Racing Commision Bumps 3 Tracks From Roster


By David Hooper, Director, Texas Thoroughbred Association

AUSTIN, (TTA) – The Texas Racing Commission designated five Class 2 horse racetracks as “inactive” during its regularly scheduled meeting last Tuesday in Austin. The TRC also voted to designate the six tracks that have held live racing in the past year as “active,” and one unbuilt Class 2 horse track and one greyhound track as “active-other.”

The “active” tracks are the three Class 1 horse tracks, Lone Star Park, Retama Park and Sam Houston Race Park, Class 3 Gillespie County Fair, and two greyhound tracks, Gulf Greyhound Park and Valley Race Park. The “active-other” Class 2 horse track is Valle de los Tesoros in McAllen and Gulf Coast Racing, the former Corpus Christi Greyhound track. The Class 2 tracks designated as “inactive” are Laredo Downs, Laredo Race Park, Longhorn Downs, Manor Downs and Saddle Brook Park.

The TRC may reclassify at anytime and Saddle Brook may be the first track to be redesignated as the TRC approved requests of the Amarillo track’s owners to open a simulcast facility in a temporary location six miles from the permanent track site and to designate an application period for 2014 race dates.

The TRC rejected a special request from Laredo Downs to consider 2014 dates deciding to consider 2013-14 dates applications from all tracks at the next Commission meeting in October.

Travis Tygart, the chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency since 2007, extolled the virtues of a “top-down” regulatory structure put in place and utilized by countries participating in the Olympic Games for the past several Summer and Winter Games after the memories of previous Olympics had been soiled by participants found to have performed with performance-enhancing drugs.

The “top-down” structure now utilized in the Olympics is 180 degrees opposite of the regulatory structure in place to govern pari-mutuel horse racing in the United States, where nearly every state has a separate agency designated by law to pass rules and regulations for oversight of racing. The present U.S. structure has led to differences in rules governing medication use, drug penalties, claiming provisions and other oversight responsibilities, often causing confusion for participants who race in multiple states.

The Jockey Club responded to a pushback from horsemen’s groups over the proposed ban on the race-day use of Lasix by distributing a plan to phase out the use of the bleeder medication over a period of time rather than making an abrupt change.

Jockey Club officials also expressed their continued support for initiatives directed at prospective young generation fans as efforts are made to reach them through Facebook, Twitter and other technologies that are part of the latest advances in communication.

Fast furlongs…Lane’s End Texas stallion Too Much Bling has been represented by 2-year-old filly stakes winners each of the past two Saturdays with Significant Bling outgaming odds-on favorite Scammony in the $100,000 Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies on August 4 and Blazing Bling outrunning seven males on August 11 in the $50,000 Hoover at River Downs…The American Quarter Horse Association has joined the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association in endorsing The Jockey Club’s proposed Reformed Racing Medication Rules…The owners of Saratoga Raceway and Casino, formerly known as Saratoga Harness, have purchased an undisclosed share of Ellis Park, Kentucky’s summer site for Thoroughbred racing in Henderson…Three-time Louisiana Horse of the Year Star Guitar, winner of 24 of his 30 starts for earnings of more than $1.7 million including a record-setting run in his last race in the Evangeline Mile, has been retired to his birthplace at Val Murrell’s Clear Creek Stud in Folsom to stand at stud after suffering a recurrence of quarter crack problems…Xpressbet, Magna’s ADW company, has signed on as signature sponsor of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint…Sam Houston Race Park will announce plans for a new $400,000 race to head its 2013 Thoroughbred stakes schedule, but funding will come from sponsorship or other sources than the purse account…Retama Park’s 2012 Quarter Horse meet which has had a lengthy run since opening on Belmont Stakes weekend, will come to a close this Saturday night…Skip a Smile and Safe Range, two high-class older Texas-breds, will take on eight other entrants in Saturday’s $100,000 Edward Debartolo over 1 1/8 miles on Remington Park turf…John Adger, former TTA president and a current director, will join his partners in the 5-year-old Upperline when she goes postward in the $750,000 (G1) Beverly D against nine other top older fillies and mares in the traditional co-feature to the Arlington Million on the Million Day card this Saturday…ATB checks for the 2012 Lone Star Park Thoroughbred meet will be mailed from the TTA office on Monday, August 20, and should be in recipients hands in time for reinvestment in new stock one week later at the Fasig-Tipton Texas Summer Yearling Sale.