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News and Notes for November 20, 2015

Four Accredited Texas-breds will compete in some very nice stakes on Saturday at Delta Downs, including three by Too Much Bling.

First, Bronce-Plamat Stables and MTZ Racing will team up with trainer Jr. Martinez in two stakes. Best Bling (Too Much Bling – Best Expectations) will take on a field of 5 in the $75,000 Orleans Stakes.  The 3-year-old filly was bred by Jackie and Gerald Rich, and has been given odds of 12-1.

Bred by Thomas Castoldi, the 6-1 colt Nublado Bling (Too Much Bling – General Reunion) is part of a 6-horse field for the $75,000 Sams Town Stakes.

The field for the $250,000 Delta Mile Stakes includes two Texas-breds geldings, both at 20-1 odds.  Trainer J. R. Caldwell will send out stakes winner Ring Necked (Too Much Bling – Wood Duck), for Penn Family Racing.  Bred by W. S. Farish and Hugh Fitzsimons Jr., Ring Necked has a career record of 24-6-3-4 and earnings of $113,225.

The 2015 Texas Champion 3-year-old Colt/Gelding F J Uncle Vic (Uncle Abbie – Let Her Reign),  bred by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Prifiterra, is trained by Terry Eoff, who owns him in partnership with Johnny Evans.  He boasts $173,590 in earnings and a career record of 29-3-7-2.

ATB Awards checks for the recently concluded Thoroughbred meet at Retama Park were mailed this week, so be checking your mailbox!

Awards percentages for placing 1, 2 or 3 in any race in this meet are as follows:

Breeder Awards = 6.099% of purse money earned
Owner Awards = 6.179% of purse money earned
Stallion Owner Awards = 3.505% of purse money earned

Owner Bonus Award for placing 1, 2, or 3 in any open company race in this meet = 7.684% of purse money earned.

Sam Houston Race Park will open its 22nd Annual Live Racing Season with the kick off of the 2016 Thoroughbred meet on Friday, January 15 featuring the richest stakes program in Texas. The Thoroughbred meet will once again be anchored by the Houston Racing Festival – the richest, single Thoroughbred race day in Texas – on Saturday, January 30, 2016.  The Houston Racing Festival will feature the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic, the $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup (GIII), the Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint, and the Space City Stakes. Read more »


News and Notes for November 13, 2015

Thanks to the generosity of stallion owners across the region, you have the opportunity to purchase a 2016 breeding season while at the same time helping the TTA’s Political Action Committee, General Fund, Texas Thoroughbred Educational Fund or Paddock Foundation.

Internet bidding for the auction is now open with a closing deadline of 5pm Central on December 18, 2015. Contact Mary Ruyle in the TTA office at 512.458.6133 for details, or to donate a season.

To see the list of available stallion seasons and to place your bid, go to:…/online-stallion-auction/

Consignment contracts for the April 4, 2016 Texas Two-Year-Old in Training Sale at Lone Star Park have mailed, with an entry deadline of January 15th.

After the departure of Fasig-Tipton, the TTA Board of Directors stepped up to conduct the sale in order to provide members with a Texas venue to buy and sell horses. Tim Boyce will manage the sale for the TTA.

For more information, contact Tim Boyce at 972.523.0332 or Mary Ruyle at 512.458.6133.

The Texas Racing Commission is facing a precarious future, with state lawmakers now requiring that it get written permission to continue operating. It’s currently working under a 90-day extension.

Such uncertainty is a problem for horse breeders and trainers, who have to plan more than a year out from their next race.

Don’t miss this new video from Texas Tribune and be sure to share with all your contacts:

Triple Crown and Grand Slam Champion American Pharoah is among 12 sports stars to be nominated for the 2015 Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year Award. Since the award’s inception in 1954, no thoroughbred has ever won the honor. The editors of Sports Illustrated will make the choice of the award winner, but they will take into consideration the voice of the fans.

If you would like to cast a vote for American Pharoah, go to:

Last month, the U.S. Department of Interior and the National Indian Gaming Commission ruled that the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas can operate games on its reservation in East Texas near Livingston, just as the Tigua Indians can on the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo reservation near El Paso. A legal challenge from Texas state officials could always delay or derail the plan, but if the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has its way, they’ll be opening a casino early next year.

While the Alabama-Coushatta and Tigua tribes have been fighting with the state to allow gaming, the Kickapoo tribe since 1996 has operated the Lucky Eagle Casino in Eagle Pass, which features more than 3,300 machines as well as a private poker room and a high-limit gaming area.

