SHRP To Host It's First Million Dollar Race on Friday

A huge weekend of Texas racing is set for October 29 -30. On Friday, Sam Houston Race Park will host its first million dollar race, the $1,000,000 Texas Classic Futurity. On Saturday, Lone Star Park will host the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships featuring the top Thoroughbreds in the world competing for $14 million.

The draw for the Texas Classic Futurity took place today, October 26th, at Sam Houston Race Park. American Quarter Horse sensation Azoom, owned by Enrique Carrion, was the fastest qualifier in trials on October 15. He drew the far outside post and will be ridden by regular rider, Rodrigo Vallejo. Trained by Frank Cavazos, the 2-year-old son of Shazzom has won two major events this season, the $350,000 Sam Houston Futurity (G1) on September 24 and the $283,422 TQHA Sale Futurity (RG1) on August 14. In addition, he was the fastest qualifier for the $134,748 TQHA Sires' Cup Futurity, running second to Shakem Fever in the final. Should he win the Texas Classic Futurity this Friday, he will be the first horse in Sam Houston Race Park history to win three futurities in a single meeting.
Azoom's sheer speed and 10 career wins have impressed Quarter Horse insiders and Cavazos and Carrion have had several offers from individuals and breeding farms interesting in purchasing Azoom.

"I've had calls from Texas, California and Louisiana with offers of ownership and breeding rights for the colt," said Cavazos following today's post position draw. "Mr. Carrion is coming in from Mexico tonight and we will be talking about it this week. Azoom came out of his trial fine. We'll school him in the gates one more time on Wednesday."

Bigtime Favorite owned by Sylvia Pittman and Bobby D. Cox, was the second fastest qualifier and will break from post position eight under Juan Vazquez. Trainer John Buchanan has been pleased with the way in which his lightly-raced colt is preparing for the final.

"My horse can win if they scratch Azoom behind the gate," quipped Buchanan, as Bigtime Favorite has run second to Azoom in his two previous races. "Maybe Bigtime Favorite is not quite as fast as that colt, but he's healthy and feels good. For as few races as he's run, he's got this pretty well figured out. There's a lot of good horses in the race; it's probably open to anyone once you get past Azoom."

Post time for the Friday night card is 7:00 p.m. The Texas Classic Futurity will run as the eighth race and the $78,000 Texas Classic Futurity Consolation is the sixth race of the evening.

Live Quarter Horse racing continues on Saturday, October 30 with a special 5:00 p.m. post time which will follow the running of the Breeders' Cup Classic at 4:35 p.m. Saturday's feature will be the finals of the $367,874 Texas Classic Derby. Hadtobenuts, who ran third in the All American Derby for trainer Heath Taylor, was the fastest qualifier, winning his 440-yard trial in :21.676.

Advance Wagering for the Breeders' Cup on Friday at Sam Houston Race Park

Racing fans interested in placing advance wagers on Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship races will be able to do so at Sam Houston Race Park on Friday, October 29. Gates open for simulcasting at 11:00 a.m., and patrons can place wagers on any of the Breeders' Cup stakes from from Lone Star Park throughout the day.

On Saturday, October 30, 2004 Sam Houston Race Park will open at 8:30 a.m., with the first race from Lone Star Park set for 11:40 a.m. The eight Breeders' Cup races begin at 12:20 p.m., with the Breeders' Cup Classic at 4:35 p.m.

Activities will also include a $2,000 Breeders' Cup Day Handicapping Contest that will require the handicapping of six races - the last 3 Breeders' Cup races and the first three Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse races. A free Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships Handicapping Seminar will take place at 12:00 noon with Sam Houston Race Park handicappers Michael Chamberlain, Martha Claussen and Reid McLellan.

The Winner's Circle Restaurant will welcome racing fans by offering coffee, juice and pastries at 8:30 a.m. For your afternoon and evening dining pleasure, diners can enjoy the Grand Buffet, which will open from 11:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Following the simulcast of the Breeders' Cup, Sam Houston Race Park will host 10 live American Quarter Horse races. Racing at Sam Houston Race Park begins at a special early post time of 5:00 p.m. The evening will feature the finals of the $367,874 Texas Classic Derby (G1).

Reservations are suggested for the Winner's Circle Restaurant and luxury suites are still available. The luxurious Jockey Club will also be open for dining and enjoying the simulcast races. To make dining reservations, please call (281) 807-8760 or visit the Sam Houston Race Park web site at To book a luxury suite for a gathering of groups of 10 or more, please call (281) 807-8750.

Michael Chamberlain to Call a Race on Breeders' Cup All-Star Announcer's Day

Sam Houston Race Park track announcer, Michael Chamberlain will be at Lone Star Park on Friday, October 29 to participate in Breeders' Cup All-Star Announcer's Day. Some of the best announcers across the country including Dave Johnson, Trevor Denman, Tom Durkin and Michael Wrona will call the Friday afternoon races. Chamberlain has been invited to call the third race, the $150,000 Refrigerator Handicap.

Sam Houston Race Park's racing education manager, Reid McLellan will pinch hit for Chamberlain on Thursday, October 28. Several of our area radio "stars" including Tom Bigby of KKBQ, Tubby of KTHT-Country Legends and Carl Dukes, Joe Ruble and Tarra Harward of KTRH-AM will step into the announcer's booth and call one of the Thursday evening races.

Trainer Janet Van Bebber Sets New Record for Wins at Sam Houston Race Park

Janet Van Bebber set a record on Friday, October 22 at Sam Houston Race Park, winning her 59th race of the 2004 Quarter Horse meeting. The record for total wins in a Quarter Horse season at Sam Houston Race Park was 58.

Van Bebber's late husband, Steve Van Bebber set that mark in 1997 and Janet tied it in 2001.

Sold Out Show, who won Friday's eighth race, helped Van Bebber set the new record this evening. Bred by Connie Nobles and owned by Betty Jane Burlin of Navasota, Sold Out Show ($10.00) is a 3-year-old son of Strawfly Special and was ridden to victory by John Hamilton.

Janet Van Bebber has won the training title at Sam Houston Race Park for the past three years. She and her late husband, Steve Van Bebber, have won leading trainer honors every year since the northwest Houston racetrack opened in 1994.

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