News and Notes for April 11, 2014


Solar Charge, after three unsuccessful attempts this year, was able to wear down rival Triumph and Song in Thursday’s 18th running of the $50,000 Premiere Stakes on opening night of the 2014 Spring Thoroughbred Racing Season at Lone Star Park.

Bred by Carolyn Barnett and raced by her in partnership with David and Lana Alford, the 7-year-old gelding raced off the pace early gaining on the tired leader, taking the lead inside the sixteenth pole and moving clear under strong urging.

Solar Charge earned $30,000 for the win in the Premiere increasing his lifetime earnings to $427,109. It was his 15th win from 49 lifetime starts. For those who invested, he returned $9.40, $3.20 and $2.20. Runner-up Triumph and Song returned $2.20, $2.10, and Gold Element paid $2.40 for show. Call Me Mr Special, Circustown Flyer and Lesis More completed the order of finish.

Tonight’s 9-race card gets underway at 6:35pm, with gates opening at 5:00. The 2014 Lone Star Park Music Series kicks off with the Josh Abbott Band taking the stage after the final race of the night, approximately 11:00 pm.

Saturday’s race card is highlighted by the $50,000 Wayne Hanks Memorial Stakes in which morning line favorite Lasting Bubbles will take on 7 opponents, including Joyful Hannah, My Golden Belle, Expect Royalty, Flashy Pearl, Nurse Goodnight, Wimbledon Star and Molly’s Honour. Named 2013 Texas Champion Older Mare with a career record of 20-7-6-0 and earnings of $230,081, Lasting Bubbles runs for breeder/owner Judy Peek and is trained by her son Kevin. Multi-platinum selling MCA Nashville recording artist Gary Allen will take the stage after the last live race.

Additional promotions this season include the new Double Down Night, Saturday, April 19. Two bucks is all you need for two general admissions, two Lone Star Today programs, two soft drinks, two hot dogs or even an ice cold beer … just two bucks ALL night long. Plus, enjoy live music by Scott Dean in the Courtyard of Champions from 7:00 -11:00 p.m. *General Admission, Lone Star Today programs, soft drinks & hot dogs can be purchased for $1 each.

“Party at the Park” returns each Friday night in the Courtyard of Champions from 7:00 -10:00 p.m. Enjoy the Metroplex’s best live bands and $2 beer specials.

Sunday Discounts return with Senior Citizens’ Day. Seniors 62 years or older will receive One (1) Free General Admission at our Admission Gates every Sunday during the 2014 Spring Thoroughbred Season. Just present your valid identification at the designated areas of our entrances to receive your coupon.

Military Discount Day, present your military ID any Sunday during the 2014 Spring Thoroughbred Season and receive One (1) Free General Admission at our Admission Gates. Just present your valid identification at the designated areas at our entrances to receive your coupon.

Pepsi Can Offer returns. Bring any Pepsi Can out on any Sunday during the Spring Thoroughbred Season and receive a Pepsi Track Pack good for One (1) Free General Admission and One (1) Free Large Pepsi. *Valid for live racing only in the Grandstand.

Jazz Brunch returns Sundays in Silks! Enjoy live Jazz music and an Omelette Brunch in the newly renovated Silks Dining Room each Sunday during the Spring Thoroughbred Season. Omelette Station includes an omelette of your choice, new potatoes and biscuits for $8.95. Call (972) 263-PONY to make reservations.

The 50-date Spring Thoroughbred Season will run 14 weeks beginning Thursday, April 10 through Saturday, July 12 with live racing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 6:35 p.m. CDT and Sunday afternoons at 1:35 p.m. CDT beginning April 27 thru June 15. Special holiday programs are also scheduled for Monday, May 26 (1:35 p.m. CDT), Friday, July 4 (5: 00 p.m. CDT) and all three Triple Crown dates–Saturday, May 3, 17 and June 7 (3:33 p.m. CDT).

