Sam Houston creates $400,000 stakes for fillies and mares

Sam Houston Race Park has announced a revamped stakes schedule in 2013 which will include the richest Thoroughbred race in Texas and in track history. The $400,000 Houston Ladies' Classic is set for January 26 as part of a special stakes-filled card including the Grade 3, $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup. In total, the meet will feature 23 stakes races including four new stakes for Texas-breds paying more than $1.7 million in purses.

The $400,000 Houston Ladies' Classic, for fillies and mares four-years-old and up, will be contested at a distance of 1 1/16 miles over the main track.

"Fillies and mares have been the superstars of the racing industry for the last three years," said Andréa Young, Sam Houston president. "We are proud to bring Houston and Texas its richest race and we look forward to the Houston Ladies' Classic anchoring an unprecedented day in Texas Thoroughbred racing."

In addition to thee Houston Ladies' Classic and John B. Connally Turf Cup, which is for for four-year-olds and up at nine furlongs, the January 26 card also features the $75,000 Champion Energy Services for four-year-olds and upward at five furlongs on the turf and the $50,000 Allen's Landing for three-year-olds at six furlongs

In celebration of this historic day of racing, Sam Houston will offer owners an added incentive: the all new Ship Assist Program. The program was created to encourage owners shipping a horse for the Houston Ladies' Classic to also consider shipping horses for the Connally Turf Cup, Champion Energy Services and Allen's Landing. For any owner starting a filly or mare in the Houston Ladies' Classic and at least one additional horse in one of the accompanying stakes races, Sam Houston will waive the owner's original pre-entry fee or $2,000 of the $10,000 supplemental nomination fee.

"We understand the financial considerations owners have to make every day so we are pleased to provide special assistance for this exceptional day of racing in Texas," said Eric Johnston, Sam Houston's vice president of racing.

Promotions for the January 26 racing festival will be plentiful, including a fund raising event to benefit for the Houston affiliate of the Susan G. Komen For the Cure. Sam Houston will donate $1 for each guest attending on January 26.

Nominations for the Houston Ladies' Classic will close on December 28, 2012. To nominate or for additional information, please contact the Sam Houston racing office at 1-800-807-7223.

Sam Houston Race Park's 20th season is a 30-day meet beginning January 18. Sam Houston is currently awaiting approval from the Texas Racing Commission to extend the meet by four additional days for a total of 34 days of Thoroughbred racing ending on March 17.

The meet will host approximately 10 live races each Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday and each Saturday will culminate with a stakes race featuring purses of $50,000 or more. The stakes program also includes Texas Champions Weekend, with $400,000 in stakes purses for Texas-breds, and the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup on March 2.

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