Sam Houston Race Park
Sam Houston Race Park is a Class 1 thoroughbred race track in Houston, Texas. Built at a cost of approximately $90 million, Sam Houston Race Park opened in April 1994 and was the first Class I facility in the state. It hosts thoroughbred racing from November to March and quarter horse racing from June to September.
Sam Houston Race Park is considered a premier Texas race track and as testament to this, it has been chosen as a venue to major horse racing events, among them are various stakes such as:
- the Sam Houston Oaks
- the Texas Heritage Stakes
- the Spring Stakes
- the Double Your Flavor Stakes
Purses for these stakes range from $25,000 to $200,000.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Great State Challenge, a unique racing event where thoroughbred champions from eight states compete in six races with purses totaling $1,500,000.
Location and Facilities
Located on Houston's Beltway 8 between Highway 290 and I-45, Sam Houston Race Park covers 320 acres of land. It has 125 manned betting machines and 100 self-service machines. It has 1,224 horse stalls, HERO, and a Veterinary Clinic located in the stable area.
Sam Houston Race Park has a dirt and a turf track. The dirt track is a one-mile oval which is 90 feet wide on the straightaway and 80 feet wide on the turns. The dirt used on the track is 10 inches deep and was brought in from the Brazos River bottom in Houston.
The turf track is 7/8 of a mile. It is 80 feet wide when the poles are in the zero rail position; 71 feet wide when the poles are in the 9 foot rail position; and 62 feet wide when the poles are in the 18 foot rail position. In the summer, the track is made up of one-inch deep 419 Hybrid Bermuda grass. In the winter, it is made up of one-inch deep Rye grass.
Sam Houston Race Park's largest attendance was recorded on July 4, 1999 when 23,324 people visited. The tracks largest handle ever was on December 10, 1999 (Texas Champions Day), with a total handle of $4,070,715 (live, host and guest).
Sam Houston Race Park prides itself with the distinction of being the fastest growing race track in America based on attendance over the past year.
The Horses at Sam Houston Race Park
At Sam Houston Race Park, each horse is given exercise every morning and are washed and walked every day to keep their muscles in racing form. They train from 6 to 8 am and 8:30 to 10 am every morning (except Monday) out of the starting gate.
They are fed three times a day and their stalls are cleaned twice a day. Grooms are in charge of taking care of the horses, the horse stalls and the meals.