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Two Texas Thoroughbred Association $150,000 Futurity Stakes Races Highlight Stars of Texas Day July 13 at Lone Star Park

Five Stakes Will be Contested as the Thoroughbred Live Racing Season Wraps this Weekend

Grand Prairie, Texas –July 9, 2024 – The two-year-old Thoroughbreds who are emerging as the rising racetrack stars in Texas will be revealed this Saturday, July 13 during Stars of Texas Day at Lone Star Park. Post time for the nine-race program is 1:35 pm (Central) with five stakes highlighted by two divisions of the $150,000 Texas Thoroughbred Association Futurity.


During the final day of Lone Star Park’s 2024 Thoroughbred meet, another nine-race card will run on Sunday, July 14.


Sale Topper Don’t Backdown Faces Six Rivals in the $150,000 Texas Thoroughbred Association Futurity (Colts & Geldings)

The first stakes on Stars of Texas Day is the colts and geldings division of the $150,000 Texas Thoroughbred Association Futurity which will run as race five.  A field of seven TTA Sale graduates will compete at the distance of five and one-half furlongs on the main track.


Don’t Backdown, a 2-year-old colt by Street Boss was purchased by Endeavor Racing Stable LLC for $265,000. The sale topper, bred by Stoneview Farm Inc., is trained by Bret Calhoun and ran second in a $33,000 maiden special weight at Lone Star Park on June 15.


“He weighed 1,180 pounds at the sale,” said Calhoun. “He is a big, well-bred colt, but was heavy. We needed to get a prep race in him prior to the TTA Futurity. I was not disappointed in that effort.”


Trainer Steve Asmussen will saddle Ring Seeker for breeder and owner W. S. Farish. The son of Too Much Bling will break from post three under Erik Asmussen, following an impressive 10-length win, over a sloppy track in the $94,000 Staunch Avenger division of the Texas Stallion Stakes on June 1.


“He’s another nice Too Much Bling,” said Asmussen. “We were impressed with his debut and expect he will continue to progress. I am proud to continue to have the support of Mr. Farish.”


Last year, young trainer Jayde Gelner won this division with Norman Racing Stables, LLC’s Strong Promise, who went on to win two stakes in Louisiana and a game runner-up finish in the $111,000 Texas Thoroughbred Association Derby on March 23 at Sam Houston Race Park. Gelner owns and trains Midnight Humor, who will break to the inside of Ring Seeker under Floyd Wethey, Jr. The gelding by Spun to Run has made two starts at Lone Star Park, winning a five furlong maiden special weight on June 9. 


Trainer H. Ray Ashford will saddle two entrants: Good Product, who broke his maiden on June 15, drew the rail for owner Ron A. Stolich. Luis Quinonez has the return call aboard the gelding sired by Good Samaritan. Jockey Fernando Jara will guide Brant Shafer’s Brushy Bill, a colt by Early Flyer who exits a third-place finish on June 28. Lone Star Racing Club’s Texas Creed finished second in that $44,000 maiden special weight for trainer Ronnie Cravens.


Quinquela Installed as the Morning Line Favorite in the $150,000 Texas Thoroughbred Association Futurity (Fillies)

The fillies division of the $150,000 Texas Thoroughbred Association Futurity, also at the distance of five and one-half furlongs on the main track, features a field of ten.


Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen looks forward to running 3-1 morning line favorite Quinquela for the partnership of William L. & Corinne Heiligbrodt, Jackpot Farm, Whispering Oaks Farm LLC & Coteau Grove Farms LLC. The daughter of Vino Rosso made her debut at Churchill Downs on May 25, finishing third and won her subsequent start at Lone Star Park by six lengths three weeks later. Douglas Scharbauer’s homebred I’m on Edge will make her third career appearance after winning the $93,000 Pan Zareta division of the Texas Stallion Stakes on June 23.  Luis Quinonez will pilot Quinquela and Erik Asmussen has the return call aboard the daughter of Competitive Edge.


