Challenge


$130,713 John Deere Juvenile, $91,163 Adequan Derby Kick Off Closing Week Of 2022 Sam Houston Meet
Sam Houston Rack Park will kick off their closing week card with the $130,713 John Deere Juvenile Challenge (G2) and $91,163 Adequan Derby on Thursday night.

Coady Photography
$130,713 John Deere Juvenile, $91,163 Adequan Derby Kick Off Closing Week Of 2022 Sam Houston Meet

HOUSTON, TX–JUNE 14, 2022–The 2022 Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse live racing season will wrap up on Saturday, June 18 with a total of eight stakes races to be contested this week. The Thursday, June 16 card, which gets underway at 4:00 pm (Central) will be highlighted by the final of the $130,713 John Deere Juvenile Challenge (G2) and $91,163 Adequan Derby.

Field Set for the $130,713 John Deere Juvenile Challenge (G2)

The ten fastest qualifiers from six trials contested at the distance of 350 yards on Thursday May 26 will compete in the $130,713 John Deere Juvenile Challenge (G2).

The fifth trial produced the fastest clocking of the card when  Leavinematthebar surged to the wire in:17.822 seconds, a 91 speed index. Bred and owned by James R. Hrabovsky and J. Leann Nalls, the son of Power Jam(TB) made his debut at Sam Houston Race Park on May 6, running third under jockey Claudio Aguilar. He has the return call aboard the Texas-bred for trainer Brian Stroud and will break from post position eight at odds of 7-2.

Fastest qualifier Leavinematthebar will head the $130,713 John Deere Juvenile Challenge (G2). © Coady Photography

"He had a couple of races under his belt and ran a real good trial," said Stroud. "It’s nice for the owners, who have been breeding in Texas for many years. To win with a homebred is very rewarding and I feel that the horse will run well in his final."

Jes an Angel has been tabbed as the 5-2 morning line favorite and will attempt to win her fourth consecutive race for owner Lance R. Moore. Bred in Texas by Jerry Windham, the daughter of Jess Zoomin is out of the First Down Dash mare Ms  Kates Angel qualified for the $342,000 Louisiana Downs Futurity and followed that with a victory in the Old South Futurity at Delta Downs. Trained by Bobby Joe Nixon, Jes an Angel drew clear in :17.878 seconds in her trial under rider Camilo Castillo and drew the nine hole in the final.

Capo On Fire, set the second-fastest qualifying time of :17.872 seconds under rider H. Javier Hernandez. That was the first win for the Oklahoma-bred son of Capo de Capi, who is trained by Jailinne Venzor. He made three previous starts for owner Luz Hernandez, qualifying to the $441,000 Oklahoma Futurity at Remington Park on March 19.

Apollitical Dynamite,  runner-up to Leavinematthebar, crossed the wire in :17.873 seconds with Victor Urieta, Jr. in the saddle. Owned by Red Sea Racing Stables, LLC, the colt by Apollitical Jess made just one previous start here for trainer Juan Diaz, Jr. on May 13. Diaz and Urieta teamed up to win last year’s edition of the stakes with De Laurentis.

The John Deere Challenge is carded as the ninth race on Thursday’s program with an approximate post time of 7:28 pm with the winner advancing to the $125,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge Championship (G2) at Horseshoe Indianapolis on October 22. This is the first time the Shelbyville, Indiana racetrack will host the championships, which have been held at the Downs of Albuquerque for the past two years.  Each of the three Texas tracks have hosted the event since its inception in 1993.

Hes Jess Dealin Draws the Far Outside Post in the $91,163 Adequan Derby

Two trials were contested on May 26 to determine the ten finalists for the $91,163 Adequan Derby, which will run as race eight on Thursday’s program.

Pete Scarmardo’s homebred Hes Jess Dealin will head the $91,163 Adequan Derby Challenge. © Coady Photography

Pete Scarmardo’s homebred Hes Jess Dealin won the second 400 yard trial in :19.982 seconds, setting the fastest time under AQHA Champion Jockey Francisco Calderon. The gelded son of Dealagame out of the Mr Jess Perry mare Jess Marcy is trained by John Stinebaugh and will break from post ten as the 8-5 choice. The sorrel gelding has won three of his eight starts and qualified for the final of the John Deere Texas Juvenile Challenge regional race last June at Sam Houston Race Park. Calderon won an allowance last October at Lone Star Park aboard Hes Jess Dealin and gave his insight into his running style.

"He doesn’t break too well; some horses are that way," said Calderon. "But halfway down the track, he gets into gear and catches up. I was happy we drew the outside post. It’s perfect in that if he does not get away quickly, he won’t have multiple horses in front of him."

Calderon, who is dividing his time between his home near San Antonio and Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico, also acknowledged Texas breeder and owner Scarmardo.

"I had a lot of success riding for Pete when Leon (Bard) was training for him," he added. "Pete is one of the top horsemen in Texas and his support means a great deal to me."

Randee Fagan’s Catch, who set the sixth fastest qualifying time, is also trained by Stinebaugh and will be ridden by Bryan Candanosa. The veteran conditioner has won two previous editions of the Derby final with Mr Taka B in 2012 and Corona Ranger who was victorious in 2018.

Mariano Garza’s Biden Record, winner of the first trial, crossed the wire in :20.234 seconds with Jose Beltran up. Bred by Heh Holdings, the son of Pool ran well in his first start since finishing second in an allowance at Lone Star Park on December 16. He will break from the four hole at odds of 4-1.

Revenant Dynasty, owned by AA Horse Racing, Inc. and Hector Ruiz received the second-fastest clocking of :20.189 seconds. The A Revenant gelding was bred by Wind Acres Stables and was ridden by Ali Rivera.

The winner will represent Texas in the $150,000 Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G3) at Horseshoe Indianapolis on October 22. For more information on the 2022 Bank of America Challenge Championships, CLICK HERE.

Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse Stakes

Six stakes will be run on Saturday, June 18 at Sam Houston Race Park. An advance will be forthcoming.

• $50,000 Jesse Yoakum Memorial 870 Stakes      3YO & Up          870 yards
• $50,000 Miss Sam Houston Stakes                      F&M 3YO&Up   330 yards
• $50,000 Sam Houston 250 Stakes                       3YO & Up          250 yards
• $50,000 Sam Houston 550 Stakes                       3YO & Up          550 yards
• $40,000 Sam Houston Starter Stakes                  3YO & Up          350 yards
• $100,000 Willie Hickman Memorial                      3YO & Up          400 yards

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About Sam Houston Race Park
Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located just 15 miles from downtown Houston.  Owned by Penn National Gaming. Inc., the racetrack, which opened in 1994, offers a variety of attractions including a Suite Level featuring luxurious suites overlooking the racetrack, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and the Jockey Club. For more information on upcoming live racing, shows, events and tickets, please visit www.shrp.com.