Dear TTA Members:
There were a lot of stories, rumors and misinformation yesterday, concerning the situation with the funding of the Texas Racing Commission. The only facts which can be verified are:
At 12:01 last night, the TxRc had not received its funding and was effectively shut down.
An official letter was sent from the TxRc to all of the Texas tracks, rescinding permission to send or receive simulcast signals and to conduct live racing.
Retama Park has issued the following statement:
At midnight last night, the Texas Racing Commission ceased all operations due to funding issues. As a result, the agency rescinded legal authorization for Retama Park Race Track to host import, simulcast wagering, live racing and the export of live signals. In the absence of mandated operational oversight, all Retama Park racing and simulcast operations are closed until further notice. All other scheduled events, the Bracken Café and our training facility are open for business as usual. We are hopeful a solution will be found soon to appropriately fund the Racing Commission and to protect the Texas racing industry and the hard-working individuals it employs.
Sam Houston Race Park issued the following statement:
Earlier this evening, Sam Houston Race Park received notice from the Texas Racing Commission that it was ceasing operations. The letter from the Commission went on to rescind Sam Houston Race Park’s ability to import simulcast wagering, live racing and exporting of live signals at midnight, August 31, 2015.
“After an entire summer with the cloud of a shutdown hanging over the industry’s head, I am bewildered that certain members of the Texas Senate appear to have blocked the release of essential funds to the Texas Racing Commission,” says Sam Houston Race Park President Andrea B. Young. “We thank our friends in the Legislature and other branches of government who have fought to protect the Texas racing industry and the hard-working individuals it employs. The legislature did not intend this result, which will now shutter Texas racing facilities, putting thousands of jobs at risk. We believe that this result is irresponsible. We urge the Lieutenant Governor to stand up for 36,000 jobs now before this goes any further. In the meantime, we will continue to examine our legal options. We plan to continue our fight for all the hardworking Texans that make up the Texas Horse industry.”
We have not yet heard from Lone Star Park.
The Lt. Governor and Senator Jane Nelson issued press releases stating that the Senate side of the LBB was unanimous in denying the funding, but that the TxRc could ‘move money around’ from their larger appropriation to pay administrative costs.
Rep. John Otto stated in a letter that the House side of the LLB was still in favor of funding the TxRc for the full two years.
Those are the verifiable facts.
The Texas horse industry organizations are committed to do what we can to resolve this issue. When we have a clear idea of what action is necessary, we will advise our members immediately.
We are hopeful that this issue is resolved quickly and that we will prevail in our efforts to assure the funding of the TxRc for the next two years.
Again, many thanks to all of you for your outstanding efforts in the past days and weeks as we work to save our industry.