Skip to content

Recent Articles


News and Notes for October 17, 2014

The 2014 Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame Gala will be held Saturday in the Showplace Pavilion at Retama Park.  Inductees include Art Preston, Joe McDermott, Cecil Perkins, Jerry Rheudasil and Leo Wood.  For tickets and details, contact Ryan Grammer at 210-651-7045.

Saturday’s race card is highlighted by the $50,000 Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at a mile and one-sixteenth on the turf for Accredited Texas-bred 3-year-olds and up, and the $50,000 Fiesta Mile on the turf for Accredited Texas-bred fillies and mares, 3 and up. Read more »


$1.7 Million Stakes Schedule for SHRP

shrplogoSam Houston Race Park will kick off its 22nd live racing season Friday, January 16. The 2015 schedule has been approved by the Texas Racing Commission and begins with the 32-day Thoroughbred meet.

The 2015 Thoroughbred stakes schedule will offer nearly $1.7 million in purses and starts with Texas Champions Weekend, featuring the best Texas-breds competing over two days in seven divisions. Opening night will feature fillies and mares in three stakes ($50,000 San Jacinto Turf Stakes, $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes and $50,000 Bara Lass Stakes). Saturday will feature the boys in four stakes races ($50,000 Star of Texas Stakes, $50,000 Richard King Turf Stakes, $50,000 Spirit of Texas Stakes and the $50,000 Groovy Stakes).

Sam Houston Race Park President Andréa Young confirmed that the Houston Racing Festival will return Saturday, January 24. The richest day in Texas Thoroughbred racing will feature four stakes, including the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic, the Grade 3, $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup, the $75,000 Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint and the $50,000 Allen’s Landing Stakes.

Proceeds from the Houston Racing Festival will once again benefit the Houston affiliate of the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Stakes races will continue every weekend during the meet with the Tomball Stakes January 31 and the Bucharest Stakes February 7. The Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Texas Stallions Stakes Series on February 14 will feature the $75,000 Two Altazano division for fillies and the $75,000 Jim’s Orbit division for colts and geldings, plus and the $50,000 Jersey Village Turf Stakes. February 21 will feature the Sam Houston Sprint Cup.

The Maxxam Gold Cup Racing Festival will take place February 28 and feature the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup, the $50,000 Jersey Lilly Turf Stakes and the $50,000 Texas Heritage Stakes.

“Our goal for 2014 was to continue to improve the quality of our live racing,” said President Andrea Young. “We feel we accomplished this with several of our 2014 stakes winners continuing on to showcase their talent on the national racing scene throughout the year. We look forward to raising the bar even higher in 2015.”

The 2014 Two Altazano champion Fiftyshadesofgold was very impressive after leaving Sam Houston Race Park. The Texas-bred ran second to the amazing Untapable in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks and then won the Grade 3 Eight Belles at Churchill Downs. Admiral Kitten, who captured the Grade 3 Connally Turf Cup in January, went on to run in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve at Churchill Downs and placed in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap. Frac Daddy, who ran second to Red Rifle in the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup in March went on to claim the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland and the Grade 2 Eclipse Stakes.

Jockey Rosie Napravnik, currently ranked seventh in earnings in North America, won four stakes races in 2014 at Sam Houston Race Park, including a track record setting performance aboard Sum of the Parts in the Champion Energy Services Stakes.

New for this year, the $0.50 Late Pick 4 will be guaranteed at $20,000 every Saturday night (races 7-10) during the Thoroughbred meet. The Houston High Five minimum wager has been lowered to only $0.20. This will allow players to bet more combinations with a five horse box costing just $24.00. Quinella wagers have been removed to help streamline the menu.

“Our simulcast audience is very important to us, and we are initiating the changes to our wagering format based on their excellent feedback,” said Young.

Friday and Saturday post times for the 2015 Thoroughbred Meet will be 7 pm and 6 pm, respectively. Day-time racing at Sam Houston will continue every Monday and Tuesday afternoon with a 1 pm post time.


