Sam Houston Race Park has revamped its stakes schedule for 2013, which will include the richest Thoroughbred race in Texas and in Sam Houston Race Park history. The 30-day Thoroughbred meet, set to start Jan. 18, will feature 23 stakes including four new events for Texas-breds paying more than $1.7 million in purses.
The $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic, for fillies and mares 4-years-old and up, will be contested at a distance of 1 1/16 miles over the main track. It is set for Jan. 26 as part of a special card also featuring the $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup (gr. IIIT) for 4-year-olds and upward at 1 1/8 miles on the Connally Turf Course, the $75,000 Champion Energy Services Stakes for 4-year-olds and up at five furlongs on the Connally Turf Course, and the $50,000 Allen's Landing Stakes for 3-year-olds at six furlongs on the main track.
"Fillies and mares have been the superstars of the racing industry for the last three years," said Andréa Young, Sam Houston Race Park's 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 celebration of this historic day in racing, Sam Houston Race Park 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 stakes. 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 Race Park 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 Race Park's vice president of racing.
Promotions for the Jan. 26 racing festival will be plentiful, including a fundraising event to benefit for the Houston affiliate of the Susan G. Komen For the Cure. Sam Houston Race Park will donate $1 for each guest attending the track on Jan. 26.
Nominations for the Houston Ladies' Classic close Dec. 28, 2012.
The Park is currently awaiting approval from the Texas Racing Commission to extend the meet by four additional days for a total of 34 days of live Thoroughbred racing ending March 17. The Thoroughbred meet will host approximately 10 live races each Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Every Saturday will culminate with a stakes race featuring purses of $50,000 or more.