NEWS AND NOTES FOR OCTOBER 3, 2014
HRT LAWSUIT UPDATE
In a hearing Thursday in Travis County, District Court Judge Lora Livingston declined to issue a temporary restraining order as requested by charitable bingo interests and the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas in their suit against the Texas Racing Commission relative to Historical Racing Terminals.
A hearing to consider a request for a temporary injunction has been set for the week of November 10.
SUPPLEMENTAL ENTRIES AT TEXAS SALE
Tim Boyce, director of sales for Fasig-Tipton’s operations in the south-west, has recruited additional entries for the mixed sale on October 13 at Lone Star Park. The entries will make up a supplemental catalogue, available on the sales grounds.
“We have added a little of everything,” noted Tim, “yearlings and a weanling from Louisiana and Oklahoma, a broodmare and two racehorses coming off wins in their last starts.”
Supplemental entries include Networked, a two-year-old filly trained by Bret Calhoun, who won her September 10th start at Remington Park in a 5½ furlong maiden, and Foreinfinity, a three-year-old also trained by Calhoun, who won his most recent start, a mile allowance at Louisiana Downs on September 19. Pedigrees and past performances for all sales entries are available at www.fasigtipton.com.
AMERICAN RACEHORSE STALLION REGISTER DEADLINE
The deadline to be included in the 2015 American Racehorse Stallion Register is almost here! Don’t miss your chance to advertise your stallion or equine service to more than 6,000 horsemen in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Colorado and around the region. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Denis Blake at 512.695.4541.
CHURCHILL DOWNS INC. LOSES APPEAL OF TEXAS ADW CASE
Churchill Downs Inc.’s effort to get a Texas law declared unconstitutional and allow interstate account wagering has failed again.
A three-judge Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel released a unanimous ruling last week upholding a lower court decision that said the Texas law (requiring in-person wagering at Texas tracks) is constitutional. Churchill has hoped to open the Texas market to advance deposit wagering (ADWs) firms like the Louisville-based company’s TwinSpires.com.
CDI is expected to appeal.
TOP TEXAS-BRED FIFTYSHADESOFGOLD RETIRED FROM RACING
Fiftyshadesofgold, last year’s Texas Champion 2-Year-Old Filly and one of the nation’s top 3-year-old fillies this year, has been retired from racing.
The Texas-bred ran in the Grade 3 Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs on September 20 and came back sound after the race. However, her foreleg swelled up mid-week and an ultrasound revealed a significant tear in her left fore suspensory.
“She was certainly one of the best I’ve ever trained. She was the total package—a grand individual, was very fast and could carry it, a great mind and a big heart to go with it,” said trainer Bret Calhoun.
Bred by the late Clarence Scharbauer Jr., Fiftyshadesofgold was born and raised at his Valor Farm near Pilot Point, Texas. The filly is now owned and raced by Scharbauer’s son, Douglas.
“Of course I’m disappointed that her racing career is over, but more than that, I’m so glad that she is sound and can go on to the breeding shed,” said Scharbauer. “Given her talent and looks, I think she will make a great broodmare.”
The filly has earned $420,521 with a record of 9-4-1-1 and stakes victories in the Eight Belles Stakes (G3) and Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs and the Two Altazano division of the Texas Stallion Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park.
ADDED-GAMING FUNDS MORE THAN THIRD OF PURSES
There was recently a great article in Blood-Horse discussing the amount of purse money provided by additional forms of gaming.
According to a Thoroughbred Racing Associations study, money from added-gaming sources now accounts for more than one-third of the purse money awarded in U.S. Thoroughbred racing.
That telling statistic was revealed in research conducted by Jane Murray of the TRA at the second day of the International Simulcast Conference Sept. 30 in Delray Beach, Fla. The study showed that 35% of the $1.127 billion paid in 2013 purses was generated by added-gaming sources. Those sources would include slot machines, video lottery terminals, Instant Racing, poker, card rooms, and subsidies paid by off-track casinos.
Murray said a total of 16 states in 2013 added to purse money from sources besides pari-mutuel wagering. She said with more states expected to pick up added-gaming revenues for purses, she could see the percentages continue to increase.
Thoroughbred Racing Associations executive vice president Chris Scherf said the growing reliance on added money is a concern because many times it is controlled by state governments, which may claim portions of it from racing when budgets are tight.
Murray also noted that the revenue generated by added gaming in some states has been reduced because of added competition within the region. She presented a table of Ohio, the Mid-Atlantic states, and the Northeast states and noted that there are about 50 casinos currently operating in those states.
The money from added-gaming dedicated to purses has helped pick up the slack as pari-mutuel wagering on U.S. races was down 4.7% in 2013, compared with 2010. As the wagering form dedicated to the sport, Scherf said the industry has to make a commitment to pari-mutuel wagering.
“I think we need a great effort to move the pari-mutuel business forward,” Scherf said. “That said, we face great challenges in trying to do that at a time when the foal crop is going down and we’re facing short fields.”
HORSEMEN TAKE ISSUE WITH FAIR GROUNDS PURSE STRUCTURE
The Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has asked Fair Grounds to reconsider the way it plans to pay out purses during the 2014-15 race meet.
The Louisiana HBPA said the meet-opening overnight purse levels were calculated forecasting a 15% handle decline compared with the 2013-14 meet. The HBPA takes issue with that forecast, contending that improvements to the turf course and increased attention to customer service should produce, at worst, flat betting compared with last year.
The group also said that Fair Grounds didn’t consult with it before recently releasing its intended overnight purse levels.
Purses will be cut at the meet because Fair Grounds is escrowing purse money generated from gambling at video poker machines it operates. A Quarter Horse group filed a lawsuit demanding that Fair Grounds split video poker revenue dedicated to purses between Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses, something that hasn’t been done. The track believes the suit has no basis, but Fair Grounds will set aside money for a worst-case scenario.
The bulk of the purse cuts – which would be restored if the suit fails or is dropped – came from the stakes program, and the HBPA said overnight levels should fall about 8%, not the 15% set forth by Fair Grounds. Total purses paid during a racing season are set by formula, and the HBPA said it would that prefer purses stay at a consistent level instead of starting purses low and raising them later in the meet.
NOTES: Best of luck to Texas-bred W V Jetsetter, by Valor Farm stallion Jet Phone, who is entered in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500K Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland….Congrats to the connections of Texas-bred Molly’s Honour, who won Monday’s $55K Chaves County Stakes at Zia Park. Owned by Joey Keith Davis and bred by Bradford Thoroughbred Farm, the daughter of Etesaal has a record of 20-7-6-2 with earnings of $210,408…Through September 29, David Cabrera is the leading jockey at Retama Park, trainer Allen Milligan has a 1-win lead over Danny Pish, and there is a 4-way tie for leading owner… Equibase Company will now provide first-time gelding information to all tracks for inclusion in track programs nationwide…Plan to attend the LOPE Open House from 1 – 5pm tomorrow at LOPE at Foothills Farm, 5005 RR 3237 in Wimberley. For more information, see www.lopetx.org.