Sam Houston Race Park will kick off its 21st racing season on Friday, January 17. The Texas Racing Commission recently granted approval for the 2014 schedule, which begins with Thoroughbreds returning for a 32-day meeting.
The 2014 stakes schedule includes 22 Thoroughbred events, offering total purses of nearly $1.7 million. The 2014 Thoroughbred season will begin with Texas Champions Weekend, which will continue in its two-day format for the third consecutive year. Texas-breds will take center stage on opening night with three stakes for fillies and mares: the $50,000 San Jacinto Stakes, $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes and $50,000 Bara Lass Stakes. On Saturday, January 18, their male counterparts star in four events: the $50,000 Star of Texas Stakes, $50,000 Richard King Stakes, $50,000 Spirit of Texas Stakes and $50,000 Groovy Stakes.
Sam Houston Race Park president, Andréa Young confirmed that the Houston Racing Festival will return on Saturday, January 25, 2014. The evening will feature four stakes, including the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic, $200,000 Connally Turf Cup (G3), $75,000 Champion Energy Stakes and $50,000 Allen’s Landing Stakes. Proceeds from the richest day in Texas Thoroughbred racing will once again benefit the Houston chapter of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Other significant dates include Texas Stallions Weekend on Saturday, February 15, with the $75,000 Two Altazano division and $75,000 Jim’s Orbit division of the Texas Stallion Stakes, plus the $50,000 Jersey Village Stakes. The Maxxam Gold Cup Racing Festival will take place on Saturday, March 1, and feature the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup, $50,000 Jersey Lilly Stakes and $50,000 Texas Heritage Stakes.
The final weekend of the live Thoroughbred racing season will be highlighted by the HH Sheikh Zayed Arabian Racing Festival on Saturday, March 8, and will feature the return of the extremely popular Camel and Ostrich Races.
“Our goal in 2013 was to improve the quality of our live racing product and the Houston Ladies Classic and Connally really set the tone for a great season,” said Young. “We look forward to raising the bar even higher in 2014.”
Officials have announced that Tuesday afternoon will replace Sunday in the 2014 Thoroughbred meet. Post times for live Thoroughbred racing will be Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m., Monday at 1 p.m. and Tuesday at 1 p.m.
“We have been really pleased with the growth of Mondays since we added them in 2011,” said Young. “We are hoping to replicate some of that success with the additions of Tuesdays this coming season.”
For more information and a complete stakes schedule, go to www.shrp.com.