Filly and Mare Showdown Saturday at Sam Houston Race Park

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April 19th, 2017

Sam Houston Race Park will host two Bank of America Challenge Stakes
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Million Dollar Kiss won the Markel Bonus Challenge at Los Alamitos last October

on Saturday, April 22. As we have previously reported, AQHA world champion Jessies First Down leads the field in the $103,320 Bank of America Texas Challenge. The field will compete at the "classic" Quarter Horse distance of 440 yards, which is a quarter of a mile!

However, earlier in the card, a very competitive field of fillies and mares will travel 400 yards in the $28,440 Merial Texas Distaff Challenge.  The winner of both Challenge stakes will earn a berth to the Bank of American Challenge Championship on October 14 at Prairie Meadows.

AQHA champion trainer Judd Kearl will saddle two mares: Barefoot Beach, an Ivory James mare bred by Bobby D. Cox, makes her second start of the meet. She finished a close second in the $20,000 Miss Sam Houston Stakes on March 31, and will break from the far outside post under rider Rodrigo Vallejo. Kearl has also taken over the training duties for the talented Million Dollar Kiss, who was the upset winner in the 2014 John Deere Juvenile Challenge at Sam Houston. Bred and owned by Jerry Chapman, the daughter of Jess Louisiana Blue has
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Live Quarter Horse racing at Sam Houston Race Park continues through May 22

won five career races and topped the $120,000 earnings mark. Jose Alvarez, who rode for Kearl last summer at Ruidoso Downs,  will  guide Million Dollar Kiss.

Trainer Leon Bard and jockey Francisco Calderon won the Merial Texas Distaff last year with Time for Wine and will team up this year with Brookside. The 4-year-old mare by Brookstone Bay is bred and owned by Linda Loftis Tobias and was the fastest qualifier to the 2016 Adequan Texas Derby Challenge, running fourth in the final. She will make her 2017 debut off back-to-back wins last fall at Lone Star Park.

The two Challenge stakes will run as the seventh and eighth races on the Saturday night card, which gets underway at 6:00 pm (Central).