Wimbledon to Key Ranch for 2015

Wimbledon (Photo by Horsephotos/NTRA)

Leading Texas stallion Wimbledon has been sold to Texan Jack Cook and will stand the 2015 breeding season at Joe Kerby’s Key Ranch near Salado, just north of Austin. Formerly the top freshman and second-crop sire in the Lone Star State, Wimbledon will stand for a fee of $2,000. Wimbledon formerly stood at Valor Farm near Pilot Point.

Wimbledon is a son of multiple Grade 1 winner Wild Rush who hit the board in seven of 11 career starts, including a victory in the Louisiana Derby (G2) that made him a favorite for the Kentucky Derby (G1) before he was retired due to a minor injury.

Wimbledon has nine stakes horses to his credit, and his leading earner is multiple Texas champion Worldventurer. Named Texas Champion 2-Year Colt/Gelding in 2012 and the Texas Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding in 2013, Worldventurer has banked $266,975. In Texas, he won the TTA Sales Futurity at Lone Star Park and the Groovy Stakes and a division of the Texas Stallion Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park before capturing the Emerald Downs Derby in Washington. He also finished third in the $300,000 Remington Springboard Mile, just a half-length behind eventual Travers Stakes (G1) winner and Eclipse Champion Will Take Charge. Worldventurer sold for $150,000 early in his 3-year-old year at Fasig-Tipton Texas.

Wimbledon is also the sire of three-time stakes winner Daphne Angela ($233,644) and stakes winner Chicks a Flyin ($208,782).

For more information, contact Key Ranch at (254) 527-3679.


Former TRC Commissioner, Successful Businessman Comer Cottrell Passes Away

Comer Cottrell, a former commissioner for the Texas Racing Commission who was famous for the Curly Kit hair care products, has passed away at the age of 82. Cottrell was also a noted philanthropist. His brother Jim Cottrell is a former TTA director who raced the top Texas-bred Jim’s Orbit.

“Comer Cottrell was a true pioneer in the business community and the shining example of Texas’ entrepreneurial spirit,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told the Dallas Morning News. “Through his unmatched philanthropic efforts and inspiring mentorship, Comer Cottrell truly made Texas — and the nation — a better place to call home.”

Click here to read more about him from the Dallas Morning News.


All-time Leading Texas Stallion Valid Expectations Sires Grade 1 Producer

Valid Expectations - Photo by Ackerley Images

Valid Expectations – Photo by Ackerley Images

Although all-time leading Texas sire Valid Expectations has been retired from stud duty, the stallion is still having an impact on the breed and over the weekend was the broodmare sire of Grade 1 winner Don’t Tell Sophia. The 6-year-old mare, who was bred by Robert and Janice’s McNair’s Texas-owned Stonerside Stable, came from last to first to upset Sunday’s $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland. The victory earned her an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Santa Anita on October 31. Her earnings now stand at more than $979,000.

Don’t Tell Sophia, by Congaree, is co-owned by trainer Philips Sims and Texas Thoroughbred Association member Jerry Namy. Her dam is the Grade 2-placed Lost Expectations, who was from the first crop of Valid Expectations when he stood in Florida. Valid Expectations, who stood at Lane’s End Texas for most of his career, has sired the earners of more than $30 million. He is the sire of Grade 1 winner Saratoga County, putting him in an elite club of stallions who has sired a Grade 1 winner and a Grade 1 producer.


Texas Horsemen Retain Attorney in Matters Related to Historical Racing

ttalogoA coalition of Texas horse owners, breeders and trainers has retained the services of Austin attorney Robert Hargrove to represent horsemen in legal matters pertaining to historical racing machines in the state. The coalition includes the Texas Thoroughbred Association (TTA), Texas Quarter Horse Association (TQHA) and Texas Horsemen’s Partnership (THP), which represents owners and trainers of all racing horse breeds in the state.

