Sam Houston Race Park will host three stakes on Saturday, February 15. The $75,000 Jim’s Orbit division and the $75,000 Two Altazano division of the Texas Stallion Stakes are races supported by the Texas Thoroughbred Association (TTA). Additionally, Texas-bred turf specialists will compete in the $50,000 Jersey Village Stakes.
Racing fans can enjoy quality racing and great value this Saturday for Dollar Day at The Park featuring $1 admission, live racing programs, hot dogs, sodas, and draft beer. There will also be a FREE Children’s Petting Zoo.
Fiftyshadesofgold Returns to Action in the Two Altazano
The $75,000 Two Altazano will feature a field of eight and will mark the return of a very promising filly Fiftyshadesofgold. The Clarence Scharbauer Jr., homebred broke her maiden by 10 lengths last May at Lone Star Park for trainer Bret Calhoun. She made her next start at Churchill Downs, romping to an eight-length score in the $113,400 Debutante on June 22. Installed as the favorite in the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga, the daughter of Valor Farm stallion My Golden Song was run into the rail and suffered an injury. She underwent surgery and fortunately for her connections, has made a complete recovery. Calhoun has overseen her training at Fair Grounds, where she has posted four bullet works since January 17.
“Her training has been fantastic,” said Calhoun. “We have been trying to find a race for her comeback, and she was eligible to run in this.”
Rosie Napravnik will make the trip from Fair Grounds to pilot the gray filly, who has been installed as the 7-5 favorite.
Calhoun has a longstanding relationship with Scharbaurer and has a great deal of respect for Fiftyshadesofgold’s sire, My Golden Song.
“Every one of his offspring has been outstanding,” states Calhoun.
Another daughter of My Golden Song, Swifterthantaylor, will be gunning for her third career victory for owner John Silverthorne Ranch Inc. She broke her maiden at Retama Park and scored impressively on the turf here two weeks ago. Larry Taylor retains the mount for trainer Danny Pish.
Calhoun will also saddle Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Scooter’s Choice, the winner of the $50,000 Bara Lass Stakes here on January 17. Bred by Will S. Farish, the daughter of Too Much Bling will reunite with jockey Lindey Wade.
”I don’t think she should be overlooked,” states Calhoun. “She’s got the advantage of having a win under her belt.”
The contentious field also includes two fillies trained by trainer Steve Asmussen, who has won the last two runnings of the Two Altazano. Paddle Out and Traced will run for breeder/owner Will S. Farish, who was victorious in 2013 with Makeshift as well as with 2012 champion Color Code. Paddle Out is a daughter of the most prolific Texas stallion Valid Expectations, and Traced is another promising Too Much Bling filly.
Danny Shifflett is the farm manager for Lane’s End Texas, where Too Much Bling has stood since 2010 and the former home of Valid Expectations before he was retired from stud duty.
“His numbers are phenomenal, said Shifflett. “Too Much Bling has sired 12 stakes winners and an additional 13 stakes-placed runners. We continue to see really nice babies heading into his fourth season.”
The Two Altazano, at a distance of seven furlongs, will run as the sixth race of the card.
Full Field Assembled for the $75,000 Jim’s Orbit
Stakes winners F J Uncle Vic and Aces N Jacks will face a full field in the seven furlong $75,000 Jim’s Orbit. F J Uncle Vic returns off a convincing score in the $50,000 Allen’s Landing Stakes on January 25 for Johnny Evans and Terry Eoff, who also trains the 3-year-old son of Key Ranch stallion Uncle Abbie. Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez stays aboard the 5-2 morning line favorite.
Aces N Jacks was a game winner here on January 18 in the $50,000 Groovy Stakes for owner and trainer Caroline Dodwell. The son of Valor Farm stallion Jet Phone was a winner by four lengths in the six furlong Groovy, rewarding his supporters with a nice mutuel of $19.40. Larry Taylor, who has ridden the talented gelding in each of his three previous starts, has the mount.
Calhoun trained 2013 Jim’s Orbit victor Worldventurer, who was later named 2013 Texas Horse of the Year, and the trainer has two entrants in this year’s stakes, Ibaka and Circustown Flyer. Ibaka broke his maiden at Remington Park for owner Doug Wall before running fifth in the Texas Stallion Stakes at Retama Park. The son of Uncle Abbie prepped for the Jim’s Orbit with an allowance score January 10 at Delta Downs.
“He completely missed the break at Retama,” said Calhoun, who will give a leg up to Rosie Napravnik. “But last month at Delta, he ran a very good race around two turns. I think he’ll be tough.”
Circustown Flyer had an auspicious debut last summer at Lone Star Park, where he won the $100,000 TTA Sales Futurity. Justin Shepherd will guide the son of Valor Farm stallion Early Flyer who ran second in the Groovy Stakes.
“He was very fast early in his career,” said Calhoun. “After Lone Star, he didn’t run well at Remington; just didn’t care for the surface. He seems to be turning the corner.”
Asmussen sends out the entry of Dial Up and Pop Music, both progeny of Too Much Bling who will run for Will S. Farish. Colby Hernandez has the riding assignment on Pop Music and current Sam Houston Race Park leading rider Deshawn Parker rides Dial Up.
In 2005, the TTA renamed each of the Texas Stallion Stakes races to honor a famous Texas Thoroughbred. The colts and gelding division at Sam Houston Race Park has been named for Jim’s Orbit, who won the Grade 2 Ohio Derby and started in the 1988 Kentucky Derby. The fillies division is a tribute to Two Altazano, winner of the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks in 1994. The accomplished mare, owned by the late Harold V. Goodman, was inducted into the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2003.
Trainer Danny Pish to Saddle Three in the $50,000 Jersey Village Stakes
The third stakes of the Saturday evening card is the $50,000 Jersey Village Stakes with a field of ten accredited Texas-breds competing at a mile and one-sixteenth over the Connally Turf Course.
Danny Pish, 2013 Sam Houston Race Park leading trainer, has three solid contenders in the Jersey Village. Special UFO, a son of Stoneview Farm stallion Special Rate owned by Southwestern Racing LLC, had his four-race win streak snapped in the $50,000 Star of Texas on January 18.
“We were never able to put our finger on why he ran so poorly in that race,” admitted Pish. “The good news is that he is training forwardly and that we have Deshawn Parker on Saturday night. He is an outstanding rider; I’ve been impressed on how he seems to get races won in so many different ways.”
Pish bred and owns Quiet Acceleration, who returns to the Connally Turf Course off his victory in the $50,000 Richard King Stakes last month. That was the eighth turf win from 26 starts for the 5-year-old son of Silent Picture, who will be ridden by 2013 Sam Houston leading rider, Gerardo Mora.
“That was a very impressive effort in the in the Richard King,” said Pish. “This horse shows up more often than not and seems to be getting better as he ages.”
Safe Range, a 6-year-old son of Valid Expectations, completes the Pish trio. He will break from the rail under Lindey Wade.
Others in the Jersey Village include last year’s runner-up Doctor Romane from the barn of Jerimiah West, and Valid Message, who ran second in the Richard King for trainer Karl Broberg.