News and Notes for April 3, 2020

The NTRA website provides important, up-to-date information on Covid-19 federal relief packages that may be available for horsemen.  On April 1, NTRA/Dean Dorton held a conference call to discuss options and that recording, along with a Powerpoint presentation, is available at

Takeaways from the Powerpoint presentation:

Slides 43 – 45: Recap of Specific Situations

  • Racehorse owner of racing stable with no payroll
    • MAY be eligible – EIDL
    • Not eligible – Employer tax credits, employer tax deferrals, PPL (since no payroll)
  • Trainer who has payroll
    • MAY be eligible PPL, EIDL (which can be converted into a PPL), employer tax credits and employer tax deferrals (but only if does not participate in the PPL)
  • Horse farm with payroll
    • MAY be eligible – PPL OR employer tax credits and employer tax deferrals
    • NOT eligible – EIDL

Bloodstock agent, consignor, manager of racing stable – sole proprietor or partnership without payroll

  • MAY be eligible – PPL based on self-employment income up to $100k/owner, EIDL (which can be converted into a PPL), employer tax credits and employer tax deferrals (but only if does not participate in the PPL) on self-employment income
  • Bloodstock agent, consignor, manager of racing stable, S corporation with only shareholder wages
    • MAY be eligible – PPL based on wages paid to shareholder up to $100k/owner, EIDL ((which can be converted into a PPL), employer tax credits and employer tax deferrals (but only if does not participate in the PPL) on shareholder wages only

THESE ARE OFFERED AS GENERAL GUIDELINES ONLY – YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH YOUR ACCOUNTANT OR FINANCIAL ADVISOR.  It is predicted that there will be an onslaught of applications, so do not delay in applying.

Sam Houston Race Park
The Thoroughbred meet at Sam Houston Race Park ended early, and the Quarter Horse meet has been canceled. The THP, TTA and TQHA worked with executives at SHRP to confirm that the backside will remain open for training for 30 days. All of the horses and backside personnel will be allowed to stay in place at the track, but no new horses will be accepted at this time. Industry leaders will continue to work with the track to determine the best possible solutions going forward.

Retama Park
An agreement was reached between Retama Park and Texas Horsemen’s Partnership to allow the stable area at Retama to remain open for at least 30 days. Only horses stabled at the track will be allowed to remain and all outstanding balances due to Retama must be paid in full by their due date. Any horsemen found to be in arrears on March stall rent beyond April 15 will be required to vacate the premises.

  • Stabling is for any horsemen stabled at Retama as of 4/1/2020
  • No new horsemen or horses will be permitted to enter or stable at Retama Park
  • Dormitory rooms for any individuals in dormitories as of April 1, 2020
  • Track surface to be available five (5) days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., weather permitting
  • Gate training two (2) days a week and clocker available two (2) days a week
  • Trainers who are paid for March expenses walkers may continue use in April
  • 24/7 security at stable gate
  • All policies and procedures currently in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 will remain in effect and will be enforced.

**Horsemen/horses that vacated the stable area of Retama after March 26th may be permitted to return with ONLY the horses stabled at Retama as of March 26th. However, if such trainer has an outstanding balance owed Retama for January and/or February 2020, that outstanding amount must be paid in full prior to such horses being permitted to return to Retama.

Lone Star Park
In order to comply with the latest restrictions issued, the scheduled April 16 meet opener at Lone Star will be pushed back. The stable area will not open until at least May 3.

 “We have every intention of running the best Thoroughbred season we’ve had since 2004,” said Scott Wells on Thursday. “We, like everyone else in the business, have to respect the parameters set by governmental authorities in managing our reactions to this pandemic. We will open the Lone Star stable area as soon as we can and begin racing on a schedule yet to be determined – all of which is pending further details as put forth by the authorities.”

With the cancellation of the Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, we are working to connect consignors with potential sellers to negotiate private purchases. The catalog will remain online and we are adding contact information for consignors along with photos and videos provided by consignors. Consignors may elect to post additional information in the online repository.

Potential buyers can contact consignors directly to negotiate private purchases. The TTA will not monitor or facilitate these sales.

You can view the entire sale catalog with dozens of photos and videos at Just click on a consignor’s name to view their contact info and negotiate a purchase.

A photo album is also available on the TTA Facebook page.

Thank you to all the consignors and potential buyers!

All horses currently nominated will remain eligible for the Texas Thoroughbred Futurity provided the final $350 payment is made, and the deadline for that payment has been pushed back from April 15 to May 15.

Both $100,000 – estimated divisions of the Futurity were scheduled to be run on July 12th, which may be rescheduled due to changes in the racing calendar.

Thoroughbred Charities of America’s Horses First Fund is providing funding to backstretch and aftercare organizations working to support the Thoroughbred community amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Established in 2016 by LNJ Foxwoods, the Horses First Fund assists Thoroughbreds and their caretakers in need of emergency aid due to large scale neglect, natural disaster, or other catastrophe.

The Backstretch Employee Service Team (BEST) will receive funding to support their on-site medical clinic at Belmont Park. The Sam Houston Race Park Chaplaincy and Retama Park Chaplaincy will receive an emergency grant to provide meal services for backstretch workers at the now closed racetrack. The Horses First Fund will also provide grants to several aftercare organizations throughout the U.S. that have taken in additional Thoroughbreds due to the pandemic or have additional needs. It is expected that more funding will be distributed as further emergency needs are identified. Thoroughbred industry related nonprofit organizations interested in applying for an emergency grant may contact Erin Crady at

TCA has worked to stay in touch with its grantees throughout this uncertain time. One concern, echoed by numerous grantees, is for the loss of revenue due to cancelled fundraisers and events. TCA is working to create a free webinar that will offer suggestions on how to create virtual events and tips for digital fundraising.  Further details about the webinar will be released as they become available.

Emergency grants from the Horses First Fund are only possible because of the support of our generous donors. To join us in our efforts to assist Thoroughbreds and backstretch workers in need of emergency aid please consider a donation to the Horses First Fund. To donate, please visit

NOTES: Reminder – TTA staff is working from home; however, we are able to monitor emails and phone messages…ATB awards in connection with the Thoroughbred meet at Sam Houston Race Park are expected to mail on time, most likely sometime in the latter part of the week of April 13th.