The Texas Racing Commission (TRC) on August 29 passed rules for historical racing, which is a form of pari-mutuel wagering that allows players to wager on previously run races. To date, multiple legal attempts to block historical racing have been dismissed.

On October 2, a Travis County District Court Judge declined to issue a temporary restraining order requested by charitable bingo interests and the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas in their suit against the TRC relative to historical racing terminals. A hearing to consider a request from those parties for a temporary injunction has been set for the week of November 10.

In September, a State District Judge decided not to issue an injunction requested by State Representative Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) seeking to prevent the TRC from implementing rules for historical racing.

“Retaining legal representation will ensure that the interests of Texas horsemen are protected,” said Val Clark, executive director of the TQHA. “Historical racing will allow Texas tracks and horsemen to compete on a more level playing field with those in other states, and it will benefit not only the equine industry but also many related agricultural sectors, from feed stores to hay producers to veterinarians and more.”

Historical racing debuted at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas in 2000 and is currently offered in several other states, including Kentucky, Idaho and Wyoming.

For more information, visit, or


News and Notes for October 3, 2014


In a hearing Thursday in Travis County, District Court Judge Lora Livingston declined to issue a temporary restraining order as requested by charitable bingo interests and the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas in their suit against the Texas Racing Commission relative to Historical Racing Terminals.

A hearing to consider a request for a temporary injunction has been set for the week of November 10.

Tim Boyce, director of sales for Fasig-Tipton’s operations in the south-west, has recruited additional entries for the mixed sale on October 13 at Lone Star Park.  The entries will make up a supplemental catalogue, available on the sales grounds.

“We have added a little of everything,” noted Tim, “yearlings and a weanling from Louisiana and Oklahoma, a broodmare and two racehorses coming off wins in their last starts.”

Supplemental entries include Networked, a two-year-old filly trained by Bret Calhoun, who won her September 10th start at Remington Park in a 5½ furlong maiden, and Foreinfinity, a three-year-old also trained by Calhoun, who won his most recent start, a mile allowance at Louisiana Downs on September 19.  Pedigrees and past performances for all sales entries are available at

The deadline to be included in the 2015 American Racehorse Stallion Register is almost here! Don’t miss your chance to advertise your stallion or equine service to more than 6,000 horsemen in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Colorado and around the region. Email or call Denis Blake at 512.695.4541.

Churchill Downs Inc.’s effort to get a Texas law declared unconstitutional and allow interstate account wagering has failed again.

A three-judge Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel released a unanimous ruling last week upholding a lower court decision that said the Texas law (requiring in-person wagering at Texas tracks) is constitutional. Churchill has hoped to open the Texas market to advance deposit wagering (ADWs) firms like the Louisville-based company’s

CDI is expected to appeal.

Fiftyshadesofgold, last year’s Texas Champion 2-Year-Old Filly and one of the nation’s top 3-year-old fillies this year, has been retired from racing.

The Texas-bred ran in the Grade 3 Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs on September 20 and came back sound after the race. However, her foreleg swelled up mid-week and an ultrasound revealed a significant tear in her left fore suspensory.

“She was certainly one of the best I’ve ever trained. She was the total package—a grand individual, was very fast and could carry it, a great mind and a big heart to go with it,” said trainer Bret Calhoun. Read more »


Fiftyshadesofgold Retired



Fiftyshadesofgold, last year’s Texas Champion 2-Year-Old Filly and one of the nation’s top 3-year-old fillies this year, has been retired from racing.

The Texas-bred ran in the Grade 3 Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs on September 20 and came back sound after the race. However, her foreleg swelled up mid-week and an ultrasound revealed a significant tear in her left fore suspensory.

“She was certainly one of the best I’ve ever trained. She was the total package—a grand individual, was very fast and could carry it, a great mind and a big heart to go with it,” said trainer Bret Calhoun. “I regret that she didn’t get the Grade 2 stakes win when she had the rough trip last summer in the Adirondack at Saratoga and didn’t get the Grade 1 win in the Test when she drew the tough inside post and was beaten a length and two noses.”