Quinquela, the morning line favorite in the $150,000 Texas Thoroughbred Association Futurity (Fillies). Dustin Orona Photography

“Both fillies came back well off their victories,” said Asmussen. “Quinquela responded nicely in her second race. Erik will have to navigate his trip from the rail with I’m on Edge, but she is capable of taking the next step.”


Trainer Jayde Gelner won last year’s Fillies Division of the TTA Futurity with Divining Humor, a Texas-bred filly he owned and trained. His prospect for this year’s stakes is Tapitures Actor, a daughter of Tapiture who broke her maiden decisively on May 25 and will be ridden by Floyd Wethey, Jr. 


Golden Cole, owned by Jerry Namy, and Indigo Racing’s Tequila Miss are both maiden winners seeking their second career scores for trainers Karl Broberg and J.R. Caldwell.


Asmussen, who continues to top all Thoroughbred trainers in North America, has a strong allegiance to Texas racing and has won several editions of the TTA Futurity, sweeping both divisions in 2020 with Kandy Ginger and Super Stock. He looks forward to his juveniles running this Saturday and continuing to support Texas racing.


“Texas is home for our family,” stated Asmussen. “There is nothing better than winning at home!”


Bret Calhoun also shared his thoughts on pairing the annual Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale and the TTA Futurity. “It is a great match,” stated Calhoun. “The Sale Futurity is a solid incentive for owners who attend the sale. Tracy Williams (Don’t Back Down) had never owned a racehorse in his life. I gave him a short list of horses that I thought had potential. He attended the Sale with me and was impressed enough with the horse to sign a ticket for $265,000, which was the Sale topper. To me, the combination of the Sale and $150,000 TTA Futurity is positive for both owners and the Texas Thoroughbred Association.”


Mary Ruyle, executive director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association commented on the history of these two stakes and what they mean to Texas breeders and owners.  “Dating back to the early 1990’s the Texas Thoroughbred Association has offered a Futurity for graduates of our Sales,” said Ruyle. “We are very pleased to continue that tradition with the running of the Texas Thoroughbred Association Futurity on Saturday at Lone Star Park, with divisions for colts/geldings and fillies at $150,000 each.”


Not only do the horses competing in the upcoming Futurity have the opportunity to earn significant purse money along with black type status, but TTA Sales grads are also eligible to compete in the $100,000 Texas Thoroughbred Association Derby or Oaks to be conducted in 2025 at Sam Houston Race Park,” she added.  “We wish all the connections of horses in these races the best of racing luck.”


Three additional features will also be contested on Stars of Texas Day with some of the top Texas-bred turf specialists primed for top performances on the final weekend of the 2024 Lone Star Park Thoroughbred season.

Too Much Kiki Takes on Eight Rivals in the $75,000 Valor Farm Stakes

Trainer Bret Calhoun is hopeful that Mansfield Racing’s Too Much Kiki will begin another win streak as she makes her tenth lifetime start in the $75,000 Valor Farm Stakes. The six-furlong race drew eight Accredited Texas-Bred fillies and mares.

The daughter of Too Much Bling out of the Action This Day mare, Soft Music was bred by Danele Durham and was the sales topper at the 2022 Texas Summer Yearling Sale. She began 2024 with three stakes wins in Houston, beginning with the Darby’s Daughter on January 6. Her last win was in the Two Altazano five months ago at Sam Houston Race Park, but she has hit the board in her three stakes appearances at Lone Star.

“She has cost herself additional wins by giving others the edge,” said Calhoun. “She has never done too much in the mornings, so we began training her in blinkers. In Houston, she responded really well to (jockey) Fernando Jara. He will have the call on Saturday.”

Calhoun will also saddle Successful Path, who ran third in the Darby’s Daughter for owners Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch. She was a five-length debut winner here on opening night. The filly by Mr. Speaker is owned by Collinsworth Thoroughbred Racing LLC.

