News and Notes for February 19, 2016

The Texas Racing Commission on Thursday voted by a 5 to 4 margin to repeal rules for historical racing at Texas racetracks.

This vote should clear the way for the TRC’s funding to be restored, but it also puts the future of the industry in Texas in question.

“Today’s vote was brought about because of extreme pressure placed on commissioners by a small handful of Senate leaders with threats to shut down the (Texas Racing Commission) if historical racing wasn’t repealed,” said Texas Horsemen’s Partnership Executive Director Marsha Rountree. “We maintain that the budget rider that forced this vote was unconstitutional and that today’s actions are meant to deny us our day in court. Real Texans will now suffer due to the continuing decline of the horse racing industry in Texas.

“Horse racing has been approved by voters and historical racing is a legal form of pari-mutuel wagering covered in the Racing Act,” the THP statement continued. “If Lieutenant Governor Patrick truly wants to help the Texas horse industry, as he has claimed, he will work to approve legislation in the 2017 session to give Texas tracks a fighting chance to compete against neighboring states. So far, we have only heard words. In 2017, the 36,000 people who work in our industry will settle for nothing short of action.”

Patrick issued this statement, “I support today’s action by the Texas Racing Commission to repeal its rules for historical racing in Texas. As a state district court has ruled, only the Texas legislature can approve any expansion of gambling. With this issue now behind us, I look forward to sitting down with responsible members of the horse racing industry to discuss the future of horse racing in Texas.”

However, Texas horsemen, despite repeated efforts, were unable to get a meeting with Patrick in recent months. That was mentioned at the TRC meeting with at least one commissioner expressing disappointment that such a meeting had not taken place.

While we are very disappointed by the repeal of these rules, we do believe that the plight of the Texas horse industry has drawn a lot of attention, and we plan to continue educating the public and our legislators about the issues in hopes of working on other initiatives to improve Texas racing and breeding.

Two divisions of the Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Texas Stallion Stakes Series (TSSS) will be contested at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday evening, each going 6 furlongs with a $75,000 purse.

The Two Altazano division for 3-year-old fillies offers a rematch for several in the very competitive field of six.

The 2-1 favorite Too Much Prada (Too Much Bling – Kimbell’s Prada), won the Darby’s Daughter division of the TSSS at Retama Park last September, and is coming off a January 16 win in the 6-furlong $50,000 Bara Lass Stakes. The Hall’s Family Trust homebred is trained by Danele Durham.

The runner-up in the Darby’s Daughter, Thievery (Valid Expectations – Keepthename) is back for another try.  Trained by Steve Asmussen for Ackerley Brothers Farm, she has been given odds of 3-1.

Riley and Ronald Morgan’s 4-1 Indygo Rocket (Indygo Mountain – Rockin Regent) was the runner up in the Bara Lass.  She was bred by the Estate of Clarence Scharbaurer Jr. and will be saddled by Danny Pish.

Charles Bradley Douglas’ homebred Easter Ellie (My Golden Song – Dance With Dana) finished 3rd in the Bara Lass.  Ronnie Cravens is her trainer and she has been given 5-1 odds.

Rounding out the field are Vanilla (Special Rate – Sublimation) and Cosmo Cassis (Grasshopper – Dehere’s Dream); both are listed at 6-1.

The field of seven in the Jim’s Orbit division of the TSSS for 3-year-old colts and geldings will also see some who have met before.

Victoria Ashford’s homebred 2-1 favorite Bravura (Early Flyer – Coryphee) handily won the $50,000 Groovy Stakes here in January and finished second in the My Dandy division of the TSSS in September at Retama Park.  High money earner in the field of seven, he is trained by Bret Calhoun.

Ms. Ashford also bred 3-1 Silver Doddge (Silver City – Dodd), the runner up in the Groovy stakes. He runs for Keene Thoroughbreds LLC and is trained by Danny Pish.

The third-place finisher in the Groovy was Imma Bling (Too Much Bling – Imma Be a Wildcat), a Hall’s Family Trust homebred to be saddled by Danele Durham.

Completing the field are 5-1 Prediction (Valid Expectations – Red Cell), 6-1 Tall Tales (Special Rate – Mal’s Showntell), 10-1 Jet Over (Jet Phone – Belle of the Band), and 12-1 Fred’s Lucky Boy (Wimbledon – Dancin’ Daphne).

The Roses to Ribbons Old Fashioned Horse Fair, scheduled for noon on Saturday, February 20 at Sam Houston Race Park, is an opportunity for the public to shop for off the track Thoroughbreds. Available horses will be shown to the public in the saddling paddock area, beginning at noon. Along with horses, there will be a horse fair featuring all sorts of horse related products as well as equine artists. The event goes on rain or shine.

We are very excited to announce that in conjunction with Roses to Ribbons, LOPE (Lonestar Outreach to Place Ex-racers) will present a seminar on acquiring an OTTB. The seminar will start at 11:00 the saddling paddock. Topics will include temperament evaluation, bringing your Thoroughbred home, and much more. Events are free and open to the public.

LOPE will give a free copy of Tom Curtin’s Retraining Racehorses DVD to each person who buys a horse at the Roses to Ribbons event. The DVD covers foundation training approaches on how to handle and work with your ex-racehorse.

For more information, go to

Oratory, one of Oklahoma’s leading stallions, has been euthanized following an accident while recovering from surgery to address a nerve problem. The son of Pulpit stood at Francisco and Lori Bravo’s River Oaks Farms in Sulphur, Oklahoma, as property of Mike Grossman’s Eureka Thoroughbred Farm.

One of the top 3-year-olds of 2005, Oratory won three of his five starts that year for owner Darley Stable. He captured the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park by 4 ¾ lengths under Jerry Bailey, earning a 114 Beyer Speed Figure, and was later retired after sustaining an injury in a workout.

From six crops to race, Oratory has sired the earners of nearly $8 million. His leading earner is multiple stakes winner Monster Sleeping with a bankroll of $481,880, and last year he was represented by the undefeated Texas-bred 2-year-old My Master Plan, a two-time stakes winner at Remington Park who was named the top juvenile filly at the Oklahoma City track and is the 2015 Texas Champion 2-Year-Old Filly.

Oratory previously stood in Texas at Eureka Thoroughbred Farm and was Texas’ leading sire by earnings in 2012.