Live Racing Resumes at Sam Houston Race Park on Friday, January 6

Live Thoroughbred racing returns to Sam Houston Race Park on Friday, January 6, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. The schedule for January, which is Fan Appreciation Month at the Houston track, features ten races on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:00 p.m. and the return of Sunday racing with the first race beginning at 5:00 p.m.

The northwest Houston racetrack will welcome back its fans by offering free admission for simulcasting and $1.00 admission for live racing throughout the month of January. In addition, beer will be sold for just $1.00 at Sam Houston Race Park for the first month of 2006.

Nominations Close January 11 for the $100,000 MAXXAM Gold Cup

Nominations will close on Wednesday, January 11 for the $100,000 MAXXAM Gold Cup on Saturday, January 21. Run on the main track at a distance of one mile and an eighth, the MAXXAM Gold Cup always attracts a solid field of older horses. In 2003, three of the starters, Valhol, Arctic Boy and Fifty Stars had competed in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby. The 7-year-old Valhol, who had dogged the controversy surrounding his win in the 1999 Arkansas Derby, was brilliant in his MAXXAM victory for trainer Dallas Keen and owner James D. Jackson.

Last year, the MAXXAM Gold Cup belonged to Alumni Hall, a son of A. P. Indy, conditioned by Neil Howard and ridden by Robby Albarado. The striking chestnut Thoroughbred is owned by wonderfully successful racing partnership between lifetime friends and noted Texans, Will Farish, W. Temple Webber and James Elkins. Lightly raced in his early career, Alumni Hall had a banner year in 2005, following his MAXXAM victory with a win in the Grade 3 Ben Ali and the Grade 3 Fayette Stakes at Keeneland. He made his last start in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs last November. Magna Graduate won the Clark and Alumni Hall, who finished eighth, faced some tough company including Perfect Drift and Suave. Following that effort, Farish and his co-owners decided Alumni Hall deserved a break and would make his next start in either the $400,000 New Orleans Handicap this Saturday at Louisiana Downs or in the MAXXAM Gold Cup.

“Neil reports that Alumni Hall has resumed workouts at Oaklawn Park and appears to be doing well,” said Webber from his Houston office. “Both Neil and Mr. Farish were undecided whether to run this weekend or return to Houston on January 21. The Clark was a very tough race, but we were not discouraged. He had run so well for us throughout the year, we just felt he was entitled to a rest.”

MAXXAM Gold Cup Champions

1994 Meena 1:49.58
1995 Vindictive Silence 1:49.38
1996 Meena 1:49.85
1997 Lost Soldier 1:48.75
1998 Scott's Scoundrel 1:48.76
1999 Western Trader 1:49.93
2000 Allen's Oop 1:49.55
2001 Vilaxy 1:51.19
2002 Mr Ross 1:49.94
2003 Valhol 1:49.18
2004 Sir Cherokee 1:51.76
2005 Alumni Hall 1:51.10

Jockey, Trainer and Owner Standings

Heading into the New Year, Larry Taylor is at the top of the jockey standings with 34 victories and $302,718 in earnings, the highest of the Sam Houston Race Park colony. Glen Murphy follows closely with 33 wins and will offer some tough competition for Taylor and the other members of the jockey colony. Filemon Rodriguez, ranked third in the standings, has had the most starts and has won 24 of his 194 attempts. After scoring a few wins during the last week of racing in December, Quincy Hamilton has invaded the top five for the first time since he finished the Remington Park season. Hamilton has made 19 winning trips across the finish line and is followed by Bobby Walker, Jr., who has 18 wins.

Steve Asmussen starts the New Year leading the trainer standings for the second consecutive week. Asmussen has saddled 23 winners and has the highest earnings with $259,231. Danny Pish did not fall far in the standings, for he follows with 19 wins. Ranked third in the standings is W. Bret Calhoun with 16 wins, and Andrew Konloly has 13. John Locke rounds out the top five trainers with a total of 12 victories.

Jim Bausch was able to gain control of the owner standings after capturing a win before the Christmas holiday. Bausch now leads with six, while Anjo Racing, Inc., Charles Hukill, Richard Bird and Israel Flores are all tied with five wins each.

Steak Night Debuts on Sundays in January at Sam Houston Race Park

Steak Night was introduced on Wednesday evenings at Sam Houston Race Park last November. Due to its popularity with racing fans, Steak Night will return in 2006 on Sundays in the Winner’s Circle Restaurant, beginning January 8. The satisfying steak dinner is set at an affordable price of $12.99, and includes a juicy 12 oz. steak, served with a salad and garlic mashed potatoes.

The Winner’s Circle Restaurant provides an amazing view, as it overlooks the track and is situated so everyone is able to feel as if they had front row seats. Each table has a private monitor and easy access to mutuel tellers for convenient wagering.

For reservations or more information, call 281-807-8760 or visit

Elvis Birthday Bash this Weekend at Sam Houston Race Park

Live Thoroughbred racing returns on Friday evening at Sam Houston Race Park and Elvis Presley’s Birthday Celebration will take place on Saturday, January 7, 2006. Don’t miss the fun as the northwest Houston racetrack celebrates Elvis’ birthday with special discount prices and contests to salute “The King”.

The evening’s activities will include a peanut butter and banana sandwich-eating contest and an Elvis look-alike competition, in which the winner will receive $1,000. Those dressing in Elvis attire will get in free, otherwise admission is just $1. Sam Houston Race Park will also offer $1 beer for every one to enjoy.

For more information, call 281-807-8700 or visit

Popular Houston Talent Search Returns to Sam Houston Race Park

Sam Houston Race Park’s search for local talent begins this weekend! The northwest Houston racetrack will conduct a seven-week competition as part of the Best Country Singer in Houston Contest. Each Friday night, beginning January 6 and culminating with the finals on Friday, February 17, the Club Level of the Grandstand will be highlighted with talent.

There will be two divisions for the competition, one for singers age 9-15 and an adult division for performers 16 years old and up. Each contestant will perform one song with the finalists to be awarded cash prizes and a professional recording session. The weekly top performers will be announced each Monday on 93Q KKBQ and will be invited to compete in the finals on Friday, February 17.

Following the final judgment, prizes will be awarded for each division. The best performer in the junior division will receive $1,000 and the second and third place contestant will receive $250 and $100, respectively. The best performer in the adult division will not only receive $1,000, but will also be awarded a trip to the Academy of Country Music Awards. The trip will include airfare and a two-night’s stay in a hotel for two. The winner will also receive four tickets to a special Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with the provided transportation of a limousine and a chance to showcase their vocal talent in the 93Q Barbeque Tent during the cook-off. The second place performer will receive $250 and the third place contest will receive $100.

For more information or to sign-up for the Best Country Singer in Houston contest, visit the Sam Houston Race Park web site,

January Suite Specials Slated at Sam Houston Race Park

Start the New Year off right at Sam Houston Race Park with special party discounts. The northwest Houston racetrack is making it easy on your wallet to host the party you desire. For the whole month of January, the private and luxurious suites are 50% off their regular price. Guests also have the choice of the special Shrimp Boil offer. The Shrimp Boil special includes suite rental, admission and live programs for only $27.00 per person. The menu for this option slates spicy boiled peel and eat shrimp, red potatoes, corn on the cob and tossed green salad.

The suites, located on the third floor of the Grandstand, offer the ultimate view of the entire racetrack and are equipped with private televisions, wet bar and automated betting machines. There are several menu options to choose from and the suites accommodate a wide range of party demands from intimate groups of ten to 200.

For more information or to reserve your private suite, call 281-807-8750.

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