Skip to content

Recent Articles


Help Save Horse Racing in Texas!

#1 – Attend the February 9 meeting of the Texas Racing Commission where the repeal of Historical Racing rules will be voted on and sign a card in opposition to the repeal.

#2 – Support the Texas Horsemen’s Partnership Legal Fund.

The THP is a non-profit organization which represents all owners and trainers who race in Texas.  THP has filed a lawsuit asking for a temporary injunction to prohibit the State Comptroller from withholding funding from the TxRc. We believe that we have no other choice than legal action to protect the Texas horse racing industry and the livlihoods of thousands of Texas horsemen and business owners who depend on the continuation of our industry.

A lawsuit of this nature is extremely expensive and THP is asking for horsemen and other industry participants to donate to the THP legal fund so that we can follow this litigation through to completion. Every donation matters and and we implore you to make a contribution today to support our effort to assure that racing in Texas not only continues, but that we are allowed the opportunity to prosper. You may send a check to: Texas Horsemen’s Partnership at P.O. Box 142533 Austin, TX 78714 (checks should be made payable to the THP and ‘legal fund’ should be included in the memo line). Or you may contribute by phone – call (512) 467-9799 to ask for a donation to be made from your Horsemen’s Bookkeeper account. You may also use the GoFundMe Page at


Articles of Interest:

Texas Horsemen “Frustrated and Betrayed

Sam Houston Race Park Opens Doors to Uncertainty

Greyhounds are Gone

Without Funding, TRC Will Stop Live Racing Feb. 16

TRC Does Not Repeal Historical Racing Rules

Analysis: Texas Gambling and Al Capone



News and Notes for February 5, 2016

More Than Most (Indygo Mountain – Better Than Most) takes on a full field in this afternoon’s $50,000 Joseph E. “Spanky” Broussard Overnight Stakes at the Fair Grounds.  Bret Calhoun will saddle the 3-year-old filly for owner Douglas Scharbauer.  Given 8/1 odds, she has a career record of 7-2-1-2 with $81,678 in earnings.

Dan and Joyce McGough’s homebred My Master Plan (Oratory – One O Seven) is unbeaten in four career starts, including the $100,000 Trapeze Stakes on December 13 at Remington Park in her previous outing. Donnie Von Hemel will send her out in Saturday’s $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes going one mile at Oaklawn Park, seeking to add to her $130,767 bankroll.

Go Texas-breds!

A February 3 hearing in a suit that the Texas Horsemen’s Partnership has brought against the Texas comptroller concerning funding of the Texas Racing Commission was postponed.

The original date was bumped off the calendar after the Texas attorney general’s office filed a motion to push back the hearing until after the February 9 meeting of the Texas Racing Commission, according to David Cabrales, an attorney representing the horsemen’s group. Cabrales said a motion for reconsideration has been filed.

THP is asking for horsemen and other industry participants to donate to the THP legal fund so that we can follow this litigation through to completion. Every donation matters and we implore you to make a contribution today to support our effort to assure that racing in Texas not only continues, but that we are allowed the opportunity to prosper. You may send a check to: Texas Horsemen’s Partnership at P.O. Box 142533 Austin, TX 78714 (checks should be made payable to the THP and ‘legal fund’ should be included in the memo line). Or you may contribute by phone – call (512) 467-9799 to ask for a donation to be made from your Horsemen’s Bookkeeper account. You may also use the GoFundMe Page at

The Texas Racing Commission will meet at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, February 9th, with a short agenda containing two items critical to the Texas horse racing industry.

Item III.B.5 is the “Report on the Executive Director’s Plan to Close the Agency in the Event that Additional Appropriations are Not Approved”.  In January, TRC Executive Director Chuck Trout sent a memo to racetrack and other industry representatives, stating that “In order to hold as few purses as possible in limbo after closure, I have determined that, absent further appropriations authority, all racing must end no later than midnight on February 16, 2016.”  Along with others, the TTA office sent a letter to Mr. Trout protesting the February 16 shutdown. The racing commission’s administrative costs are being covered through a temporary plan that runs through February 29th.

The Commission will also consider the repeal of rules regulating Historical Racing.  Well over 1,000 letters were received during the public comment period, with only 1 in support of the repeal.

