Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Nominations are now listed for the Grade 3, $300,000 Houston Ladies Classic which will be contested on January 27, with top possible contenders including the multiple Grade 1 winner Midnight Bisou and Blamed, a relative newcomer to the Bill Mott barn. The mile and one-sixteenth main track feature anchors a rich stakes day on opening weekend of Sam Houston Race Park’s 25th anniversary season, with the card getting underway at 1 p.m. CT.
The Houston Ladies Classic closed with 33 nominations with considerable buzz on the 2019 debut of Midnight Bisou. The daughter of Midnight Lute won both the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and Cotillion (G1) at age 3, the latter the result of a stewards decision at Parx. Steve Asmussen trains the 4-year-old filly, who was third in her last race, the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, at Churchill Downs. Mike Smith rides the Eclipse Awards finalist.
Another Hall of Fame trainer, Mott, has nominated Blamed, a Maryland-bred daughter of Blame. She has won six of her eight starts; most recently taking the Grade 3, Comely at Aqueduct for her owner Cleber J. Massey. Lightly-raced Road to Victory is under consideration by conditioner Mark Casse. She is a graded-stakes winner with a record of three wins from four starts for owners Gary Barber and John C. Oxley.
Remedy, a 4-year-old Creative Cause owned by Twin Creeks Racing Stables LLC and trained by Brad Cox is another interesting nominee. She made her debut at Keeneland before breaking her maiden at Fair Grounds. Cox shipped her to Remington Park where she ran second in the Grade 3, Remington Park Oaks in September. The Kentucky-bred filly overcame a troubled start to finish second in the Comely Stakes on November 23. Cox won the 2018 Houston Ladies Classic with Tiger Moth.
Inaugurated in 2013, the Houston Ladies Classic was formed to serve as the marquee race for Sam Houston’s Thoroughbred meet. Now in its seventh running, the mile and one-sixteenth Houston Ladies Classic anchors The Houston Racing Festival, which also includes the Grade 3, $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup, the $75,000 Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint, the $50,000 Houston Turf Stakes, the $50,000 Jersey Lilly Turf Stakes and the $50,000 Stonerside Sprint.
The Houston Ladies Classic was awarded its graded status by the American Graded Stakes Committee in 2016. Previous winners are: Tiger Moth (2018), Unbridled Mo (2017), Forever Unbridled (2016), Cassatt (2015), Rose to Gold (2014) and Joyful Victory (2013).