News and Notes for August 28, 2015

Despite the threat of losing funding from the state, the Texas Racing Commission kept in place regulations it adopted earlier for establishing historical race wagering.

About 200 horsemen from around the state converged on the TRC meeting in Austin August 25 and urged the commission to leave its rules intact despite an ongoing court case and veiled threats from some legislators to withhold funding from the commission. Industry executives and members argued against repealing the rules—which the TRC had publicly said it intended to do—because it would nullify the appeal of a court ruling that stated the commission had no legal standing to promulgate the rules.

The commission voted 4-3-1 on a motion to repeal the regulations, which failed because there was not a clear majority supporting the initiative. At issue now is whether the TRC will continue to receive adequate funding from the state past the end of its fiscal year August 31. When the new state budget was adopted in June, a provision was attached to the TRC budget that requires the commission to specifically request $750,000 from the Texas Legislative Budget Board. This money funds TRC executive director Chuck Trout’s position and other staff salaries and covers the commission’s rent and utilities. The commission is prohibited from moving money from other accounts to cover this shortfall, so without the budget board allocation the commission would shut down and so would all live racing across Texas.

Several Texas news outlets reported that the Texas Legislative Budget Board would rule soon on whether to maintain or axe the TRC’s operating budget. The threats to pull funding for the TRC stem from some lawmakers’ anti-gambling positions and a belief that historical racing machines are the same as slot machines.

Historical racing machines resemble video lottery terminals, but proponents and manufacturers say they are pari-mutuel in nature, because money bet into the machines is pooled. In addition, the outcome of on-screen games is triggered by the results of previously run horse races.

Texas horsemen are careful to say that no written communication exists that ties the historical racing rules to the commission funding issue. During the commission meeting, however, Trout told commissioners that he did receive a phone call from a legislative staff member who indicated the issues were related.

The Legislative Budget Board (LBB) has to meet to either approve or deny the commission’s funding. If the Commission does not receive the funding, they will shut down as well as ALL of the horse & dog tracks.   Everyone is encouraged to contact members of the LBB to ask for support in funding the TRC.  Contact information can be found at

Click on this link to see a great press release on the issue by the Texas Horsemen’s Partnership:

The Texas Thoroughbred Association has announced the establishment of a 2-year-olds in training sale to be held next April at Lone Star Park. The auction will be similar to the one held by Fasig-Tipton Texas in previous years.

The sale will be operated by the TTA and managed by Tim Boyce, who formerly ran the sale for Fasig-Tipton Texas.

“The sale facility and racetrack at Lone Star are among the best you will find anywhere for a 2-year-old sale, so we expect a strong response to the continuation of this auction,” Boyce said. “We also think the changes to the TTA Sales Futurity will benefit both buyers and consignors.”

The TTA announced changes to the former TTA Sales Futurity, which in past years had been restricted to graduates of the Texas yearling and 2-year-olds in training sales or accredited Texas-breds made eligible through a berth entry.

Starting in 2016, the race with divisions for fillies and colts/geldings to be held during the summer at Lone Star Park will be open to all accredited Texas-breds with a free nomination for horses that went through any yearling sale or a $250 nomination for a horse that did not go through a yearling sale. In addition, every horse consigned to the 2016 Texas 2-year-olds in training sale, regardless of where they were bred, will receive a free nomination. Purse information, a complete payment schedule and information about late nominations will be released shortly. The race will also have a name change to be announced.

Beginning tonight, Retama Park has carded nine races each for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday, come out early to watch Triple Crown Winner American Pharaoh run in the Travers Stakes! Post time for the first race at Saratoga is 10:30 and the Travers goes off at 4:45.  In addition to live Thoroughbred racing, Saturday’s card includes the Texas Arabian Derby (gr. 3) and the Texas Arabian Oaks (gr. 3). Post time is 6:45 pm for Friday and Saturday night, with a 3:00 pm post on Sunday afternoon.

In addition to great racing, tonight fans can dress up in Harry Potter costumes and hang out with the gang.  There will be a trivia contest and prizes for the best dressed.  Saturday night is LONESTAR NIGHT, paying tribute to the greatest state in the USA.  Come dressed in your Texas flag apparel and best dressed will receive a prize!

Multiple stakes winner Pure Tactics, winner of the Wickerr Stakes at the beginning of the Del Mar meet, was euthanized after suffering catastrophic injuries to the sesamoids in his left hind leg during the running of the G2 Del Mar Mile.

Pure Tactics, a 6-year-old son of Pure Prize bred by the late Don Eberts, had won 10 of 25 career starts, and had earned $431,106.

Additional West Nile virus (WNV) cases have been diagnosed by the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL). The number of WNV positive cases in Texas now totals ten.

As of August 24, TVMDL can confirm horses in the following counties tested positive for WNV: Houston, Atascosa, Jefferson, Roberts, Sterling, Parker, Randall, Liberty, Scurry, and Hutchinson

As with earlier reported positive cases, the affected horses were not previously vaccinated against the disease.

For more information, see

NOTES: Louisiana has become the 16th state to adopt the Controlled Therapeutic Substances list. The list establishes strict regulatory thresholds and provides withdrawal times for 26 specific medications that the industry believes to be necessary for the routine treatment of illness or injury in the horse…Oaklawn Park is projecting average daily purse distribution of $475,000, a 12% increase over 2015, for the meet that begins January 15, 2016…Most racing fans coming to Lexington this fall for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships will likely need to take advantage of three park-and-ride locations around the city. Parking at Keeneland will be limited to those with official pre-paid parking credentials…A victory in Saturday’s Travers Stakes at Saratoga would place American Pharoah alongside 1941 Triple Crown winner Whirlaway as the only members of their elite fraternity to add the Travers to their résumés…The $1.6 million Travers Stakes (gr. I), headed by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, will be televised by NBC network during a two-hour program August 29. The 4-6 p.m. EDT broadcast will also include the $1 million Sword Dancer (gr. IT) and Forego Stakes (gr. I) on the stakes-laden card at Saratoga Race Course…Remington Park has adopted a policy that permanently revokes stall space to trainers or owners found to have sold a horse for slaughter or to known kill-buyers. The policy also requires owners to carry out due diligence when purchasing horses and urges owners and trainers to support off-the-track Thoroughbred rescue and adoption…The TTA board will meet via conference call tomorrow at 3pm.