HOUSTON - Sam Houston Race Park is pleased to announce a revamped stakes schedule in 2013 which will include the richest Thoroughbred race in Texas and in Sam Houston Race Park history. The $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic is set for Saturday, January 26, 2013 as part of a special stakes-filled card including the Grade III, $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup. In total, the meet will feature 23 stakes races including four new stakes for Texas breds paying more than $1.7 million in purses.
The $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic, for fillies and mares, four-years-old and up will be contested at a distance of one and one-sixteenth miles over the nationally renowned main track at Sam Houston Race Park. "Fillies and mares have been the superstars of the racing industry for the last three years," said Andréa Young, Sam Houston Race Park's president. "We are proud to bring Houston and Texas its richest race and we look forward to the Houston Ladies Classic anchoring an unprecedented day in Texas thoroughbred racing."
The Houston Ladies Classic will highlight a premier day of stakes races also featuring:
- The $200,000 Grade III John B. Connally Turf Cup: four-year-olds and upward at one and one eighth miles on the Connally Turf Course.
- The $75,000 Champion Energy Services Stakes: four-year-olds and upward at Five Furlongs on the Connally Turf Course
- The $50,000 Allen’s Landing Stakes: three-year-olds at Six Furlongs on the main track.
Previously the richest Thoroughbred stakes at Sam Houston Race Park, the John B. Connally Turf Cup was awarded Grade III status in 2006, the first Thoroughbred graded stakes since Sam Houston Race Park opened in 1994. Contested on the highly acclaimed Connally turf course, the nine-furlong stakes has attracted some of the nation's premier grass specialists trained by top conditioners including Bill Mott, Steve Asmussen, Graham Motion, Mike Maker, Elliott Walden and Hal Wiggins.
In celebration of this historic day in racing, Sam Houston Race Park will offer owners an added incentive: the all new Ship Assist Program. The program was created to encourage owners shipping a horse for the Houston Ladies Classic to also consider shipping horses for the Connally Turf Cup, Champion Energy Services and Allen’s Landing stakes races. For any owner starting a Filly or Mare in the Houston Ladies’ Classic and at least one additional horse in one of the accompanying stakes races, Sam Houston Race Park will waive the owner’s original pre-entry fee or $2,000 of the $10,000 supplemental nomination fee. “We understand the financial considerations owners have to make every day so we are pleased to provide special assistance for this exceptional day of racing in Texas," said Eric Johnston, Sam Houston Race Park's vice president of racing.
Promotions for the January 26 racing festival will be plentiful, including a fund raising event to benefit for the Houston affiliate of the Susan G. Komen For the Cure®. Since 1982, Komen has led the way in the fight against breast cancer. Sam Houston Race Park will donate $1 for each guest attending the Park on January 26, 2013. “We are thrilled about the opportunity to partner with Sam Houston Race Park for the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic, said Adriana M. Higgins, Ed.D., Komen Houston Executive Director. “We look forward to everyone coming out to enjoy the races and support Susan G. Komen for the Cure Houston in our efforts to provide community funding for breast cancer research, education screening and treatment. Last year we granted over $3 million dollars to support local programs and over $1 million for research. This year we want to do even more.”
Nominations for the Houston Ladies’ Classic will close on Friday, December 28, 2012. To nominate or for additional information, please contact the Sam Houston Race Park racing office at 1-800-807-7223.
2013 will mark Sam Houston Race Park’s 20th Annual Live Racing Season with a 30-day Thoroughbred Meet beginning on Friday, January 18, 2013. The Park is currently awaiting approval from the Texas Racing Commission to extend the meet by four additional days for a total of 34 days of live Thoroughbred racing ending on March 17, 2013. The Thoroughbred Meet will host approximately ten live races each Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday and each Saturday will culminate with a stakes race featuring purses of $50,000 or more. The stakes program will be highlighted by Texas Champions Weekend with $400,000 in stakes purses for Texas breds, the all new $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic and the $200,000 Grade III John B. Connally Turf Cup on January 26, 2013 and the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup on March 2, 2013.
Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located just 15 minutes from downtown Houston, and offers a variety of attractions including 19 luxury suites overlooking the race track, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and the Champion Energy Services Jockey Club. Sam Houston Race Park Platinum Partners include Bud Light and Champion Energy Services. For more information on upcoming shows, events and tickets, please visit http://www.shrp.com/.