ef="/racetracks/HOU/sam_houston.html" title="Sam Houston Race Park">Sam Houston Race Park in Houston, Texas will play host to the Grade 3 Houston Ladies Classic Stakes on Saturday, January 30. Fillies and mares four years old and upward will be featured when they take to Sam Houston's main track and race 1 1/16 miles for the winner's share of the $400,000 purse.
Seven older females will line up in the Houston Ladies Classic - race 9 - the main event on Sam Houston's stacked Saturday card. Post time is 9:05 PM. Let's take a peek into the past performances of all seven combatants for this lucrative Grade 3 stakes.
2016 Houston Ladies Classic Race Preview
Forever Unbridled 3-1 - Dallas Stewart trained filly has two wins, two seconds and two third place finishes in eight career starts . She enters off one of those wins - in the Grade 3 Comely Stakes at Aqueduct November 28. Before that was a fifth in the Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes in October, an ugly eleventh in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks May 1 and consecutive third place finishes - the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks March 28 and the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra Stakes in February. She also had a second place finish in the minor Silverbulletday Stakes last January. Unbridled Forever looked great last time out after two sub-par outings and is expected to challenge Saturday. Joel Rosario picks up the mount on the tepid morning line favorite from the rail Saturday hoping for Forever Unbridled's second straight graded stakes score.
Cassatt 4-1 - Larry Jones trained filly had a nice three race win streak at this time last year- all gate-to-wire wins including the 2015 Houston Ladies Classic, as favorite January 24, the Tiffany Lass Stakes December 21 and the Zia Park Oaks in November, 2014. She also won the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks in August of that year. Cassatt enters off yet another win - the minor She's All In Handicap at Remington Park December 13 which followed two unflattering results - a fifth in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Keeneland in October and a last of six in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Stakes at Santa Anita in March. Cassatt now has seven wins and a second place finish in 12 career starts although she's placed in just one of four graded stakes tries. She hopes to repeat in this race and off a win looks to be in decent position to do so. Florent Geroux has been tabbed to ride the second betting choice from post 3.
Theogony 9-2 - Mark Casse trained mare has four wins and three runner-up finishes in 14 career starts. She enters off consecutive second place finishes - the minor Pippin Stakes at Oaklawn Park January 17 and in the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs November 26. Before that was a sixth in the Grade 3 Maple Leaf Stakes at Woodbine October 31, a good win in the minor Belle Mahone Stakes also at Woodbine in August and an Allowance Optional Claiming score on that track. Theogony has two wins and two seconds in her last five starts overall and arrives in good form. Joe Bravo has been tabbed with getting her a first graded stakes score - from post 5.
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Cali Star 5-1 - Martin Wolfson trained filly made her graded stakes debut last time out and promptly won the Grade 3 Rampart Stakes at Gulfstream Park December 12. She had three wins, five seconds and three third place finishes in 17 previous starts. Before her nice win last time out was an impressive five length Allowance Optional Claiming score at Gulfstream Park West November 18 in her first start for her new trainer, an eighth in a similar race at Keeneland October 2 and consecutive third place finishes in Allowance Optional Claiming races in the summer. She has just one other stakes start which resulted in a runner-up finish in the minor Pago Hop Stales at Fair Grounds in December, 2014. Cali Star has placed in four of her last five starts overall and could surprise again having won two straight ahead of this weekend. Tyler Gaffalione has the mount from gate 6.
Diva's Diamond 8-1 - has 11 wins, 15 seconds and six third place finishes in 45 career starts. She looked good early last year - runner-up finish ahead of Beholder in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Stakes at Oaklawn Park in April was followed by a third in an Allowance Optional Claiming in May and two straight minor stakes scores - the Wild Rose Stakes May 25 and the Iowa Distaff June 26 - both results at Prairie Meadows. Diva's Diamond hasn't been great since - a sixth last time out in the minor She's All In Handicap December 13 followed an OK second in the minor Treasure Chest Stakes in November and a ninth in the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland in October. She hopes to get back to her early/2015 form with Patrick Valenzuela aboard from gate 4.
Welcome Aboard 10-1 - Eric Reed trained mare makes her graded stakes debut Saturday after 24 career starts produced eight wins, five seconds and a third place finish. She won the minor Opelousas Stakes at Evangeline in July - her best career effort but hasn't been great since. Last time out was a fifth in an Allowance Optional Claiming December 13 which followed a ninth in an Allowance in October and an OK third in the minor River Cities Stakes in September. Welcome Abroad looks to bounce back Saturday when she leaves from the outside post 7 with Deshawn Parker guiding her.
Rose to Glory 15-1 - Donnie Von Hemel trained filly will make her graded stakes debut Saturday having posted just two wins and two seconds in 12 career starts. Last time out was a fourth in her only stakes action to date - the minor Remington Park Oaks way back on September 27. Before that was a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming August 29 and an Allowance score August 2 - both results at Ellis Park. Rose to Glory steps up in so-so form and leaves from gate 2 with Lindey Wade in the saddle.
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