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2004 American Quarter Horse Stakes Schedule Set At Sam Houston Race Park

Press Release

March 23, 2004 - An extended season of live American Quarter Horse racing gets underway Friday, April 23, 2004 at Sam Houston Race Park. The 95-day meet will feature live racing Friday - Sunday in April, May and June and shifts to Thursday - Sunday on July 29. Post time is 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and 5 p.m. post time for Sunday. Live racing will conclude on Saturday, November 6, 2004 with the running of the prestigious MBNA America® Challenge Championships.

Racing secretary Eric Johnston announced that Sam Houston Race Park will offer 45 stakes races with purses in excess of $1,000,000 in addition to the 13 MBNA Challenge Championship stakes races worth an additional $1 million.

With the extended meet, several of the key stakes races have been moved from their traditional dates. The $75,000 MBNA Texas Challenge Championship (G1), which is usually run in July, will be moved to Saturday, May 29 to coincide with Memorial Day weekend.

"Our goal in writing the 2004 stakes schedule was to create a number of weekends with big events," said Johnston. "Horsemen are thrilled that Sam Houston Race Park will offer its longest American Quarter Horse meet and we look forward to hosting the nationally prominent MBNA Challenge Championships in November."

One of the biggest nights of the American Quarter Horse meet is the Texas Summer Showdown, which will take place on Friday, July 30, 2004. This event, which has grown in prominence each year, will once again be paired with the TQHA Yearling Sale in the Pavilion Centre on Saturday, July 31 and trials for the TQHA Sires' Cup Futurity are set for Saturday evening.

"We are pleased with the 2004 live racing schedule and the opportunity to showcase American Quarter Horse racing for a six-month period," said Robert L. Bork, president and general manager of Sam Houston Race Park. "This schedule reflects the cooperation of the Texas Racing Commission and the other racetracks in Texas. We were happy to accommodate Lone Star Park so that they could continue in their preparation for the Breeders' Cup. Our local fans will enjoy the combination of live racing on each of the Triple Crown dates; a first in our ten-year history."

Stall applications are currently being accepted and horsemen who are interested in running horses at Sam Houston Race Park this summer may contact the Racing Office at 1-800-807-RACE. Stall applications, stakes schedules and condition books will be available on the Sam Houston Race Park Web site at