Texas’ top Thoroughbreds will compete March 25 in the Sam Houston Race Park Texas Champions Day.
This annual Texas horse racing event has run since 1994 and is a toast to top breeders, owners and thoroughbreds in Texas.
There are seven stakes races with a combined purse worth $700,000 up for grabs. In 2021, purses for each of the seven featured races increased to $100,000, which will remain the case in 2023.
Everything you need to know about Texas Champions Day
For those looking to attend Texas Champions Day at Sam Houston Race Park, gates open at noon with live racing beginning at 1 p.m.
General admission is $5 for the 2023 season, with children age 5 and under allowed to enter for free. Tickets can be purchased online, on the grounds or by calling 281-807-8760 before noon at least one day prior. Parking at Sam Houston is free in its 3,500-space parking lot.
In addition to admission, there are some add-ons available for specialized seating:
- Reserved counter seat: $5
- 3–person finish line box: $15
- 4–person finish line box: $20
- 5–person finish line box: $25
- Luxury suites are available by calling 281-807-8760
Two options include admission and food and beverage add-ons. The Winner’s Circle Restaurant Experience: $34.99 includes admission, buffet (tax and gratuity) and a non-alcoholic beverage. If you do not want admission and just want to enjoy a meal, the cost is $29.99
Texas Champions Day features a $700K combined purse
Each of the seven races will have $100,000 in purse. Here is a look at the races coming up:
- Richard King – 4&up- 1 1/8 Mile (T)
- San Jacinto – 4&up F&M- 1 1/16 Mile (T)
- Spirit of Texas – 4&up- 6 Furlongs
- Yellow Rose Stakes – 4&up F&M- 6 furlongs
- Star of Texas – 4&up- 1 Mile
- TTA Derby – 3yo C&G- 1 Mile and 70 yards
- TTA Oaks – 3yo F- 1 Mile and 70 yards
Winners from Texas Preview Day expected to compete
Sam Houston hosted a five-stake Texas Preview Day in February as a lead-up to Texas Champions Day. The majority of the winners from preview day are expected to return for the big race on March 25.
Here is a look at the winners from Texas Preview Day, each winning $75,000:
- Jim’s Orbit – I’m a Cowboy
- Houston Turf Stakes – Sunlit Song
- H-Town Stakes – Gold Pilot
- Miss Bluebonnet Turf – Imaluckycharm
- Two Altazano – Izatiz
HISA conflict dilutes Texas horse racing pool of horses and trainers
Since the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) moved in on regulations in the industry, the participating pool of horses and trainers has greatly diminished.
As discussed by PlayTexas, introducing the HISAA Act in 2020 gave this governing body the authority to regulate state racetracks. This was to ensure consistency and safety, along with the export of racetrack signals to other states.
The Texas Racing Commission, which had regulated horse racing in Texas for over a century, did not take too kindly to this intervention and refused to acknowledge HISA’s authority, even going so far as to stop exporting its racing signal for the purpose of out-of-state Advanced Deposit Wagering. This led to a drop in revenue, affecting employees, venues, racers and trainers.
It is unknown how long this conflict will last, but until it’s over, the health of Texas horse racing will likely continue to decline.