Kevin Peek’s homebred Peek Factor won the $75,000 Yellow Rose on Texas Champions Day at Sam Houston and exits a third-place finish in the $81,000 Bluebonnet on April 18 at Lone Star Park. The 6-year-old daughter of Too Much Bling will be ridden by Luis Quinonez.

TTA Horse of the Year Sunlit Song Returns in the $75,000 Assault Stakes

Texas Horse of the Year and Champion Older Horse, Sunlit Song has an impressive record on the turf. The 9-year-old son of My Golden Song was bred in Texas by Carolyn Barnett and owned by Barnett and Becky Harding. The striking gray gelding will make his 45th lifetime start on Saturday for trainer Mindy Willis. His incredible record is highlighted by 18 wins; 16 on turf and earnings of $757,520. He ran second to Singapore Flash in last year’s Assault Stakes.

Willis is hopeful that Sunlit Song will find his way back to the winner’s circle on Saturday afternoon. He will make his first start since running second in the Richard King Stakes on Texas Champions Day at Sam Houston.

Famous Texas-bred veteran track star Sunlit Song. Coady Photography

“We’ve had to fight bad weather and a minor issue he had with mucus,” explained Willis. “I am thankful that his owners always back me in not running him unless he is 100%,” explained Willis. “He’s good now and has been working well.”

Willis had to secure another rider as Stewart Elliott has been sidelined since being injured at Lone Star Park on May 27.

“Stewart was always so patient, and I was at a loss who would fit Sunlit Song, but made a good choice with Richard Eramia,” she added. “He is a very kind person and an experienced rider. I have confidence that he will put him in a good spot.”

Iberian Runner, owned by L and G Racing Stables has shown his affinity for the turf, outrunning his odds in several stakes appearances this year. The 5-year-old son of El Kingdom is trained by Cesar Govea, who will give a leg up to rider Leandro Goncalves.

Trainer J. R. Caldwell, who won the 2023 Assault with Singapore Flash, will saddle Bobby Brinkley, a 6-year-old gelding by Shanghai Bobby. A $25,000 claim by Farmers Fillies Racing, Bobby Brinkley has won two of his four main track races this season at Lone Star.

Half Sisters Renew Rivalry in the $75,000 Fiesta Mile Stakes

An overflow field of Accredited Texas-Bred fillies and mares will compete at one mile on the turf in the final stakes of the program, the $75,000 Fiesta Mile Stakes.

Defending champion Imaluckycharm, owned by Carl R. Moore Management, was a gate-to-wire winner last July for trainer Karen Jacks. This year, the 5-year-old daughter of My Golden Song continued her winning ways at Sam Houston Race Park with a victory in the $75,000 San Jacinto Turf Stakes on Texas Champions Day. It marked the first stakes win for talented young rider Erik Asmussen.

Carl and Valinda Moore’s Imaluckycharm. Coady Photography

The two accomplished mares are the high earners for Jacks, who has been training since 2012. Owned by James Sills, No Mas Tequila has banked $466,402 while Imaluckycharm has earned $339,330 for her owner.

“We were thinking it was time for No Mas (Tequila) to become a mama, but she’s not ready yet,” said Jacks. “Both mares are so talented; one is big and strong and the other is small and good. When they run in the same race, I just close my eyes and hope for the best!”

Fortunately for Jacks, they have drawn apart in the Fiesta Mile with Imaluckycharm breaking from post position two under regular rider Ernesto Valdez-Jimenez and No Mas Tequila and Erik Asmussen leaving from gate 11.

Darrell W. Bravenec’s Tudela became a stakes winner earlier this year, winning the $75,000 Miss Bluebonnet Stakes at Sam Houston in a driving finish under rider Rene Diaz. He will have the call on Saturday aboard the 6-year-old Holiday Promise mare for trainer Jaime Castellanos.



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