It is imperative that as many horsemen as possible attend this meeting and sign cards in opposition to both the February 16 shutdown of racing and the repeal of rules regulating Historical Racing.

The meeting will be held in the John H. Reagan Building, located at 105 W. 15th Street, Austin, TX 78701, with parking available in the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage.

February 15th is the deadline for receipt of Texas Thoroughbred Educational Fund Scholarship applications.

The Texas Thoroughbred Educational Fund helps place young Texans on the road to success by providing grants and awards to benefit Texas Thoroughbred Association members and their children and further their educational opportunities.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Current personal or parental membership in the Texas Thoroughbred Association, with beginning membership date at least one year prior to application deadline for educational grant.
  • Applicant must have been a full-time Texas resident for at least one year prior to application deadline for education grant.
  • All current high school seniors or GED graduate equivalents,  and high school graduates or GED graduate equivalents currently enrolled (or planning to enroll) in a post-high school collegiate or other training program.
  • There is no age limit for applicants.
  • To be used for education at any accredited Junior College, 4-year University, Post-graduate Degree Program, or other accredited or state-recognized industry/training program.

For more information, go to or contact Mary Ruyle at 512.458.6133.

Catalogs will soon be in production for the April 4 Texas Thoroughbred 2-Year-Old In Training Sale at Lone Star Park.  If stall space is available, consignments may still be accepted.  For information, contact Tim Boyce at 972.523.0332.

Also, for the first time, we are offering advertising in the sale catalog, if you are interested in securing an ad, please contact Denis Blake at 512.695.4541 as soon as possible.

Due to the serious nature of a recent outbreak of the neurologic strain of Equine Herpesvirus (EHV-1) at racetracks in the southwest United States, Retama Park looks to protect the health of its entire equine population, and is implementing the policy outlined below to prevent the spread of the potentially fatal virus to its barn area.

  1. Until further notice, no horses will be admitted on the grounds of Retama Park if they are coming from a county with a facility or racetrack that is under quarantine for the EHV-1 Equine Herpesvirus.
  2. No trailer, van, or transport vehicle will be allowed to enter the barn area at Retama Park unless the shipper signs an affidavit that he/she has provided the following information for every horse on their trailer regardless if the horse is to remain at the racetrack. The following documentation must be provided for every horse (including pony horses) at the stable gate before they will be permitted to enter the grounds at Retama Park:
  • A current health certificate, issued within 72 hours prior to arrival at the track, containing a statement by the issuing veterinarian that he/she has physically examined each horse within 72 hours of issuing the health certificate, and
  • the horse does not exhibit any clinical signs of the virus;
  • the temperature of the horse was normal at the time of the examination;
  • the veterinarian verified with the owner/trainer that the horse has not been
    exposed to a suspected EHV-1 positive horse;
  • the veterinarian verified with the owner/trainer that the horse has not been stabled
    in an EHV-1 quarantined county or adjacent county within the past 21 days.

Any individual that is found to be responsible for a horse entering the grounds of Retama Park that does not conform to these conditions will be ejected from the grounds and will not be allowed to participate in any Retama Park race meet.

All trainers and horse haulers are urged to take extreme caution when transporting horses to properly disinfect and sanitize their trailers if there is any chance they may have transported an exposed horse.

For questions and more information, please contact James Leatherman, Retama Park’s Racing Secretary, at 210.651.7043.

TTA’s Paddock Foundation will once again conduct its Roses to Ribbons Old Fashioned Horse Fair on Saturday, February 20 at Sam Houston Race Park.  This event is designed to promote Thoroughbred horses moving to new careers after racing. There will be horses available for sale and the opportunity for interested parties to meet with racehorse owners and trainers about the type of horse they are seeking. Vendors and racehorse rehoming organizations will be on hand, with concessions available.

If you are interested in attending, would like to have a vendor booth, have a Thoroughbred that needs a new home, or simply have questions, please visit or

The $300 sustaining payment for the Texas Thoroughbred Futurity is due by February 15th.  Since that is a holiday, a postmark date of February 16 will be accepted. Call Jennifer Gibbs at 512.458.6133 for information.


TTA PAC Endorses Dr. Lynn Stucky for HD 64

Contact Mary Ruyle at (512) 458-6133 or

Texas Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association PAC Endorses Dr. Lynn Stucky for HD 64

Austin, Texas – February 2, 2016 – The Texas Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Political Action Committee has endorsed Lynn Stucky, DVM, in the March 1 primary race for Texas State Representative in District 64. Stucky, a Republican, is seeking to serve the district that is located in Denton County in North Texas.