Read more here:

NOTES: The move this week by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman against daily fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel may have its vocal detractors, but the state’s racetrack owners with attached casino operations have come out in full support of the action taken by the state’s top lawyer… Oaklawn Park has received applications for more than 2,800 stalls – nearly twice the number of horses the barn area can accommodate. Overall, the track is projecting average daily purses of $475,000.



Online Auction of 2016 Stallion Breedings Now Open

Thanks to the generosity of stallion owners across the region, you have the opportunity to purchase a 2016 breeding season while at the same time helping the TTA’s Political Action Committee, General Fund, Texas Thoroughbred Educational Fund or Paddock Foundation. If you would like to donate a stallion season for this auction, please contact Mary Ruyle at (512) 458-6133 or download the stallion season donation form.

Internet bidding for the auction is now open with a closing deadline of 5pm Central on December 18, 2015.  Contact Mary Ruyle in the TTA office at 512.458.6133 for details.

Click here to see the list of available stallion seasons and to place your bid.


LBB Grants 90 Days of Funding to Texas Racing Commission

News Release

For immediate release Contact: Melissa Duncan
November 6, 2015 512-463-0112


AUSTIN, TX: The Legislative Budget Board (LBB) today authorized an additional 90 days of budget authority to the Texas Racing Commission (TRC), allowing the agency to continue its operations through February 2016. The decision came after new commissioners were appointed to the TRC.

‘This is a good first step toward getting back on track, so we are giving the agency the time it needs to chart a new course,” said State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound. “Hopefully, with new commissioners we can start seeing this agency adhere to the Constitution, operate within the law and recognize that the Legislature — not the Racing Commission — makes the law in Texas.” The TRC stirred controversy last year by authorizing Las Vegas-style machines known as “instant” or “historical” racing at Texas racetracks over the objections of the Senate Republican Caucus. The decision violated Article 3 Section 47 of the Texas Constitution, which prohibits gambling in Texas except for activities expressly approved by the Legislature and the voters. The 261st District Court in Travis County struck the rule down, stating that the TRC exceeded its authority. The TRC did not join the appeal. However, in August the Board voted 4-3-1 against repealing the rule from the books.

This session the Senate voted 30-1 to zero out all funding for the TRC in its version of HB 1, the appropriations bill. During the process to work out differences between the House and Senate budgets, conferees agreed to appropriate $15.4 million to the agency but to make the Commission’s administrative funds subject to LBB approval.

These funds total $1.5 million over the biennium; 9.7 percent of the agency’s overall budget. LBB has yet to approve the release of any administrative funds, but today’s decision allows the agency to use its other funding to support the administrative functions needed to keep the agency’s doors open.

SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the highest-ranking Republican in the Texas Senate.


Melissa Duncan
Communications Director
State Senator Jane Nelson
Texas Capitol 1E.5
512-463-0112 Office
512-762-5501 Mobile and Text
512-463-0923 Fax


Governor Abbott Appoints Three to Texas Racing Commisson

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Margaret Martin and Rolando Pablos, and has reappointed Gary Aber, to the Texas Racing Commission for terms set to expire on February 1, 2021. The Commission oversees pari-mutuel wagering on horse and greyhound racing.

Margaret Martin of Boerne is an independent international business woman who specializes in bringing companies and individuals together in business development and energy. She was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in 2007 and served there until 2015.  She is a member of the World Affairs Councils of San Antonio and Austin, San Antonio FBISACAA and Infragard. Martin received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Laredo State University, now Texas A&M International University, and she is Certified in International Protocol.

Rolando Pablos of El Paso is CEO of the Borderplex Alliance. Previously, he served on the Public Utility Commission, Nueces River Authority Board of Directors, and as chair of the Texas Racing Commission. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, University Houston Conrad Hilton College Dean’s Advisory Board, Bridge of Southern New Mexico Board of Directors and the Border Trade Alliance Board of Directors. Additionally, he is former chairman of the Free Trade Alliance and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Pablos received a Bachelor of Arts from St. Mary’s University, Master of Business Administration from The University of Texas at San Antonio, Master of Hospitality Management from the University of Houston and a Juris Doctor from St. Mary’s University School of Law.

Gary Aber of Simonton is a veterinarian and owner of Simonton Veterinary Clinic, as well as a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. He was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Texas Racing Commission in 2012. Dr. Aber received a Bachelor of Science from Texas Tech and a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University.


News and Notes for November 6, 2015

Accredited Texas-breds account for three horses in today’s 7-horse field for the $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes going 7 furlongs at Remington Park.