A recent Blood-Horse article reports that total purses generated by slot machines in Pennsylvania in 2013 dropped 6.57% from the previous year according to a benchmark report released April 9 by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

The report also shows that the total amount of money wagered on Pennsylvania horse racing increased 3.93% despite tracks offering 221 fewer races.

With three Thoroughbred and three Standardbred tracks, the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund earns 11% of revenue from slots at casinos in the state. Purses for both breeds last year totaled $165,608,544, down from $177,269,965 in 2012. The Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Breeding Fund paid out $17,125,771 in 2013, down 5.82% from 2012.

“Overall gross terminal revenue generated from slot-machine gaming at the 12 casinos (6 do not have racing) was more than $2.3 billion in 2013,” the executive summary of the report states. “However, the amount of tax revenue generated by the PRHDF decreased by approximately 7% in 2013 compared with the same period in 2012 due to a decrease in gross terminal revenue generated by the casinos that host horse racing.”

The report indicates that purses paid at all racetracks last year totaled $203,262,053. But only $30,841,648, or 16%, was generated by live, export, and import pari-mutuel handle.

A PGCB breakdown of wagering on the state’s live product in 2013 shows $719,537,734, or 89.1% of the total, came from locations outside of Pennsylvania. Live on-track handle dropped more than $2 million to $38,293,104; handle at off-track wagering parlors fell more than $2 million to $15,012,194; telephone wagering produced $8,524,659, down almost $3 million from 2012; and play at other tracks in the state dropped more than $5 million to $34,309,112.

The decline in wagering at OTW facilities is mostly attributed to their closure in multiple markets around the state.

The PGCB benchmark report said slots play was considerably higher at racetracks when live racing was held last year. It said horse racing provides “an additional entertainment option” for patrons.

“In fact, average daily gross terminal revenue generated from slot-machine gaming by the six casinos that host horse racing was 16% higher on race days when compared with non-race days in 2013,” the report states.

The biggest beneficiary of that was Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, which races Wednesday through Saturday nights. Average daily gross terminal revenue on race days was $744,917 versus $497,536 on non-race days.

The report also indicates four racetracks have spent $52.3 million on “backstretch improvements” since 2009. Parx Racing leads the way with $27.89 million in such expenditures, according to the PGCB.

The 2013-14 Fair Grounds season is over, reporting all-sources average daily handle was down 12%, and the fight between Louisiana horsemen and the track’s parent owner, Churchill Downs Inc., is just beginning.

Both sides were in attendance Wednesday morning at the state Capitol, where Rep. Patrick Connick, R-Marrero, presented House Bill 1223, which advanced to the Louisiana House floor with no objections.

If passed into law, the bill, which “provides relative to the expenditure of slot machine proceeds for capital improvements and maintenance of the horse racing facility in Orleans Parish,” would require Churchill Downs Inc. to reinvest 10 percent of net slot machine proceeds back into the track.

For further information, see:

NOTES:  The Oak Tree Racing Association is hoping to serve as the operator of the Pleasanton fair meet at the Alameda County Fairgrounds… A proposed ballot measure that could allow betting on previously recorded horse races has been passed by the Nebraska Legislature…In what it calls an effort to maintain daily purses and its stakes schedule, as well as continue to attract quality horses, Churchill plans to increase its pari-mutuel takeout rates on win, place, and show wagers as well as exotic bets when the 2014 spring meet begins April 26…Even though it faced new weekend competition from nearby Calder Casino & Race Course, Gulfstream Park reported $691 million in all-sources handle for the 83-day meet that began Nov. 30, 2013, with a daily average of $8.33 million…The next sustaining payment of $350 for the 2014 TTA Sales Futurity is due by April 15th…Our sympathies go out to the family of former TTA director Bud Farr, DVM of Slaton, TX whose wife Annis passed away recently… TTA Director Hal Wiggins of Houston was the featured trainer in an article this week at … Dr. Charles W. Graham has received the Distinguished Texan in Agriculture Award from Texas A&M AgriLife – the highest individual honor given to individuals demonstrating outstanding leadership and providing significant contributions to Texas agriculture…Best of luck to everyone racing this weekend!