
He swept the Any Given Sunday Starter Series-Sprint Division and was the
only horse to win five races this summer at Sam Houston Race Park.
Yoakum has been training at Sam Houston Race Park since the track opened
in 1994 and has a 20-year association with the Haslams. Wassup T Doc is
a full brother to Doctor Streakin, a multiple- stakes winner trained by
Yoakum and owned by the Haslams. Rider Russel Hadley had abundant praise
for the son of Doctor Bright out of the Streakin Six mare, Gotum Streakin.
“He’s so consistent, but he also really mentally tough,”
acknowledges Hadley. “He’ll run as fast as he has to and when
he sees another horse beside him, he digs in and won’t let them
pass. He’s tied with just one other Quarter Horse (Gomez Palacio)
in the nation with seven wins; that’s pretty amazing.”
Wassup T Doc has been shipped to Lone Star Park for their 2007 Quarter
Horse meeting. Yoakum was not sure when the 7-year-old will make his first
Trainer Judd Kearl, who won his first Sam Houston Race Park leading
trainer title at the northwest Houston racetrack in 2006, won back-to-back
titles. He finished the meeting with 30 wins with Bobby Touchet in second
with 22 victories and Heath Taylor in third with 20 wins.
His highlights included a stakes victory by Shake Em Fever in the $35,370
John Deere Texas Distaff Challenge and repeat stakes wins by Cmb A Legacy
in the $7,500 Gulf Coast Paint and Appaloosa Derby and $10,500 Colors
of Houston Paint and Appaloosa Stakes. The 32-year-old conditioner is
just the third Quarter Horse trainer in Sam Houston Race Park history
to win top honors: the late Steve Van Bebber locked up the leading training
honors from 1994 – 2000 and his wife, Janet Van Bebber, continued
the legacy from 2001-2005.
“I had a good meet,” said Kearl. “Much of the credit
goes to Melinda (assistant trainer, Melinda Garcia) and the crew. I couldn’t
ask for any better.”
Kearl enlisted Rodrigo Vallejo as his first call rider and the association
worked out well.
“I hope it lasts for a long time,” said Kearl. “Rodrigo
has a great work ethic and character, on the track and off.
Arturo Puga won his first leading rider title at Sam Houston Race Park.
The 18-year-old jockey won the title at Retama Park and had a very strong
meet, winning 42 races to lead Russel Hadley and Rodrigo Vallejo. He and
trainer Bobby Touchet formed a solid partnership, winning stakes with
Gray Invasion, Patrionic and Check Cathy. Puga rode successfully for Guy
Hopkins and Rodolfo Sanchez.
“You are only as good as the horses you ride and I was lucky to
ride some great horses this meet,” said Puga, who will ride at Lone
Star Park next.
Puga began working horses for Touchet at Manor Downs earlier this year
and got on well with Touchet and the entire crew.
“Gray Invasion has to be my favorite,” said Puga. “He’s
a fast horse and 550-yard is such a tough distance.”
Puga acknowledges that his friend Rodrigo Vallejo, has been very helpful.
Both riders are from Jalisco, Mexico and have chosen to ride Quarter Horses
instead of Thoroughbreds.
Although he has done well in Texas, he will explore options in Louisiana
next year and dreams of riding at Ruidoso Downs in the All American Futurity.
Leading owner of the meet is A. D. Maddox of Houston. This was the second
title for Maddox, who was honored in 2005 and won eight races this year,
three more than Pete Scarmardo and the Haslams, who each had five wins.