Bred by the late Clarence Scharbauer Jr., Fiftyshadesofgold was born and raised at his Valor Farm near Pilot Point, Texas. The filly is now owned and raced by Scharbauer’s son, Douglas.

“Of course I’m disappointed that her racing career is over, but more than that, I’m so glad that she is sound and can go on to the breeding shed,” said Scharbauer. “Given her talent and looks, I think she will make a great broodmare.”

Fiftyshadesofgold is a daughter of Valor Farm stallion My Golden Song out of Hadif Cat, a mare by former Valor stallion Hadif. Fiftyshadesofgold earned $420,531 with a record of 9-4-1-1 and stakes victories in the Eight Belles Stakes (G3) and Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs and the Two Altazano division of the Texas Stallion Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park.


News and Notes for September 26, 2014


The Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas has intervened as a plaintiff in the lawsuit filed by charitable bingo interests against the Texas Racing Commission. Plaintiffs are seeking a declaratory judgment along with a temporary restraining order, as well as temporary and permanent injunctions against the implementation and operation of Historical Racing Terminals.

The Tribe operates a Class 11 bingo-based facility in Maverick County. Their petition alleges that many of their gaming patrons will be diverted to Texas racetracks with Historical Racing Terminals, thereby negatively impacting Tribal revenues.

A hearing is currently scheduled for 9 am on October 2 in the Travis County 261st Court.

On October 30th, three deserving individuals will be recognized by Race Track Chaplaincy of America at the 12th Annual White Horse Awards Luncheon. One of the awards, the Tribute to Excellence, is a posthumous award presented to an individual who in their lifetime, exhibited outstanding initiative, inspiration, benevolence, and/or leadership which produced significant results directly benefiting those working in the horse racing industry.

This year’s Tribute to Excellence Award is being bestowed upon the late Jeff Coady and will be presented to his wife Nelda Coady of Luling, Texas. Jeff spent most of his life as a photographer on racetracks across the country. Jeff and his wife supported the ministry at Oaklawn Park tirelessly. Chaplain Rich Heffington from Oaklawn summed it up with this statement, “It was truly Jeff’s heart to help those in the horse racing industry any way he could.”

Tonight’s program at Retama Park serves as a prelude to the Fiesta Mile and Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame Stakes, to be run Oct. 8 with each race offering a $50,000 purse.

The sixth race brings out fillies and mares to compete at one mile on the turf course as 5/2 favorite Swifterthantaylor sports the colors of the John Silverthorne Ranch.

Trained by Danny Pish, Swifterthantaylor finished fourth in this year’s Two Altazano Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park. The 3-year-old filly by My Golden Song tokes on older fillies and mares but brings good credentials into the Friday contest.

Jockey Gerardo Mora pilots Swifterthantaylor after the pair recently cruised to a $25,000 claiming victory at Lone Star Park. A possible spoiler in the race could be 12/1 Mescelares for trainer Jerimiah West. Though she’s been fairly quiet lately, the 7-year-old daughter of Marquetry has the backclass to surface with a big run.

Mescelares finished third in this year’s Tomball Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park in a race that she led most of the way. Read more »


News and Notes for September 19, 2014


A second lawsuit has been filed to try to stop the Texas Racing Commission from moving ahead with approval of Historical Racing at Texas racetracks.

About two dozen organizations that run bingo halls across Texas filed suit in Travis County on Tuesday, arguing that a rule adopted by the commission violates the Texas Constitution, the Texas Racing Act, and the Administrative Procedures Act. The rule approved nearly unanimously by the commission, with only one member voting “no,” is set to take effect this month.

State Representative. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) sued in August to prevent the Texas Racing Commission from implementing rules for Historical Racing Terminals. Yesterday, State District Judge David Evans decided not to issue the injunction Krause requested. In his letter opinion, the judge said Krause did not have standing to bring the suit as a legislator.

