News and Notes for April 7, 2017

The Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale held Tuesday on the grounds of Lone Star Park posted numbers that dwarfed those of the first juvenile auction held last year by the Texas Thoroughbred Association, which took over as the sale’s operator from Fasig-Tipton. With 70 of 93 head sold, this year’s auction recorded gross receipts of $1,873,900, a jump of 91% from last year when 53 of 66 sold for $981,300. The average soared to $26,770, up 44.6% from last year’s $18,515 while the median jumped 33.3% to $16,000 from $12,000. Buybacks this year were 24.7% compared to 19.7% last year.

“There were a lot of questions about the viability of the Texas sale when Fasig-Tipton decided to leave,” said Texas Thoroughbred Association Executive Director Mary Ruyle, “but the results of this auction clearly show that the market is very strong here. We are extremely gratified with the results and are looking forward to our summer yearling sale on August 21.”

Last year’s sale topper was a Texas-bred daughter of Too Much Bling eventually named Bling on the Music who sold for $95,000 and has since won two stakes, placed in a Grade 2 and banked $153,082. This year, three horses topped the $100,000 mark and a total of eight brought $70,000 or more. 

The sale-topper was hip 49, a Kentucky-bred colt by Tale of the Cat consigned by Benchmark Training Center, agent, who brought a bid of $120,000 from Carrol Castille. Named Dicken’s Tale, the February foal worked an eighth-mile in :10.2 in the under tack show, which was delayed from Sunday to Monday due to weather.

“The top end of the market was extremely strong today thanks to some high-quality stock brought in by our consignors,” said Sales Director Tim Boyce. “And I’m also encouraged by the middle and lower end. We had a very good median for this sale and the sales pavilion has not been filled with so many buyers in quite a while. After having last year’s sale under our belt, I think consignors and buyers had the confidence to fully support the sale this year and now going forward.”

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Last month, we reported that five bills were filed with the Texas Legislature that could benefit the Texas racing industry. We are excited to report that Senate bills 1971, 1972, and 1973 have been referred to the Senate Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs Committee for consideration.

SB #1971 (Co-authored by Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R)) – Would create a purse matching fund from the state’s general revenue fund that is expected to increase purses by $25 million. Committee substitute language is expected to clarify specifics.

SB #1972 – Would shift Accredited Texas-Bred funds from the Texas Racing Commission’s budget and establish an escrow account for the money.

SB #1973 – Would utilize existing state tax revenue on simulcast wagers that currently goes to the Texas general revenue fund to help pay the costs of operating the Texas Racing Commission. Presently, all of the costs of operating the Commission are borne by the racing industry through track and occupational license fees.

Now is the time for you to write each of the members of the committee asking for their support of the bills, and sample text is below: 

Dear Senator,

I respectfully ask for your support of Senate Bills 1971 (by Kolkhorst and Buckingham), 1972 (by Kolkhorst), and 1973 (by Kolkhorst) that have been referred to the Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs   Committee.

I believe the proposed legislation will greatly benefit the Texas horse industry.  It is exciting and gratifying to see leadership providing meaningful economic support for the Texas horse industry. We genuinely appreciate this opportunity to educate members about the struggles the Texas horse industry faces and the need for solutions that will facilitate positive change. 

Please let us know how we can be of assistance to you as these bills advance through the legislative process. 

With Appreciation,

Following is contact information for the members of the Senate Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs Committee:

Chairman Charles Perry:

Vice Chair Jose Rodriguez:

Senator Brandon Creighton:

Senator Bob Hall:

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa:

Senator Lois Kokhorst:

Senator Borris Miles:

Letters can also be mailed to each Senator’s attention at the following address:

Texas Senate
PO Box 12068
Austin, TX 78711

It is important for each of the members of the Senate Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs Committee to hear from as many horsemen and women as possible that we appreciate their consideration and are asking for their support of Senate Bills 1971, 1972, and 1973. Please take just a few minutes to write and send your letters today.

We will continue to keep you informed about the progress of the bills. We appreciate your participation us as we try to secure a better future for the Texas racing industry.

At the TTA Board of Directors meeting at Lone Star Park on April 3, Teo Mallet of Hempstead was appointed to fill the remaining term of Hal Wiggins, who resigned from the board last month when he and his wife moved back to Kentucky.

A TTA Lifetime Member, Wiggins was first elected to the board in 2012 and served as President from 2015-2016.  He was also instrumental in the advancement of Thoroughbred aftercare in Texas, serving as President of The Paddock Foundation, a non-profit association affiliated with TTA.  Wiggins personally worked the barn area at each of the Class 1 tracks, visiting trainers to make them aware of the Foundation’s Roses to Ribbons events, which showcase horses near the end of the racing careers to prospective buyers seeking horses for other disciplines. He discussed his involvement with The Paddock Foundation in the March 18 edition of BloodHorse.

We thank Hal and Renee for their service to Texas, and wish them all the best.

The Board of Directors welcomes new director Teofilo “Teo” Mallet, who will represent the East Region of Texas.  Teo has been a TTA member for 15 years and is the manager and a partner in Century Acres Farm outside of Houston. The 100-acre property located in Hempstead offers boarding, sales prep, layups and foaling. He has about 10 horses of his own at the farm, and participates at the Texas sales as well as at Keeneland.

NOTES: The Texas Racing Commission will meet at 10:30am on Tuesday, April 11 in Austin…April 15 is the postmark deadline for the $350 sustaining payment to the Texas Thoroughbred Sales Futurity…ATB awards for the recently concluded Thoroughbred meet at Sam Houston Race Park should mail the week of April 17…Lone Star Park begins live racing on April 20.