It was a huge day of racing at Sam Houston this past weekend. Seven stakes races got off the ground on Saturday, each of them worth $100K in purse money. If you missed out, don't worry because we're recapping the action for you:
The $100K Spirit of Texas Stakes was won by GUNNERSCELESTICMAN, ridden by Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez, trained by Teofilo Garcia Jr., owned by Layem Down Racing II — in a clear cut victory.
GUNNERSCELESTICMAN broke on top and rushed to the lead with GOOD JUDGEMENT going with him; the two of them traded head bobs for the lead through opening fractions of 22.51 and 45.69. They raced along the backside unchanged until three furlongs to go. Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez asks GUNNERSCELSTICMAN for more run and they take the lead at the top of the stretch. GOOD JUDGEMENT tries to battle back but GUNNERSCELSTICMAN is much to good; he ultimately draws away for the win. GOLD PLOT rallies from out of it to grab second. DR. BOEHRER got up for third. The final time was 1:11.01 for the six furlongs on dirt.
GUNNERSCELESTICMAN paid $14.60 to win, $5.00 to place, and $3.80 to show. He is by CELESTIC NIGHT out of LADY HI TECK by HI TECK MAN. He won his third victory in eleven starts, pushing his earnings to $114,635, while achieving his highest speed figure of his career. He's never been off the board in all four races at Sam Houston.
The $100K Star of Texas Stakes was won by DIRECT DIAL, ridden by Steward Elliot, trained by Steve Asmussen, owned by W.S. Farish — with a determined run.
DIRECT DIAL broke alertly from two-hole but conceded the lead to TRUMPS REVENGE, who went on to set a pace of 24.40 and 49.11. They raced pedestrian splits as they bunched up traveling along the backside. With three furlongs to go, Elliot Stewart sends DIRECT DIAL along the rail and they take the brief lead over the pacesetter. But a new challenger in KENAI BOB looms the danger and they hook up for a stretch duel. Ultimately it is DIRECT DIAL who is going the strongest, and he maintains a one-length advantage over KENAI BOB through the stretch and crossing the wire. It was a break of another three lengths back to TRUMPS REVENGE in third. The final time for the one mile on dirt was 1:38.35.
DIRECT DIAL paid $3.20 to win, $2.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. He is by TOO MUCH BLING out of FAST FIND by MINESHAFT. He's put together two wins in a row; more impressively he's finished in the money in all of his last nine starts.
The $100K Groovy Stakes was won by SILENCE D'ORO, ridden by Jose Alvarez, trained by Dallas Keen, owned by Epona Thoroughbreds LLC — in a gate to wire score.
SILENCE D'ORO broke like a rocket and immediately cleared the field to set a pace of 22.23 and 45.33. It was hot pace and the field raced strung out through the backside. When they turned for home, Jose Alvarez gets to work on SILENCE D'ORO but they're met by a new challenger in BOBBY BRINKLY, who ranged up despite moving 3wide. But SILENCE D'ORO has more in the tank and he protects his lead down the stretch, and goes on to win by a length and a half. BOBBY BRINKLY was second best, ISLAND SUN rallied for third. The final time for the six furlong sprint was 1:10.99.
SILENCE D'ORO paid $6.40 to win, $3.60 to place, and $3.20 to show. He is by SILENTIO out of FLAIR FOR FASHION, by OLD FASHIONED. He's now won two in a row from only three starts, pushing his earnings to $83,782, while earning his highest speed figure to shoe.
The $100K Richard King Stakes was won by SUNLIT SONG, ridden by Lindey Wade, trained by Mindy Willis, owned by Carlyn Barnett and Becky Harding — in a brave performance! Was much the best.
An uneventful beginning for the gray SUNLIT SONG had him stumbling to his knees as he left the gate. He was then hustled to race in mid-pack while the field ran through slow fractions of 24.64 and 49.73. SUNLIT SONG is switched to the clear as they race along the backside. With three furlongs to go, Lindey Wade pushes the button on SUNLIT SONG and they swing 4wide into the stretch with VALENTINE STREET on the front end to catch. SUNLIT SONGS charges to the lead and successfully holds off the late rallies of SINGAPORE who finished second, and MOOJAB JR who finished third. The final time for the one mile and one-eighth over the turf was 1:51.51.
