News and Notes for August 4, 2017

Keene Thoroughbreds’ Texas Chrome, Thoroughbred racing’s newest millionaire, drew the rail post for Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile, $200,000 Downs at Albuquerque Handicap at Albuquerque Downs.

Texas Chrome pushed his earnings to $1,020,762 when he scored a 1 1/4-length victory in the 1-mile, $50,000 Assault Stakes for Texas-breds at Lone Star Park near Dallas on July 22.

Here is a closer look at the three Accredited Texas-breds in this race:

Post #1. Texas Chrome (Grasshopper – Margarita Mistress) Odds: 5/2  Breeder: Craig Upham; Owner: Keene Thoroughbreds LLC; Trainer: Allen Milligan; Jockey: Lindey Wade. Texas Chrome made his first start for trainer Allen Milligan in the June 17, $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs. Prior to his win in the Assault Stakes, the colt ran second, two lengths behind winner Iron Fist, in the 1 1/8-mile, $300,000 Cornhusker Handicap (G3) at Prairie Meadows on July 8. Texas Chrome will be making his first start in New Mexico since October 12, 2015, when he scored a four-length victory in the 6-furlong, $55,000 Governor’s Cup Stakes for 2-year-olds at Zia Park in Hobbs. The colt has won nine of 20 starts, and his eight stakes victories include last year’s $400,000 Super Derby (G3) at Louisiana Downs and $400,000 Oklahoma Derby (G3) at Remington Park.

Post #2. Ol Winedrinker Who (Sligo Bay (IRE) – Silverup) Odds: 20/1 Breeders: Sam E. Stevens and Sammy L. Stevens; Owner Gallegos Del Norte Racing; Trainer Jose R. Gonzalez Jr.; Jockey: Enrique Gomez. This 8-year-old gelding will be making his first start for Dr. Miguel Gallegos’ Gallegos Del Norte Racing of Albuquerque and his trainer, an Albuquerque native and alumnus of the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program. An earner of $785,852 from 49 starts, Ol Winedrinker Who was claimed by his current connections for $15,000 at Albuquerque Downs on July 22. The Texas-bred gelding will be seeking his first stakes victory since February 28, 2016, when he won the 1 1/16-mile, $78,600 Curribot Handicap at Sunland Park.

Post #9. Overland Park (Snow Ridge – Bonnie’s Slam) Odds: 12/1  Breeder: Joe K. Davis; Owner: Donna Erwin; Trainer: Nancy Summers; Jockey: Duane Sterling. This 5-year-old Texas-bred gelding by the Tabasco Cat stallion Snow Ridge finished fourth in last year’s Downs at Albuquerque Handicap after being on or near the lead most of the way. Overland Park has won two of his six races for owner Donna Eaton this season, including the 1 1/8-mile, $50,000 San Juan County Commissioners Handicap at SunRay Park in Farmington on June 19. Trainer Nancy Summers and jockey Duane Sterling combined to win the $50,000 Sierra Starlet Handicap (R) for New Mexico-bred 3-year-old fillies during Ruidoso Downs’ Zia Festival. 

Fast Talkin Man (Oratory – Dancingwithfortune) is in a field of 8 for Saturday’s $60,000 Super Derby Prelude Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Louisiana Downs on Saturday. Danny Pish will saddle the multiple stakes placed 3-year-old homebred gelding for Born to Run LLC, Marietta Burks and Carl and Betty Davis. Coming off a 5th place finish in the $50,000 Assault Stakes at Lone Star on July 22, he has odds of 6/1.

Also on Saturday, 50/1 longshot Bright Blue (Midnight Lute – Lady Gallapiat) will compete in a field of 9 in the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack. Bred by Virginia Jago Elder and Stoneview Farm Inc., the 5-year-old gelding now races for Team Work Racing Corp.  He sold for $200,000 as a yearling in the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Sale.

Century Acres Farm’s homebred Soul Affair (Grasshopper – Mimi’s Affair) is on the also eligible list for the $50,000 Opelousas Stakes for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up going a mile on the turf at Louisiana Downs.  The 4-year-old is trained by T. R. Hurley.

Lone Star Park concluded its 20th anniversary Thoroughbred season July 30 with an 11.7% increase in live handle, the largest year-over-year increase since the track opened in 1997.

The total amount wagered on the live product, both on- and off-track, was $46.5 million versus $41.6 million last year. Daily averages were $929,835 compared to $832,433 a year ago.

Total on-track simulcast wagering was $27.4 million compared to $25.6 million wagered in 2016, an increase of 6.9%.

An all-sources total of $73.9 million was wagered during the meet, a five-year best, compared with the all-sources total of $67.3 million wagered in 2016. The all-sources handle increased 10.5%. 

Attendance during the 2017 Thoroughbred season, which was conducted over 50 dates between April 20 and July 30, totaled 337,584, a decline of 6.9% compared to 362,434 during the 50-date 2016 season. Average daily attendance was 6,752 compared to 7,249 a year ago. The 2017 Lone Star Music Series was reduced from six shows in 2016 to three this season. The three concerts drew a total of 31,517 fans for an average of 10,506 per show. The six concerts in 2016 were attended by a total of 80,806 fans for a per concert average of 13,468.

A total of 3,542 starters competed in 450 races. Average field size was 7.87, compared to the 2016 North American average (U.S. and Canada) of 7.59, according to The Jockey Club. Lone Star Park’s average daily purses were up 2.27% to $151,157 compared with $147,801 from last season.

Jockey Richard Eramia won his first Lone Star riding title. He finished the meeting with a total of 68 wins from 319 starts for an earnings total of $1,023,083. Iram Vargas Diego was just three wins shy of Eramia, with a total of 65 winners from 314 starts. Diego racked up earnings totaling $949,424. Finishing third was Sasha Risenhoover with 47 victories from 237 starts and earnings of $620,424. Risenhoover set a new record for most wins by a female jockey during a single season at Lone Star. The previous record of 33 was set in 2001 by Deirdra Panas.

Already Lone Star’s all-time leading trainer, Steve Asmussen raised the bar again with a record 12th track title (1999-02, both spring and fall meets in 2004, 2005-09). Asmussen sent a total of 302 starters to post and won 79 races, for an earnings total of $1,072,886. Finishing second in the trainer standings was Karl Broberg, who has three previous top trainer titles (2014-16). Broberg’s stable entered a total of 248 starters, of which 54 were winners, and earned a total of $690,216. Two-time leading trainer, Bret Calhoun (2010-11) finished third with 42 wins.

Asmussen also earned his second owner title at the Grand Prairie racetrack, where he scored 31 wins. Keene Thoroughbreds was second with 27 wins for the season.

NOTES: Congrats to TTA member Brad Grady on Girvin’s win in the Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1).  Grady will be one of the speakers at the August 20 Horse Sale Seminar in the Sales Pavilion at Lone Star Park…Best of luck to Steve Asmussen, as he sends out 4/5 favorite Gun Runner in the Grade 1, $1.2 million Whitney Stakes…Nice story in the Paulick Report about Ransom the Moon’s first Grade 1 win in Saturday’s Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar. Congrats to former TTA Director Mark Martinez of San Antonio who is the majority owner…The next meeting of the Texas Racing Commission is slated for Tuesday, August 8 at the Reagan Building in Austin.  This is a very important meeting in that matters relating to TRC funding and proposed across-the-board fee increases are on the agenda.