Dr. Stucky, who has 32 years of experience as a veterinarian, is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and Texas Veterinary Medical Association. His veterinary practice provides services for a wide variety of animals, including horses, and he is a longtime volunteer at rodeo events.

“We encourage all horsemen to make their voices be heard through the voting process,” said TTA Executive Director Mary Ruyle. “It is especially important to support candidates who recognize the importance of the horse racing and breeding industry in Texas, such as Dr. Stucky.”

More information on this candidate can be found at

The Texas Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association PAC is non-partisan. The endorsement process is intended to draw attention to horsemen’s issues in an election year, increase voter turnout and build a stronger relationship between local horsemen and their elected officials.

Early voting in Texas begins February 16, with Election Day on March 1. 





Congrats to Weekly ATB Winners!

Congrats to the following Accredited Texas-bred horses and to their connections for their wins over the past week:

All Up In Lights (Tiz Wonderful – Fifteenth East); Beta Baby (Beta Capo – Happiest Memories); C C’s Song (My Golden Song – Candy’s Cleopatra); Como Se Llama (City Street – No Other Name); Early Ride (Early Flyer – Miss My Ride); Flyer’s Fantasy (Early Flyer – Martys Expectation); Heza Menace (Curandero – Brief); Home Time (Seeking a Home – Counting A.); Itsahappyday (Chief Three Sox – Sarahshappytoo); $100k King Cotton Stakes winner Ivanfallunovalot (Valid Expectations – Flashdance MIssy); Jolie Mon (Too Much Bling – Julie Mon); Lady of Rohan (Brego – Rice ‘n Spice); My Fancy Romance (Byars – My Fancy Affair); Our Eye Candy (Supreme Cat – Candy Freak); Queen’s Bling (Too Much Bling – Penny Lake); Sing It Up (Sing Baby Sing – Undeclared); Special Tree (Special Rate – Fake Plastic Tree); Stitcher (Supreme Cat – Expect Flowers); and Valid Decision (Valid Expectations).

Go Texas-breds!


News and Notes for January 29, 2016

Four stakes are on tap for Saturday’s Houston Racing Festival at Sam Houston Race Park, highlighted by the Grade 3, $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic and the Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Turf Cup and including the $75,000 Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint and the $50,000 Space City Stakes.

The first running of the Houston Ladies Classic in 2013 was formed to serve as the marquee race for the Sam Houston Thoroughbred racing season. The mile and one-sixteenth stakes was awarded its graded status by the American Graded Stakes Committee in December, and remains the richest Thoroughbred race in Texas.

The complete field, in post-position order is: 3-1 Unbridled Forever; 15-1 Rose To Glory; 4-1 Cassatt; 8-1 Diva’s Diamond; 9-2 Theogony; 5-1 Cali Star; and 10-1 Welcome Aboard. Diva’s Diamond is a 7-year-old multiple-stakes winner owned by Jerry Namy and trained by Karl Broberg. She has bankrolled $739,608 in her career, winning 11 races and ran in the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland. Broberg tabbed veteran rider Patrick Valenzuela to pilot the Illinois-bred daughter of Crafty Shaw. Valenzuela rode A M Milky Way to victory for Broberg in the $50,000 Spirit of Texas Stakes.      Read more »


Vote in the Texas Primaries

The following information is presented by the Texas Thoroughbred Breeders Association Political Action Committee (PAC)  as a matter of information regarding upcoming March 1 Primary Elections for the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate.  With information gathered through Internet sources, the following lists of candidates with accompanying notes are offered for your information and consideration.  The Texas Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association PAC has not endorsed any particular candidates at this time.

You are strongly encouraged to conduct your own research on candidates seeking election in your district.  If you don’t know who represents you and in which district you reside, go to:

Click to view 2016 Texas House Primaries and 2016 Texas Senate Primaries.

Click to view information on Empower Texans, Young Conservatives of Texas, Texas Farm Bureau AGFUND.

In many ways, the primaries are much more important than the general election, as the primaries actually determine who will be in the fall elections.  Early voting starts February 16th.  Please do your research and exercise your right to vote!