SUNLIT SONG paid $4.20 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.20 to show. He is by MY GOLDEN SONG out of FLY SO TRUE by EARLY FLYER. He's won his 9th race in 26 starts, pushing his earnings to $330,217. He has now finished in the money in all of his last 13 starts.
The $100K Bara Lass Stakes was won by HAPPY SAILOR, ridden by Iram Diego, trained by Karen Jacks, owned by Diamond W Racing Stable — in a dominant score.
HAPPY SAILOR broke on top but permitted speedster TEXAS RED BEL to set the pace of 22.40 for the opening quarter, 45.81 for the half mile. HAPPY SAILOR was rating comfortably along the backside. Iram Diego asks HAPPY SAILOR for run approaching the turn, and they range up to the lead, in hand, while TEXAS RED BEL is under hard urging to keep up. Down the stretch, HAPPY SAILOR is fully extended and bounds away, opening up by six and a half lengths for the victory. MOSTLY DISTORTED came on late to take second, TEXAS RED BEL faded to third. The final time for the six furlong run was 1:11.90.
HAPPY SAILOR paid $7.20 to win, $3.60 to place, and $3.00 to show. He is by MIDSHIPMAN out of FOREST PATH by EL CORREDOR. He won his third consecutive race and pushed his earnings to $106,360. He is undefeated in each of his three starts at Sam Houston.
The $100K San Jacinto Turf Stakes was won by DISCREET SMILE, ridden by Sophie Doyle, trained by Larry Stroope, owned by Sylvia Baird — by a head over a fast-charging NO MAS TEQUILA!
DISCREET SMILE broke to her right while leaving the gate, but recovered and hustle to the lead, setting fractions of 25.30 and 50.92. They crawled through the opening quarters; the field raced bunched up with no more than four lengths from front to back. Approaching the turn, DISCREET SMILE is still running strongly for Sophie Doyle and they take commit to going on with it. But NO MAS TEQUILA initiates her rally as well, ranging up and engaging DISCREET SMILE with half a furlong to go. They duke it out in the stretch! But DISCREET SMILE is able to keep her head in front until the wire. NO MAS TEQUILA finishes a game second, AVERYS MISS got up for third. The final time for the one mile and one-sixteenth was 1:45.66.
DISCREET SMILE paid $7.80 to win, $3.80 to place, and $3.20 to show. She is by DISCREET CAT out of SMILES GOLDEN SONG, by MY GOLDEN SONG. This marks win number five from fourteen starts, and she pushes her earnings to $151,176.
The $100K Yellow Rose Stakes was won by IMA DISCREET LADY, ridden by Ry Eikleberry, trained by Karl Broberg, owned by Raymond Todd White and Duane Coker — in a flying finish!
IMA DISCREET LADY broke well and was positioned to be in second, while BOERNE set opening fractions of 22.84 and 46.08. It was a quick pace and the field raced strung out. Entering the turn, IMA DISCREET LADY begins to breathe down BOERNE's for the lead and gets it at the top of the stretch. But the new danger is SHES OUR FASTEST who was gobbling up ground to catch up to the leaders. With half a furlong left to go, IMA DISCREET LADY is giving all she can to get to the wire first while SHES OUR FASTEST is bearing down her. But IMA DISCREET LADY is saved by the wire, able to hang on by a neck. SHES OUR FASTEST ran terrific to be second, BOEME gave way to be third. The final time for the six furlongs was 1:10.94.
IMA DISCREET LADY paid $4.80 to win, $3.00 to place, and $2.10 to show. She is by DISCREET CAT out of IMA THREE BLINGER by TOO MUCH BLING. She's won two stakes races in a row, pushing her overall earnings to $358,715. Moreover, she seems to love Sam Houston — she's won 3 of 4 races at this track.