Sam Houston Race Park Opens for Training in Preparation for 2021 Meet

Photo by Coady Photography

Sam Houston Race Park will conduct its 27th live racing season with Thoroughbred racing commencing on Friday, January 8. The barn area opened on November 28 with Texas horsemen Danny Payne and Danny Pish as the first conditioners to enter the stable gate. The track will be open for training Monday-Saturday from 7:00 a.m. through 11:00 am.

A steady influx of trainers will arrive this month as the racing office processed a record 2,300 stall applications. Sam Houston Race Park will welcome back a solid core of horsemen including Steve Asmussen, Karl Broberg, Danny Pish, Mindy Willis, Kari Craddock, Bret Calhoun, Mike Neatherlin, Dallas Keen and M. Brent Davidson. Breeders’ Cup winning conditioners Ron Moquett and Mike Maker will have stalls for the upcoming meet as well as Todd Fincher, Robertino Diodoro, Frank Lucarelli and Austin Gustafson.

As previously announced, the 2021 Thoroughbred Stakes schedule will offer $2.4 million in purses, up from $1.8 million in 2020. The Houston Racing Festival will take place on Sunday, January 31 headlined by the Houston Ladies Classic (G3) and the John B. Connally Turf (G3).  Inaugurated in 2013, the Houston Ladies Classic was formed to serve as the marquee racing event for Sam Houston’s Thoroughbred meet. Now in its ninth running, the mile and one-sixteenth Houston Ladies Classic anchors the Houston Racing Festival, which also includes the Grade 3, $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup, the $100,000 Pulse Power Turf Sprint, the $75,000 Jersey Lilly Turf Stakes and $75,000 Stonerside Sprint. The $200,000 Texas Turf Mile for three-year-olds was added last year and drew a highly competitive field of ten.

James Leatherman returns as racing secretary for the Thoroughbred live racing season and 23-day Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse meet which will run from FridayApril 23 through Saturday, June 12. First post on Friday and Saturday is 6:45 pm (CT) with a 4:00 pm post time for Wednesday and Thursday live racing dates.  There will be a special 1:45 pm post time for the Houston Racing Festival on Sunday, January 31.

The first condition book is available on and is available in the Sam Houston racing office. Further information on the meet, including the 2021 Thoroughbred stakes schedule, can be accessed at