News and Notes for January 11, 2019

According to a press release, Lone Star Park has scheduled the Grade 3 Steve Sexton Mile for Sunday, April 28, and has added another $100,000 to the purse raising it to $300,000. The Sexton Mile headlines the 13-race stakes schedule for the 2019 Thoroughbred Season which opens for a 44-day run beginning Thursday, April 18 and runs through Sunday, July 21.

The Sexton Mile ran as the Texas Mile from its inaugural running in 1997 to 2016. It was awarded Grade 3 status in 1999. In 2017 the race was re-named as a tribute to Lone Star Park’s former executive vice president and general manager, Steve Sexton, who died in December 2016 at age 57 after battling brain cancer.

Sexton was an integral part of Lone Star’s management team that opened the track in 1997 which helped it become one of the most successful track launches in the modern era. Because of his efforts the track wishes to help raise awareness for the Steven P. Sexton Foundation. The foundation was created in 2017 by the Sexton Family to honor an unfinished bucket list item of his which was to put a student through college who would not have the opportunity otherwise. The foundation will be awarding the first two recipients at Lone Star Park on Sexton Mile Day. 

“The Foundation’s Scholarship program sets the Steve Sexton Mile Stakes apart from America’s other great races,” said Taylor Sexton. “It fulfills the wish of a very special man, my father. We are excited to announce and recognize the first recipients of the Steven P. Sexton Foundation Scholarship at this year’s race, which will be awarded to two students committed to furthering their academic education.”

Year-after-year this race continues to draw top horses from around the country and has become, unofficially, in the last two years, a prep race for the Grade 1, $1.2 million Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park. Last year’s Sexton Mile winner, Charles Fipke’s Bee Jersey, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, went on to win the Metropolitan, and Mor Spirit, winner of the 2017 edition, also won the Metropolitan. Mor Spirit, owned by Michael Lund Peterson and conditioned by Bob Baffert gave the Hall of Fame & two-time Triple Crown winning trainer his fourth victory in this event. Baffert’s other three victories were; the inaugural running in 1997 with Isitingood who defeated 1998 Horse of the Year Skip Away (3rd), in 2006 with Preachinatthebar, and with Mythical Power in 2010.

“Steve Sexton was one of the all-time good guys in our sport,” said trainer Bob Baffert. “For all the good fortune I’ve had in the game at Churchill and Santa Anita, Saratoga and Del Mar, Belmont and Pimlico, nothing made me happier than winning the inaugural Steve Sexton Mile with Mor Spirit at Lone Star.”

Trainer Steve Asmussen has conditioned the winners of three editions of this race including Bee Jersey as mentioned previously, with Master Rick in 2013, and Thiskyhasnolimit in 2011.

“Steve Sexton and myself shared a great sense of pride in Lone Star Park,” said Asmussen. “The Sexton Mile has become a significant event on the racing calendar with the last two winners using it as a prep for the Metropolitan Handicap.”

The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation announced that it has introduced a new website, The updated site is compatible for mobile devices, tablets, and desktops and connects to the charity’s social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The foundation is a charitable trust that provides, on a confidential basis, financial relief to needy members of the Thoroughbred industry and their families. Since 1985, The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation has provided more than $16 million in assistance.

The website features information about the different forms of aid offered by the organization, upcoming charity events, and a tab to donate. 

“Over the years, The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation has improved the lives of countless members of the Thoroughbred industry who have dedicated their lives to our sport,” said Shannon Kelly, development manager. “Our new website provides an accessible resource for individuals to learn about our charity, how they can support our efforts, and how they can contact us if they need assistance.”

Recipients of the Safety Net Foundation’s support represent virtually every facet of the Thoroughbred industry, from jockeys, trainers, exercise riders and grooms to office personnel and other employees of racetracks, racing organizations, and breeding farms. Assistance can come in any number of forms, including financial aid, medication, surgical and hospital costs, therapeutic equipment, voice-recognition computers for quadriplegics, and wheelchair-accessible vans.

Sam Houston Race Park is preparing to kick off its 25th anniversary season of live racing with the opening of the 2019 Thoroughbred meet on January 25th.  The Thoroughbred meet will consist of 32 live racing days spanning from January 25th to March 30th. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the track has also announced a special promotion for Sunday, January 27th.  Along with free admission to the public for the Houston Racing Festival, one lucky fan will win $25,000 in cash!  All guests in attendance will be eligible to enter into a special drawing for the $25,000 cash prize.

NOTES: Online bidding in the TTA auction of 2019 stallion breedings is now closed.  All seasons not marked as “sold” are available on a first come, first served basis for the stated minimum bid. See the list at and contact Mary Ruyle at 512.458.6133 for details…Also, contact Mary about the Texas Thoroughbred Educational Fund’s scholarship program.  Applications are now available with a receipt deadline of February 15th… Texas Racing Commission Executive Director Chuck Trout has approved a request from Lone Star Park to drop Wednesday, July 3, 2019, and add Saturday, July 6, 2019. The revised calendar is now posted at… January 15 is the deadline for consignments to the 2019 Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, scheduled for April 9th at the Texas Thoroughbred Sale Pavilion at Lone Star Park.  Forms are available at