Sam Houston Race Park will launch Thoroughbred racing in Texas for 2012 with average daily purses of $160,000, highest in the track’s 18-year history.
The 31-day meet, which runs from Jan. 20-March 12, will offer 15 stakes worth more than $1.1 million. The $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup (gr. IIIT) is scheduled for Jan. 28.
Opening weekend has been dubbed “Texas Champions Weekend,” with more than $400,000 in stakes purses for Texas-bred runners Jan. 20-21.
Sam Houston has been able to increase daily purses by reducing live racing dates the past few years. Other Texas tracks have done the same.
Racing will be held Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. CST, Sundays at 5 p.m., and Mondays at 1:20 p.m. No racing will be offered Feb. 5, Super Bowl Sunday.
Sam Houston has added new wagers, including the Houston Hi-Five, which is called the Super Hi-Five at other tracks. The bet, which requires players to pick the first five finishers in a race, will be offered twice a day and have a carryover if there are no winners.
The Houston Hi-Five will have a pari-mutuel takeout rate of 12%, as will the new Pick 5.
The Thoroughbred meet will be followed by a Quarter Horse meet March 22.