TTA Member John Roark Passes Away at Age 76

Texas Racing Loses Former THP Chairman and National HBPA President John O. Roark(Austin, Texas – Monday, January 25, 2016) – On Saturday, January 23, 2016, the Texas racing industry lost a longtime supporter and leader, former Texas Horsemen’s Partnership Chairman and National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) President John O. Roark. Roark, 76, passed surrounded by his family following a brief hospital stay.

Roark was a native of Bug Tussle, Texas, where he grew up on a “cotton-pickin” farm. He earned an undergraduate degree from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas in 1962, graduated from South Texas College of Law four years later, and began his law career in 1967 in Houston working for Morgan and Dudensing, specializing in labor law. He became regional counsel for the National Maritime Union for the Texas Gulf Coast in 1971, a position he held while with at the firm of Musslewhite and Roark.

In 1974, John, his wife Kaki, and their three children moved to Temple, Texas, where he maintained a law practice until the time of his death. Roark was a trial lawyer and was first board certified in personal injury trial law 1985. He was also certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in civil trial law. He was a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and was been elected to Who’s Who in American Law. Roark had also served as a municipal court judge for the City of Nolanville, Texas since 2007.

John became involved in Thoroughbred horse racing in the early 1980s, when he owned part of a training center behind Louisiana Downs. John campaigned horses all over the Midwest and South for over three decades. He became involved with Chaplain Les Riggs at Louisiana Downs and helped Chaplain Riggs to form Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) meetings. He also became involved in the Louisiana HBPA and its legal problems with the racetracks in Louisiana in 1987.

Roark began racing horses in Texas in 1994. At the same time, he became involved with other Texas horsemen and was one of the founding members that formed the Texas Thoroughbred HBPA (TTHBPA). Roark was president of that organization on more than one occasion. While under John’s leadership, the TTHBPA was involved in negotiations with the Texas tracks and other industry organizations that resulted in comprehensive contracts and purse agreements raising the benefits for owners and trainers. He was also instrumental in the movement to consolidate all Texas purse accounts at one financial institution and centralize the horsemen’s accounts at the tracks, thus increasing the convenience and benefits to all horsemen. He was also a strong leader in improving the assistance programs which benefit horsemen.

John served as chairman of the Texas Horsemen’s Partnership, which serves all horse breeds racing in Texas. Additionally, he served for five years as president and chairman of the board of directors of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) from 2001 through 2006. In addition, he served on the board of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), where he served as co-chairman of NTRA Charities. Roark’s leadership helped horsemen solve various disputes across the country.

John was a certified lay-speaker in the United Methodist Church and served on the administrative board of his local church in Temple. He was a member of the executive board of the United Way of Bell County, Texas and served in several other fundraising capacities through his affiliation with the National HBPA and with the Backside Benevolence Fund. He also helped with the organization of the Jockey Challenge at Lone Star Park, which raised money for the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund. Additonally, Roark served for a period as general counsel to the Racetrack Chaplaincy of America.

The highlight of Roark’s racehorse ownership came in the fall of 1988, when a savvy campaigner he owned in partnership, Ile de Jinsky, triumphed in the River City Handicap (Gr. III) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. According to Roark, “He won that race on a bowed tendon. He was a real honest horse. That’s the only graded stakes race I’ve won, too.”

Roark once said of his longtime love of the horse racing industry, “You know, people don’t get into this business to make money. I don’t know how to describe it, actually, but horse racing has the power to draw. To me, the best people in the world are in the horse business. We all seem to have something in common, even if I can’t exactly say what it is.”

John is survived by his wife, Kaki, and their three children, son Wayne Roark; son Allen Roark and his wife, Sarah Yarbrough Roark; and daughter Sharon Roark Walters and her husband, Lee Walters; as well as grandchildren Hannah, Christian, Max, John, and Jameson.

A funeral service will be held at First United Methodist Church, 102 North 2nd Street, Temple, Texas 76501, at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 30, 2016. The service will be followed by a reception in the Family Life Center that will include a slide show and an opportunity for people to share stories about John. There will not be visitation prior to the funeral service.


Congrats to Weekly ATB Winners!

