Sam Houston Race Park will open its 19th annual live racing season Friday, Jan. 20, 2012. The Texas Racing Commission granted the track 31 days of live Thoroughbred racing in a meeting held earlier today.
The meet will host approximately 10 live races each Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday through March 12. In addition to four days of live racing each week, live racing events each Saturday will culminate with a stakes featuring purses of $50,000 or more.
The 2012 meet will feature 15 stakes totaling more than $1.1 million in purses over the course of the 31-day meet. The stakes program will once again be highlighted by the $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup (gr. IIIT), scheduled for Jan. 28.
The 2012 stakes schedule will begin with a change to Texas Champions Day on opening weekend, and for the first time ever the traditional one-day event will be extended over two days starting Friday, Jan. 20, and continuing to the next day. Texas Champions Weekend will feature over $400,000 in total purses beginning Friday, a day highlighted for fillies and mares carrying over to Saturday, a day that will feature open races for Texas-breds. The Texas-themed live racing event will include seven stakes; the $100,000 Star of Texas Stakes for 4-year-old and up; the $50,000 Richard King Stakes, the $50,000 Spirit of Texas Stakes, and the $50,000 San Jacinto Stakes for fillies and mares; the $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes and the $50,000 Bara Lass Stakes for 3-year-old fillies; and the $50,000 Groovy Stakes for 3-year-olds.
“Texas Champions Weekend is a weekend for us to celebrate Texas Thoroughbred horses, trainers, breeders and owners,” said Andrea Young, president of Sam Houston. “We have taken what is historically one of our most significant days in racing and expanded it across two premier racing nights. We appreciate the Texas Thoroughbred Association for helping us make it happen and we look forward to offering some of the best live racing in the country on opening weekend at Sam Houston Race Park.”
In addition to Texas Champions Weekend, the 2012 stakes schedule also includes--Jan. 28: $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup, Feb. 4: $50,000 Jersey Lilly Stakes, Feb. 11: $50,000 Rail Splitter Stakes, Feb. 18: Texas Stallions Day, $100,000 Jim’s Orbit Stakes and $100,000 Two Altazano Stakes, Feb. 25: $50,000 Sam Houston Distaff, March 3: $150,000 Maxxam Gold Cup, and March 10: $50,000 Texas Heritage Stakes.
For the full calendar of Sam Houston Race Park’s 2012 live race dates, visit www.shrp.com.