|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
"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
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
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
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.