Sam Houston Race Park
The Stakes Have Never Been Bigger
|Owned by||Penn National Gaming and MAXXAM|
|Date opened||April 24, 1994|
and Quarter Horse
|Course type||Dirt & Turf|
|Live racing handle||$1,600,000+ Daily|
Sam Houston Race Park is a horse racing track located in unincorporated northwest Houston, Texas, United States. The park hosts both Thoroughbred and American Quarter Horse racing each year, along with music concerts of many genera. This track strives to be a multi-purpose venue, hosting many festivals and events during its off seasons.
Sam Houston opened on April 24, 1994, and is the first Class 1 Horse Racing venue constructed in Texas. It cost approximately $90 million to construct and is used as a concert venue when races aren't being held. The race park is considered the fastest growing race track in America based on attendance over the past year. The park is named for, Sam Houston, who was an influential general and later president of the Republic of Texas.
Sam Houston Race Park's largest attendance was recorded on July 4, 2008 with an attendance of 32,177.
In August 2017 Sam Houston opened its doors to the equine victims of hurricane Harvey. The facility made it through the disaster with little damage and flooding, so they offered refuge to over 100 displaced horses in the Houston area. Their racing barns were empty at the time due to the live racing season having already ended for the year.
Races at Sam Houston
The race track hosts two live race meets annually. Thoroughbred horse racing runs from late January till early March. American Quarter Horse races are held from the beginning of March through the middle of May. The rest of the year the park is open for simulcast racing around the United States. The races run the gambit of maiden special weights and claiming to graded stakes and handicaps. The grading systems of thoroughbreds and quarter horses function in an almost identical manor, with the highest quality competition running in grade ones with the quality descending through the graded races, listed and restricted races, with the lowest rungs running in allowance and claiming races.
Among many others, these are the races Sam Houston Race Park holds each year along with their purses:
- $100,000 Sam Houston Futurity (G2) 2YO - 330 Yds
- $95,000 B.O.A. TX Challenge Championship (G2) 3 & Up - 440 Yds
- $50,000 Sam Houston Classic (G2) 3 & Up - 440 Yds
- $35,000 Sam Houston Derby (G3) 3YO - 350 Yds
- $35,000 John Deere TX Juvenile Challenge (G3) 2YO - 350 Yds
- $35,000 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge 3YO - 400 Yds
- $25,000 Sam Houston Juvenile Stakes 2YO - 330 Yds
- $25,000 Governor's Cup Marathon 3 & Up - 870 Yds
- $20,000 Harris County Stakes 3 & Up - 550 Yds
- $20,000 Miss Sam Houston Stakes F/M 3 & Up - 330 Yds
- $22,000 Merial Texas Distaff Challenge F/M 3 & Up - 400 Yds
- $15,000 Colors of Texas Paint Maturity (G2) 3 & Up - 350 Yds
- $15,000 Colors of Houston Paint Juvenile 2YO 300 - Yds
- $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup (G3) 4 & Up
- $100,000 MAXXAM Gold Cup (L) 4 & Up
- $75,000 Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint 4 & Up
- $50,000 Sam Houston Sprint Cup 4 & Up
- $50,000 Houston Turf Stakes 4 & Up (T)
- $50,000 Bucharest Turf Sprint 4 & Up (T)
- $50,000 Groovy Stakes 3YO
- $50,000 Space City Stakes 3YO
- $50,000 Richard King Turf Stakes 4 & Up (T)
- $50,000 Spirit of Texas Stakes 4 & Up
- $50,000 Star of Texas Stakes 4 & Up
- $45,000 Texas Heritage Stakes 3YO (T)
- $45,000 Jersey Village Stakes 4 & Up (T)
- $30,000 Allen's Landing Stakes 3YO
- $75,000 Jim's Orbit Stakes 3YO
- $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic (G3) F/M 4 & Up (inaugurated in 2013)
- $75,000 Two Altazano Stakes F 3YO
- $50,000 Houston Distaff F/M 4 & Up (T)
- $50,000 Jersey Lilly Turf Stakes F/M 4 & Up (T)
- $50,000 San Jacinto Turf Stakes F/M 4 & Up
- $50,000 Bara Lass Stakes F 3YO
- $45,000 Tomball Stakes F/M 4 & Up (T)
- $75,000 Martanza Stakes F 3YO
- $45,000 Mission Stakes F/M 4 & Up
- $45,000 Sam Houston Oaks F 3YO
- $45,000 Fort Bend Country Stakes 3YO
- $45,000 Spring Stakes 3YO
- $25,000 Texans Juvenile Stakes 2YO
- $25,000 Buffalo Bayou Stakes 4 & Up
- $45,000 Amethyst Jewel (G1) 4 & Up - 7 F
- $30,000 Texas Six Shooter (G2) C/G 4 & Up - 7 F
- $38,500 Sheikha Mubarack LWC F/M 4 & Up 7 F
- $30,000 Texas Yellow Rose (G2) F/M 4 & Up - 7 F
Along with the 1-mile dirt track and 7-furlong turf course for the horses, Sam Houston Race Park offers 8 bars, 2 restaurants, Grandstand suites, San Jacinto Suite, Celebration Suite, Director's Suite, Sam Houston Suite, and the House Suite. The park contains many concession areas on the Paddock and Club levels.
Sam Houston Race Park hosts many concerts throughout each year. Each year the park hosts the ZiegenBock Music Festival, a smaller version of the Lone Star State Jam held in Austin, TX. A compilation of Country Music's finest artists and many of the up-and-coming start of Texas country music brings thousands out to Sam Houston Race Park each year for the festival. The strong history of concerts at Sam Houston Race Park includes names such as Gary Allan, the Grammy nominated Eli Young Band, Randy Rogers Band, and international acts such as Hadiqa Kiani along with many more.
Dog Day at the Track
One of the many light hearted events is the annual Wiener Dog Races. It's the start of the race card that include the Sam Houston Sprint Cup and the Houston Turf Stakes. It's a family friendly event that welcomes pets and offers $1 hot dogs. They offer $200 and $100 in prize money to dogs that come in first and second, and they hold several races throughout the day in between the live horse races. This event is usually held in February while a similar event called Derby Dog Dash is held in April. Races for corgis are held along with the original wienie dog races, and the track once again allows pets.
Annual Food Truck Festival
A new addition to the park's list of events is the Annual Food Truck Festival which brings together many small business for an day of food and games for families. The food spans several cultures including; Mexican, Cajun, Italian, Greek, Americana, and many more. There is also desert trucks and a craft beer tasting from local breweries available.
Guitars N' Cars Auto Show
Guitars N' Cars Auto Show, presented by the Houston Construction Industry Charities (hosted by Sam Houston Race Park), is an annual car show with live music, food, and guitar vendors. All proceeds from Guitars N' Cars auto show go to help the Houston US Vets program to honor the veterans of Houston.
- List of events in Houston
- Thoroughbred horse racing
- American Quarter Horse
- Horse racing
- Sam Houston Race Park Archived 2006-08-13 at the Wayback Machine.
- Sam Houston Race Park
- Valley Race Park - About Us Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Sam Houston Shelters Horses Displaced by Texas Flood". Retrieved 2 January 2018.
- "2017 Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse Stakes Schedule" (PDF). Retrieved 2 January 2018.
- "2018 Thorougbred Stakes Schedule" (PDF). Retrieved 2 January 2018.
- "Wiener Dog Races". Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- "Derby Dog Dash". Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- "2nd Annual Food Truck Festival". Retrieved 3 January 2018.
- "Guitars N' Cars Auto Show". Retrieved 3 January 2018.
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