10/14/2009 12:00AM

Sam Houston adds $100K Distaff to schedule


The Houston-based Gallery Furniture operation of prominent owner Jim Mattress Mack McIngvale will sponsor a new stakes during the Texas Champions Day program at Sam Houston Race Park on Dec. 5, the track announced late Wednesday. In addition, McIngvale and Sam Houston announced they are continuing their efforts to lure Rachel Alexandra and/or Zenyatta to town for a major stakes that could be run in early 2010.

The $100,000 Gallery Furniture Distaff on Dec. 5 is a mile and an eighth race for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up. It will be the lone open-company stakes on the Texas Champions Day card that features seven divisional stakes for Texas-breds. The addition of the Distaff brings total stakes purses for the program to $500,000. The card will be the richest of the meet at Sam Houston.

Sam Houston could run a second Gallery Furniture Distaff during the course of its meet, with the mile and an eighth race for fillies and mares being worth $1.5 million were it to attract both Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. If just one of the two were to start, the purse would be $750,000. The race is in the initial planning stages and no specific date has been set. Sam Houston, which opens Nov. 27, will race through April 3, 2010.

Rachel Alexandra is currently on vacation following her win in the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga and is expected to resume racing in 2010, while Zenyatta is being pointed for the Breeders Cup in November and her connections have said she could make a couple of starts in 2010 before retiring.