2002/2003 SHRP Thoroughbred Meeting Kicks Off on November 1

The excitement is building as the 2002/2003 Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred meeting will get underway on Friday, November 1. Jiffy Lube Opening Weekend will feature live racing on Friday and Saturday evening with free Jiffy Lube t-shirts for racing fans on Saturday night.

The racing schedule for the 80-day meeting will begin with live racing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in November, with the exception of Thanksgiving Day. Beginning on December 4, Sam Houston Race Park will host four nights of racing, adding a Wednesday evening card. Post time for each live race date is 7:00 p.m. with the exception of the NTRA Great State Challenge on Saturday, December 7. Racing will begin at 1:00 p.m. for this national day of racing in which top state-breds from across the country will compete for $1.65 million in purses.

"We are ready to kick off one of the most exciting meetings in the history of Sam Houston Race Park," said Robert L. Bork, president and general manager of the northwest Houston racetrack. "Beginning with Jiffy Lube Opening Weekend we will have an excellent live racing program for our fans. We look forward to hosting Texas Champions Day on Saturday, November 16, which is always an exceptional day of racing. Of course, the entire Sam Houston Race Park team is thrilled that we were selected to host the inaugural NTRA Great State Challenge and bringing world-class racing to Houston on Saturday, December 7."

Sam Houston Race Park will offer a full selection of wagering opportunities including two daily doubles, quinellas, exactas, trifectas and superfectas on each race with betting interests of seven or more horses. Rolling Pick 3 Wagers will be offered beginning with race 2, at a reduced takeout of 12% and Sam Houston Race Park will introduce a Pick 4 beginning on November 16."

"Our fans like the variety of wagering opportunities at Sam Houston Race Park," adds Bork. "The Pick 3 continues to be very popular and our patrons have asked us to add a Pick 4 wager, and we were happy to comply."

Jiffy Lube Opening Weekend will conclude on Saturday, November 2 with the running of the first stakes race of the meeting, the $30,000 Jiffy Lube Stakes. Twenty-seven fillies and mares were nominated for the mile-and-one-sixteenth contest that will be run on the Connally Turf Course. The draw for the Jiffy Lube Stakes will take place on Wednesday, October 30.

Strong Jockey Colony to Compete in the 2002/2003 Thoroughbred Meeting

Some familiar names and new faces will comprise a strong jockey colony for the 2002/2003 Thoroughbred meeting at Sam Houston Race Park. Jockey John Jacinto, who was the leading rider here last season, will return. The 26-year-old native of Peru won 67 races during the 2001/2002 Thoroughbred meeting to capture the first riding title of his career. He added 19 wins at Lone Star Park and 57 victories at Retama Park, where he finished second in the standings.

Don Simington, who was honored as leading rider at Sam Houston Race Park in the 1997/1998 Thoroughbred meeting, will also ride on opening night. Simington won 63 races last season at Sam Houston Race Park and ships his tack to Houston following a successful season at Louisiana Downs, where he was ninth in the standings.

Roman Chapa, returns following a stellar showing at Retama Park, capturing the riding title with 72 wins. He will be joined by veterans Casey Lambert, Terry Stanton, Buck Harris, Bobby Walker, Jr., Allen Dupuy, Ted Gondron and Sidney LeJeune, Jr.
Female riders will be well represented for the upcoming meeting with Deirdre Panas, Rita Helton and Cathleen Garner, among three of the most successful. Panas, who made her Texas racing debut in November, 2000 at Sam Houston Race Park, finished sixth in the standings last season. Helton and Garner, finished fifth and ninth respectively, in the recently concluded Retama Park meeting.

A few new faces in the colony include Roger Gomez, a native of Panama, who has recently returned to competitive riding. The 51-year-old rider won 13 races in the last six weeks at Retama Park. Several apprentice riders have mounts for opening weekend including Josh Vaid, Edwin Alicea, Adrian Ramos, George Cruz and Anne Von Rosen.

In addition, Glen Murphy, who finished second last season at Sam Houston Race Park, will return following the conclusion of the fall Louisiana Downs meeting. Murphy won top riding honors in the 1999/2000 Thoroughbred meeting and is having an outstanding run at Louisiana Downs, where he is currently the third leading rider.

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