03/17/2004 1:00AM

Sam Houston Race Park track report


The MBNA America Challenge Championships, a Breeders' Cup-style championship for Quarter Horses on Nov. 6, will highlight the Quarter Horse meet at Sam Houston Race Park. The track will run an extended, 95-date meet for Quarter Horses this year, with the season set to start on April 23 and run through Nov. 6.

Sam Houston has scheduled 58 stakes worth more than $2 million this meet. The track has taken on Quarter Horse dates from other facilities in Texas to accommodate the running of the Breeders' Cup at Lone Star Park in October.

Thirteen stakes worth more than $1 million will be run in the MBNA America Challenge Championships, including the Grade 1, $300,000 MBNA America Challenge Championship.

The extended meet has caused the shuffling of some major stakes, including the $75,000 MBNA Texas Challenge Championship, which will be run on May 29 instead of in July. Other major race days include the Texas Summer Showdown, a program of stakes on July 30, and the Grade 1, $100,000-added Sam Houston Futurity on Sept. 24.

Sam Houston is also picking up two major races run each fall at Lone Star: the Grade 1, $200,000 Texas Classic Futurity on Oct. 29, and the Grade 1, $100,000-added Texas Classic Derby on Oct. 30.

* Sam Houston will race Friday through Sunday from this week to the close of the Thoroughbred meet on April 10.