News and Notes for December 10, 2015

A new Commission Chairman will be ushered in at the December 15 meeting of the Texas Racing Commission. Earlier this week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that Rolando Pablos will replace Robert Schmidt, who has resigned from the Chairman’s post. Schmidt, who will continue to serve on the Commission, resigned as chair after declining Abbott’s request to place the issue of repealing historical racing on next week’s agenda.

The governor accepted that resignation and a proposal to repeal historical racing rules is now on the agenda.  Schmidt said he was prepared to put the issue on the February agenda in order to give the new Commissioners time to get up to speed on the issue and let the horsemen who have filed a lawsuit over the issue take their case to court next month.

At the meeting, the Commission has three options regarding historical racing. It can vote to repeal rules put in place in 2014; vote to republish the proposed rules that would repeal historical racing for a 30-day public comment period, which would allow the Commission to take up the vote to repeal the rules at a future meeting (most likely in February); or it can take no action on the matter, which would keep the existing rules in place.

The rules previously came up for repeal at a Commission meeting this past August, but the panel upheld the legality of historical racing. About a week later, racing in Texas was shut down for a day when the state’s Legislative Budget Board failed to approve funding for the Commission’s operational expenses by a fiscal deadline. A temporary plan was then announced enabling the Commission to operate through November 30. Last month, that plan was extended through February 29. The next race meet in Texas is the Sam Houston season for Thoroughbreds, which opens January 15 and runs into March.

Horsemen are encouraged to attend the meeting which will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 15 in the John H. Reagan Building located at 105 W. 15th Street in Austin.

If you are insured by Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Company, please take a few moments to see who your local Farm Bureau Director is and give them a call. Companies, stores and vendors who benefit from horse racing need to hear our story. Let Texas Farm Bureau know that certain politicians are attempting to damage our industry which will have a direct impact on their business. The crisis being created by attempting a forced repeal of Historical Racing Rules is a message that needs to be shared beyond the world of horse racing. Leadership at the State Capitol should not be allowed to turn a blind eye to an industry that has such a large impact on the state’s economy. Educate the people that you do business with and encourage them to get involved. Members of Texas Farm Bureau make up a large block of voters and could have an impact on future elections. Will you make a call today?

Take a moment to check out the online auction of 2016 breedings (…/online-stallion-auction/) to the following stallions:

Standing at Lane’s End Texas: Congaree, Grasshopper, and Too Much Bling

Standing at Valor Farm: Crossbow, Early Flyer, Jet Phone, My Golden Song, and Silver City

Standing at Eureka Thoroughbred Farm: Expect a Lot, Mr. Besilu, and The Hunk.

Standing at Ridgewood Stables in Villa Ridge, IL: Live From Apollo, and Westover Wildcat

Standing at David Spears Farm, Hartshorne, OK: Swift Warrior

Standing at Salt Whistle Ranch, Groveton, TX: Orderly

Bidding deadline is 5pm Central on December 18th. Bid early and often!

Ballots in the TTA Board of Directors election must be received by 5pm on Tuesday, December 15th.  Five at-large candidates will be elected as well as a regional director for the South and Northeast regions of Texas.

The 10 candidates seeking an at-large position are John Adger (incumbent), Bethe Deal, Sonny Ellen, Terry Eoff, Phil Leckinger (incumbent), Rick Penn (incumbent), Rory Rieger, Tracy Sheffield, Sherie Smith and David Stephens DVM (incumbent).

Vying for South Region director are Jerry Moore and G. W. Oliver, and J. M. Harris and Judy Peek are running for director to represent the Northeast Region.