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Fire Cowboy Gets Seventh Straight Victory In The $280,450 Sam Houston Derby [G3]

Fire Cowboy, ridden by Victor Urieta, Jr, wins the 280,450 Sam Houston Derby [G3] by 1 1/2-lengths at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday.

© Coady Photography

HOUSTON, TX–JUNE 15, 2024–Fastest qualifier from the trials Fire Cowboy doesn't disappoint with his seventh consecutive trip to the winner's circle in the $280,450 Sam Houston Derby [G3] at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday.

Victor Urieta, Jr, who has ridden Fire Cowboy for his last three starts, got the leg up for the 350-yard Derby. The son of Flying Cowboy 123 made a quick start on the inside, going directly into the lead, and rolled clear for the wire in :17.346 seconds. The heavy favorite clocked a 106 speed index, and the 1 1/2-length victory paid $2.60 to win on 1-1 odds.

His owner, Emmanuel Villarreal, hand-selected Fire Cowboy from the Los Alamitos Equine Sale and purchased three-year-old gelding for $22,000 from breeders Edward and VonZae McNelis. He is out of Perky by Walk Thru Fire.

"I was waiting for him. I went all the way to California to buy him. He was a Texas-bred at Los Alamitos. I really believe in his bloodlines," said Villarreal.

Trained by Juan Diaz, Jr., Fire Cowboy broke his maiden in his first start. He had a few more starts, placing second in the Sam Houston Juvenile Challenge Stakes [G3], then just took off from there, ticking off the wins. The sorrel gelding has lit the board ten of 11 starts with eight career wins. Fire Cowboy moves to the top of the three-year-old leader boards after cashing in the $112,180 winner's share of tonight's purse boosting his bankroll to $357,773

Villarreal commented on his success, "I want to thank God, all the team, and especially my wife, who has been super patient with me, for this win."

Next on the agenda is the Retama Derby, followed by the Texas Classic Derby.

Jaegar, piloted by Luis Vivanco, chased Fire Cowboy but wasn't a match. He placed second two lengths ahead of Jmg One Hott Eagle, with Gaspar Garcia in the irons.

Trainer Toby Keeton saddled Jaegar for owner Guerras Racing Stables. The son of Apollitical Jess has a record of 1-3-1 from eight starts with $93,058 in earnings, including second in the Louisiana Downs Maiden Classic in March.

The $63,000 Heritage Place Yearling Sale graduate is bred by Five Puig Racing, LLC, and out of Adolph Tres Knockout by Tres Seis.

Third-place finisher Jmg One Hot Eagle is owned and bred by Maria Solis of Texas. The son of This Is An Eagle has two career wins with $73,596 in earnings and was a finalist in the Oklahoma Derby [G3] and Leon Bard Memorial Stakes earlier in the season. Raul Rodriguez, Jr. trains the sorrel gelding out of Sha by Coronas Leaving You.

Hesa Game, Cr Dmj Policy, Eyes Like An Eagle, Princess Chenoa, Dragones, Swanky B and Revolutionaerie complete the order of finish.


For additional information on breeding, contact Royal Vista Ranch Farm Manager—Laura Erickson—at (405) 449-7575.

Story and images courtesy of Stallion E Search.


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