Houston, a high-priced sale yearling who developed into a multiple graded stakes winner, died April 12 from the infirmities of old age at Ren-Mar Thoroughbreds near Temecula, Calif. The pensioned son of Seattle Slew out of champion Smart Angle (by Quadrangle) was 26.
Bred in Maryland by Ross Valley Farm, Houston was the second-highest-priced yearling of 1987. Consigned by Eaton-Williams, agent for Ross Valley, Houston was purchased by trainer D. Wayne Lukas for $2.9 million at the Keeneland July yearling sale.
Houston debuted as a 2-year-old with a 12 1/2-length victory at Belmont Park in July. He raced once more that year, winning at Hollywood Park over another promising colt named Sunday Silence.
Placed on the Triple Crown trail, Houston won the Bay Shore Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park by 10 1/2 lengths in his 3-year-old debut. He next finished fifth in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I), won by Sunday Silence, and then captured the Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
Houston and Sunday Silence faced each in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I). Racing in the Derby for Lukas, Barry Beal, and L.R. French, Houston maintained a slight lead before weakening near the top of the stretch and finishing eighth behind Sunday Silence. In the Preakness, Houston again led for part of race before fading to finish sixth one more time behind Sunday Silence. Later that year Houston won the King's Bishop Stakes (gr. III) at Saratoga Race Course and was second in the Tom Fool Stakes (gr. II).
The colt raced twice as a 4-year-old before being retired with a record of 5-1-0 from 11 starts and earnings of $240,632. Houston entered stud at Walmac International near Lexington and would later stand at Getaway Thoroughbred Farm near Romoland, Calif.
Houston is represented by 13 stakes winners and the earners of more than $14.2 million. He is represented by 570 foals of racing age, of which 436 have started and 280 have won. Houston's 15 stakes winners as a maternal grandsire include grade I winner Runway Model.