Bret Calhoun will saddle Victoria Ashford’s homebred Bravura (Early Flyer – Coryphee) as the 2/1 favorite.  The 2-year-old colt most recently placed second in the $75,000 My Dandy Division of the Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Texas Stallion Stakes at Retama Park on September 12th.

Trainer Shea Stuart will send out two colts for owner Danny Keene: 20/1 Valid Decision (Valid Expectations – My Girl Bess), bred by Fletcher Properties, Inc. and at 3/1, multiple stakes winner Texas Chrome (Grasshopper – Margarita Mistress), bred by Craig Upham.  With a career record of 5-4-0-1 and $179,562 in earnings, Texas Chrome’s wins include the Governor’s Cup Stakes at Zia Park on October 12th, the Gold Rush Futurity at Arapahoe Park on August 16th and the TTA Sales Futurity at Lone Star Park on July 11th.

Good luck to our Texas-breds!

Sam Houston Race Park has received far fewer applications from horse owners seeking to participate in upcoming races than in years past.

Just 1,270 applications were submitted by this week’s deadline for the thoroughbred live racing season that begins in January, according to the track — 35.8 percent fewer than the 1,979 that came in last year.

Houston industry officials say the drop is almost certainty due to the political situation and uncertainty surrounding continued funding for the Texas Racing Commission, which could prevent the races from taking place altogether.

The following figures were obtained from The Jockey Club State Fact Books for 2014:

State                            Total TB Purses          Race Days      Average Purse Per Day

TEXAS                        $15,022,080                115                  $130,627
LOUISIANA                $75,686,139                336                  $225,256
OKLAHOMA               $22,639,584                130                  $174,151
NEW MEXICO           $30,238,509                270                  $111,994

Ballots for the TTA Board of Directors election were mailed out on Monday, November 2 to all current TTA members, with an election deadline of December 15.

Five at-large candidates will be elected as well as a regional director for the South and Northeast regions of Texas.

The 10 candidates seeking an at-large position are John Adger (incumbent), Bethe Deal, Sonny Ellen, Terry Eoff, Phil Leckinger (incumbent), Rick Penn (incumbent), Rory Rieger, Tracy Sheffield, Sherie Smith and David Stephens DVM (incumbent).

Vying for South Region director are Jerry Moore and G. W. Oliver.

J. M. Harris and Judy Peek are running for director to represent the Northeast Region.

As reported in, the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) Drug Testing Laboratory received interim accreditation from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) board at the group’s October meeting. The laboratory is only the seventh such to achieve this status.

The laboratory annually performs more than 3,500 tests for livestock and 7,400 tests for canine and equine racing animals. Since 1989, when the Texas Racing Act gave TVMDL the responsibility for providing drug testing services to the pari-mutuel horse and greyhound racing industries, the drug testing laboratory has provided reliable screening for illegal and regulated therapeutic drugs in performance animals. Chemists work with veterinarians, offering diagnostic testing that helps ensure animal and public health.

“In order to achieve RMTC accreditation, we submitted to a rigorous application process, had a site inspection and completed the first round of an external quality assurance test,” said Travis Mays, MS, analytical chemistry section head, the section that oversees the drug testing and toxicology labs at TVMDL. “We are confident that the lab will confidently pass further inspections to fulfill the requirements for full RMTC accreditation.”

The laboratory continues to make strides in improve upon the expert testing already provided to clients. In 2014, the lab received ISO 17025 accreditation from the American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) Competition Animal Drug Testing Laboratory Accreditation Program. Receiving this interim accreditation from RMTC is reflective of the superior level of service and attentiveness provided to clients by the drug testing laboratory.

Gulfstream Park, which will play host to the $1.1 million Claiming Crown for the fourth consecutive year, reminds horsemen the nomination deadline is Sunday, Nov. 8.

The 17th running of the Claiming Crown will be held on Opening Day of Gulfstream’s Championship Meet Saturday, Dec. 5. The eight-race program last year handled more than $10 million. This year’s Claiming Crown has added a ninth race – a 5-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares with a purse of $110,000. The feature event will again be the $200,000 Jewel, won last year by the 17-1 longshot Catholic Cowboy.

Supplemental nominations will be made at time of entry on Wednesday, Dec. 2.

Nomination forms can be found at For more information, email or

NOTES: Nomination forms for the 2016 Texas Thoroughbred Futurity (formerly the TTA Sales Futurity), the Texas Stallion Stakes Series for foals of 2014, the Texas Stallion Stakes Series for foals of 2015, and Texas Stallion Stakes nomination forms for stallions standing in Texas for the 2016 breeding season were mailed this week to all TTA members.  All have a December 31, 2015 deadline. Forms are also available on the TTA website at… Applications for scholarships through the Texas Thoroughbred Educational Fund are now available, with a deadline of February 15, 2016. Almost $280,000 in educational grants has been awarded since the fund’s inception in 2005.  See for more information and call Mary Ruyle at 512.458.6133 to request an application.