Congrats to the following Accredited Texas-bred horses and to their connections for their wins over the past week:

Spirit of Texas Stakes winner A M Milky Way (Elusive Bluff – Actress E); Belle Supreme (Supreme Cat – City Tone); Groovy Stakes winner Bravura (Early Flyer -Coryphee); Cosmo Cassis (Grasshopper – Dehere’s Dream); Desert Jones (Seneca Jones – Graytfulness); Yellow Rose Stakes winner Everything Bling (Too Much Bling – Anythingmore); Star of Texas Stakes winner F J Uncle Vic (Uncle Abbie – Let Her Reign); Flying Clever (My Golden Song – Flying Native); Gottherightonebaby (Sing Baby Sing – Foxy Jill); Richard King Stakes winner I Am Jane Dough (My Golden Song – Strawberry Smile); Julie’s Memory (Etesaal – Memory Call); Made Me Talk (Sing Baby Sing – Dixie Duet); Monnie Mae (Snow Ridge – Lone Wolf’s Rose); My Nephew Andrew (Gaff – Suzy True); Pepper Play (Intimidator – Pepper Rossi); Plaska (Intimidator – Wild Mist); Prediction (Valid Expectations – Red Cell); Sardaearly (Early Flyer – Sardis Lake); San Jacinto Stakes winner Seneca Destiny (Seneca Jones – Dixie’s Destiny); Seneca Spirit (Seneca Jones – Hannah’s Royalrock); The Cinco Kid (Special Rate – Teenie Tally); and Bara Lass Stakes winner Too Much Prada (Too Much Bling – Kimbell’s Prada).

Go Texas-breds!


News and Notes for January 22, 2016


Sam Houston Race Park will salute Accredited Texas-breds tonight and Saturday night when they host Texas Champions Weekend. Seven stakes will be contested, with fillies and mares in action tonight at 7:00 pm and colts and geldings taking center stage Saturday night at 6:00 pm.

Judy Peek’s homebred Lasting Bubbles (Pulling Punches – Slim’s Secret) is the 2/1 favorite in the field of six fillies and mares in the six furlong $50,000 Yellow Rose Stakes.

Lasting Bubbles won the Yellow Rose in front-running fashion two years ago and ran second in last year’s stakes. Trained by Kevin Peek, the 8-year-old mare is still in very sharp form, with two stakes victories at Lone Star Park and a runner-up finish in the $100,000 Zia Distaff on November 25. She will be ridden again this year by Lindey Wade, and is the high earner in the field with $466,788 in 35 lifetime starts. Read more »


Texas Horsemen Await Meeting with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick

Contact Mary Ruyle at (512) 458-6133 or

Texas Horsemen Await Meeting with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick
Austin, Texas – January 19, 2016 - Despite repeated attempts by Texas horsemen and the Texas Thoroughbred Association to meet with Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick to discuss the future of the horse industry in the state, no such meeting has taken place.

On November 4, 2015, Mr. Patrick wrote a letter to the state’s horsemen and racetracks asking for “recommendations on how we can help preserve and grow your industry.”

In response, the Texas Thoroughbred Association, in letters dated November 16 and December 3, formally requested a meeting through Mr. Patrick’s office. Numerous emails were then exchanged to follow up. To date, all attempts to arrange a meeting have been rebuffed. When told that Mr. Patrick did not have any availability in Austin due to his travel schedule, the TTA also offered to meet at any location outside of Austin that would fit in with his schedule.

“The thousands of people who make their living in the horse racing and breeding industry are worried about their livelihoods and whether they will be forced to relocate to another state,” said TTA Executive Director Mary Ruyle. “They also feel frustrated and betrayed that despite the Lieutenant Governor’s public statements, there is an apparent lack of desire on his part to sit down to discuss the issues facing the industry and find possible solutions.”

The situation for horsemen is especially dire as breeding season is approaching and Sam Houston Race Park is in the midst of its race meet with a possible shutdown of the Texas racing industry in February if funding is not approved for the Texas Racing Commission.

“This is not a political question; it is about the livelihood of Texans,” stated Ruyle. “We ask Mr. Patrick to keep his public promise. We want to assure Texas horsemen that we are diligently pursuing a meeting with Mr. Patrick to take place as soon as possible and will be available at any time and place that works for him.”




Denis Blake
Texas Thoroughbred Association
4009 Banister Lane, Suite 230
Austin, TX 78704
phone – 512.695.4541
fax – 512.870.9324