For the full story, see

As the 2/1 morning line favorite, three-time stakes winner Fiftyshadesofgold will look to keep her Churchill Downs win record intact when she tops the field of 10 fillies entered in Saturday’s $100,000 Dogwood Stakes (gr. III).

The Dogwood, for 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs, is the ninth race on the card, with an approximate post time of 4:55 p.m. (EDT).

Trained by Bret Calhoun for Douglas Scharbauer, the Texas-bred daughter of My Golden Song has won both her starts under the Twin Spires, including a half-length triumph over Dogwood entrant Milam in the Eight Belles Stakes (gr. III) on the May 2 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) card. She also took the Debutante at Churchill last year.

Fiftyshadesofgold is coming off consecutive fourth-place finishes in the Test Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga and the Acorn (gr. I) at Belmont   In both races, she set the pace before succumbing late, with Sweet Reason victorious in both.

In preparation for Saturday’s race, Fiftyshadesofgold breezed a half-mile in :47 2/5 on September 13th, the fastest time for 57 workers at the distance.

Moro Tap, a graded stakes-placed son of North America’s leading sire Tapit, has been retired to stud and will stand the 2015 breeding season at Double Infinity Ranch in Texas. His stud fee will be $2,500 live foal, and Double Infinity Ranch will be offering a limited number of shares in Moro Tap through its “Breed to Infinity” program. Please visit or call 903-885-7280 for more information.

Fred Hutton, currently the Director of Racing at Zia Park, will seek to make his mark in Texas when the Sam Houston Race Park stables open December 4th. In his new position at SHRP, Hutton will also coordinate stall applications that are due on November 3rd. A longtime racing official and former jockey and trainer, Hutton has previously served in Racing Secretary roles at Zia Park, Prairie Meadows and Remington Park.

“I’m excited to grow my role at Penn National Gaming by joining a track of Sam Houston Race Park’s caliber as its Racing Secretary. The clear leader of Texas racing, I have been impressed by the quality program they have developed over the past several seasons and will aim to build upon it going forward” said Hutton.

In 2015, Oaklawn Park will become the first in America to offer a 10% bonus to the winner’s share of the purse for all horses that run and win without Lasix.  The total potential bonus supplement of $1.4 million will be provided by Oaklawn itself and will not come out of the purse fund.

Note: Arapahoe Park in Colorado began offering bonuses to trainers who run their horses without Lasix in June.

According to statistics compiled through September 9th, The Jockey Club has reported that 2,230 stallions (down 6.8%) covered 36,656 mares (down 3.3%) in North America during 2013, resulting in 21,697 live foals (down 1.4%) of 2014 being reported.

The Jockey Club estimates that the number of live foals reported so far is approximately 90% complete. Ultimately, the 2014 registered foal crop is projected to reach 22,000.

NOTES: A ballot measure to allow Instant Racing in Nebraska may have died in court this year, but supporters are already looking ahead to press the issue in 2016…The New Jersey Racing Commission on Wednesday adopted a set of medication rules that has been endorsed by most major racing organizations, including a new penalty schedule applying to repeat offenders…Last week it was announced that CDI is seeking to sell Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots for a reported $125 million. This week, citing pending litigation from Louisiana Quarter Horse owners, Fair Grounds announced that it will withhold $2.7 million in purse supplements at the upcoming meet… Since September 10th, the Texas Animal Health Commission has received confirmation of three new cases of Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) in horses. One premises is located 3 miles north of Bastrop in Bastrop County, one is located 5 miles east of Bastrop in Bastrop County, and the other is located 10 miles northeast of Giddings in Lee County… Saturday is Customer Appreciation Day at Lone Star Park and one lucky customer will win a trip for two to the 2014 Breeders’ Cup World Championships…Congratulations to Jerry Durant, whose 2-year-old colt Lucky Player won the Iriquois Stakes(gr. III) at Churchill Downs, giving him an automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.  The colt is trained by Steve Asmussen.