NEWS AND NOTES FOR FEBRUARY 21, 2014
SAM HOUSTON SPRINT CUP DRAWS SIX
On Saturday, the $50,000 Sam Houston Sprint Cup for four-year-olds and up going 6 furlongs has drawn a field of six, including favorite Heitai, a Louisiana-bred trained by Karl Broberg for owner Rowell Enterprises Inc. Broberg will also send out Texas-bred Triumph and Song, winner of the Spirit of Texas Stakes and the Bucharest Stakes. The gelded son of My Golden Song runs for owners H & H Ranch. Rounding out the field are Silver Lining John (KY), Accredited Texas-bred Solar Charge owned by Carolyn Barnett and David and Lana Alford, Holiday Weave (KY) and Flat Black (KY).
FT TX SALE CATALOGS AVAILABLE
Fasig-Tipton has catalogued 135 entries for its 2014 Texas Two-Year-Olds in Training & Horses of Racing Age Sale, to be held Tuesday, April 1 at Lone Star Park. The sale will begin at 12 pm with the Two-Year-Olds, followed by the Horses of Racing Age section. The Under Tack Show for the sale will be held on Sunday, March 30, and will begin at 11 am.
“The Texas Two-Year-Old Sale annually boasts the strongest sire power of any ‘in training’ sale in the Southwest, and we’ve got another strong catalogue this year,” said Fasig-Tipton Texas Director of Sales Tim Boyce. “This year’s catalogue features several blue-chip national sires such as Distorted Humor, Harlan’s Holiday, Midnight Lute, Congrats, Ghostzapper, Afleet Alex and Discreetly Mine, in addition to progeny by the leading sires from Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas.”
Supplemental entries for the Horses of Racing Age section will be taken until March 17, and should prove very popular with consignors once again. This new section with its flexible entry format was unveiled successfully last year with the selling of stakes winner Worldventurer for $150,000.
KENTUCKY SUPREME COURT RULES ON INSTANT RACING
As reported on kentucky.com, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has the legal authority to regulate wagers on previously run horse races presented on electronic gambling machines — but that the legality of the wagers themselves has yet to be established.
Instead, the Supreme Court found, the case must go back to Franklin Circuit Court, where it originated, to determine whether “the licensed operation of wagering on historical horse racing as contemplated by (the racetracks and the state) constitutes a pari-mutuel form of wagering.”
The court also reversed the Franklin Circuit Court’s previous finding that the Kentucky Department of Revenue can tax betting on instant racing, as the wagering is known.
“We adjudge that the department lacks the statutory authority to tax the money wagered on historical horse racing devices,” the court held.
The Family Foundation, a conservative advocacy group, had sued the state and the racetracks involved to block instant racing from taking effect after the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved the regulations in 2010. The Franklin Circuit Court ruled that the games legal, and wagering began in September 2011 at Kentucky Downs in Franklin.
The games later were added at Ellis Park in Henderson, but other racetracks have held off to see whether the Supreme Court would find them legal.
Through Jan. 31, more than $573 million has been wagered on instant racing machines, generating about $8.6 million in taxes.
It is unclear whether the state will have to refund that money or stop collecting taxes; the tracks, which have received more than $36 million, can continue operating the games.
Proponents of the instant racing hailed the ruling as a victory, although Thursday’s decision apparently means the legal debate continues.
Governor Steve Beshear said Thursday morning that he was pleased with the opinion, written by Justice Daniel J. Venters.
“I know there are some additional hearings now that will have to go on at the trial court level on specific games, but I am pleased overall that the Supreme Court has confirmed our belief that it was legal for the racing commission to take the actions that it did,” Beshear said.
The racing commission, through spokesman Dick Brown, released this statement:
“The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has believed from the beginning, and the Kentucky Supreme Court has now found, the commission has the legal authority to promulgate regulations for the operation of historical horse racing in Kentucky. This is an important victory for the commonwealth and the future of the horse industry in Kentucky.”
Attorney Bill Lear, who represents Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Turfway Park in Florence and Players Bluegrass Downs in Paducah, also called it “a very strong opinion in favor of the racing commission and the tracks.”
“The court fully recognized the authority of the racing commission to promulgate the regulations,” Lear said. “The only issue is the very narrow one of whether specific games comply with the regs. … What’s gone back to Franklin Circuit is a very narrow opinion. … I’m confident that measured against the now-approved definition of pari-mutuel wagering, they will be found pari-mutuel.”
NOTES: See this link for a terrific story of horse racing in the northeastern US in the late 1800’s: http://www.drf.com/news/outlaw-tracks-gave-rise-winter-racing …Many thanks to all who attended “TTA Night at the Races” last Saturday at SHRP, and to our prize sponsors Southern Race Horse and EquineSavings, as well as our host, Sam Houston Race Park…Overnight purses at Fair Grounds have been reduced 10% for the rest of the current race meet, due to “overall softness in the pari-mutuel industry” through the first 57 days of the 2013-14 meet which ends March 30…Del Mar plans to switch from Polytrack back to a dirt main track in 2015…Equine Sales Company has announced that their 2014 Consignor Select Yearling Sale will be held on Wednesday, September 3, at its sales facility in Opelousas, Louisiana…Congrats to Fiftyshadesofgold who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 93 for her comeback win in last Saturday night’s Texas Stallion Stakes at Sam Houston and is now being pointed to the Fair Grounds Oaks, and hopefully onward to the Kentucky Oaks…There will be a TRC Medication Working Group meeting at Sam Houston Race Park on Thursday, February 27th… Best of luck to everyone racing this weekend!