News and Notes for October 30 2015


Please take a look at this excellent video providing a short explanation of the battle Texas Racing is in with the State Government, and share it with all your contacts:

Then, please contact the office of Lt. Governor Dan Patrick to respectfully ask for full funding of the Texas Racing Commission.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick 512-463-1001

Also, ask your own Senator and Representative to contact the LBB to express their support for full funding of the TRC on behalf of the horsemen in their district. To find who represents you, go to: Read more »


Action Alert – Calls Needed Today!!

With the  deadline for funding of the Texas Racing Commission looming, we need to make a concerted effort for FULL funding.  Short-term funding does nothing positive for the Texas Thoroughbred industry, especially with the SHRP and LSP spring meets coming up, breeding season and the Texas 2YO sale.

As a Texas horseman, we need you to call Rep. John Otto (who is Speaker Straus’ designee on the Legislative Budget Board) on this issue and ask him to stand strong for full funding. He can be reached at 512.463.0570. Email is

Also, please call each the following members of the House Appropriations Committee, and urge them to contact Rep. Otto regarding full TRC funding:

Cecil Bell      512.463.0650

Sarah Davis      512.463.0389

Larry Gonzales      512.463.0670

Donna Howard      512.463.0631

John Raney      512.463.5109

Sylvester Turner      512.463.0554

Please make these calls today!


TTA Letter to Governor Regarding Full Funding of the TRC; Response Letter from Governor’s Office

On October 7, 2015, TTA Executive Director sent a letter to the office of Governor Greg Abbott, providing information on the organization and the horse industry and asking for his support of full funding for the Texas Racing Commission.  The full text of the letter may be seen here.

The response, dated October 26, 2015 from Dede Keith, Deputy Director, Constituent Communication Division, may be seen here.


News and Notes for October 23, 2015

A pair of undefeated Accredited Texas-bred 2-year-old fillies will compete as part of a 9-horse field in tonight’s $50,000 E. L. Gaylord Memorial Stakes at Remington Park.  Dan McGough’s homebred My Master Plan (Oratory – One O Seven) has been named the 9/5 morning line favorite.  Trained by Donnie Von Hemel, the filly is coming off a strong win in an allowance optional claimer on October 9 at Remington.

Danele Durham will saddle Too Much Prada (Too Much Bling – Kimbell’s Prada), a homebred for Hall’s Family Trust, who won the $75,000 Darby’s Daughter division of the Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Texas Stallion Stakes at Retama Park in September.

Janet Marden’s homebred gelding Tiz Cherry Wine (Tiz the One – Miss Cherry) takes on a tough field of 8 going a mile in the $200,000 Jean Lafitte Stakes at Delta Downs on Saturday. With a career record of 3-2-0, he has been given odds of 15/1.

Retama Park has named their leaders for the recently concluded Thoroughbred meet, and we offer our congratulations to leading jockey David Cabrera, who had 44 wins for the meet, trainer Danny Pish, who tallied up 30 wins and owners Jose Luis Espinoza and George A. Bryant, who tied with 9 trips each to the Winners Circle.

Come out to the Lone Star Park Bar & Book at 10:30 on Saturday, October 24 for the annual Breeders’ Cup Preview Party. Ticket personality Norm Hitzges, award-winning turf writer Gary West, track handicapper Rick Lee and track announcer John Lies will analyze the 2015 Breeders’ Cup. Plus, the first 200 in attendance will receive a free Daily Racing Form: Breeders’ Cup Advance Edition.

Based on Reports of Mares Bred (RMB) received through October 13th, The Jockey Club reports that 1,449 stallions covered 34,627 mares in North America during 2015.

Based upon historical reporting trends, The Jockey Club estimates an additional 2,000 to 3,000 mares will be reported as bred during the 2015 breeding season.

The number of stallions declined 6.3% from the 1,547 reported at this time in 2014, and the number of mares bred increased 0.3% from the 34,540 reported at this time last year.

Kentucky traditionally leads North America in Thoroughbred breeding activity. During 2015, Kentucky’s 208 reported stallions covered 17,448 mares, or 50.4% of all of the mares reported bred in North America. The number of mares bred to Kentucky stallions increased 3.7% percent compared with the 16,826 reported at this time last year. Read more »