News and Notes for January 24, 2020

Sam Houston Race Park will host the Houston Racing Festival on Sunday, a program of six stakes led by the Grade 3, $300,000 Houston Ladies Classic, the Grade 3, $200,000 John B. Connally Turf Cup, the $200,000 Texas Turf Mile, the $100,000 Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint, the $75,000 Stonerside Sprint, and the $75,000 Jersey Lilly Turf Stakes.

The Houston Ladies Classic drew six fillies and mares, including Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress, who is the 7/5 favorite.  Providing competition will be 10/1 Out For a Spin, 15/1 Saracosa, 9/2 Lady Apple, 7/2 Mylady Curlin, and 5/2 Street Band. The race will be run on the main track and goes as the eighth race 

There is a full field of 12 for the new Texas Turf Mile for 3-year-olds, beginning with 7/2 favorite Billy Batts, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Texas connections include Chris Hicks’ Red Lane Thoroughbreds’ 20/1 Deviant (ON) and 8/1 Bodecream (KY), both trained by Danny Pish. Steve Asmussen will saddle 10/1 Memorable (KY). It is carded as race 7.

Race 9, the Connally, drew a field of 12 to go a mile and a half on the grass, including 7/2 favorite Cross Border (NY) from the barn of trainer Mike Maker, who has won multiple runnings of the Connally. Karl Broberg will send out 30/1 Yeowzer (KY) for his End Zone Athletics, Inc.

The first stakes of the day is race 5, the Frontier Utilities Turf Sprint for 4 year-olds and up going 5 furlongs with a field of 12, headed up by 7/2 favorite Real News (KY).

Multiple stakes winner Imma Bling (Too Much Bling – Imma Be a Wildcat) will run for Richard Bahde. The Accredited Texas-bred 7-year-old gelding was bred by Hall’s Family Trust and has a career record of 47-10-12-7 with $311,546 in earnings. He has odds of 8/1.

Other Texas connections include 10/1 Grade One (KY), trained by Broberg for End Zone Athletics, Inc. and 4/1 Fast Boat (KY) owned by Brad Grady.

Race 6 is the Stonerside Sprint Stakes, with a field of 7 4-year-olds and up going 6 furlongs, including a pair of Accredited Texas-bred Champions.  Steve Asmussen will saddle W. S. Farish’s homebred 2018 Champion 3-year-old Colt/Gelding and Horse of the Year Direct Dial (Too Much Bling – Fast Find). The multiple stakes winner of $264,227 finished third in last year’s running of this stakes and was a close second in his last out at Remington on October 30th. He has odds of 9/2.

Mr Money Bags (Silver City – Miss Photogenic) was recently named the 2019 Texas Champion 3-year-old Colt/Gelding and Horse of the Year. Bred and owned by Roy W. Cobb, he won his last out in the $250,000 Zia Park Derby on November 27th.  Trained by Mike Neatherlin, he has a bankroll of over $345,000 and the morning line places him at 8/1.

Other Texas connections include 6/1 Paddock Pick (KY) trained by Karl Broberg for Claiming Game Racing and 3/1 Trumpence (LA) owned by Edward L. McAlvain.

In a side note, last year’s race was won by Leadem In Ken, owned by Tyree Wolesensky.  Leadem In Ken is now standing his first breeding season in Texas.

The last race of the evening is the Jersey Lilly for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up going a mile and a sixteenth, with a field of 12 including 4 Accredited Texas-breds.  Will Kari’s homebred stakes winner She’s Pretty Lucky (Lookin at Lucky – Pretty Asmusing) finished 4th in the $200,000 (Gr.3) Chilukki S. at Churchill on November 2 and has odds of 8/1.

Sylvia Baird’s homebred stakes winner Discreet Smile (Discreet Cat – Smiles Golden Song) won the $50,000 Fiesta Mile at Retama Park in her last out on September 6.  Trained by Larry Stroop, she had odds of 10/1.

Sarah Delaney will saddle Ian Yarnot’s homebred stakes winner 20/1 Corluna (Unbridled’s Heart – Red Moon Cat), who is coming off a long layoff.

Also coming back after a layoff is 30/1 stakes winner Texas Belle (Angliana – Inthemiddleofitall), owned by Richard P. Chandler and trained by Mindy Willis.

Other Texas connections include 15/1 Quinn Murphy (KY) trained by Karl Broberg for his End Zone Athletics, Inc, 6/1 Oh My (KY) trained by Steve Asmussen, 4/1 Curlin’s Journey (KY) trained by Dallas Keen, and 20/1 Cowgirls Like Us (KY) trained by Bret Calhoun for Douglas Scharbauer.

Best of luck to all!

The Texas Thoroughbred Association has announced two new programs to make buying, selling and racing horses in Texas more lucrative for horsemen. The Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age Sale, set for April 3 at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, will offer a rebate program for consignors and a purse bonus program for graduates of the sale.

Thanks to the passage of H.B. 2463, which injects up to $25 million annually into the Texas horse industry, funds are available that will be used to rebate up to half of the $500 consignment fee for ALL horses entered in the sale who pass through the ring, even those that are not Texas-breds.

ALL sale graduates (horses that pass through the ring), again including horses not bred in Texas, will be eligible for a purse bonus program with money paid out to owners of horses finishing first, second or third in any races at Texas tracks in 2020. The amount of the bonus payouts will be based on a percentage of purse earnings which will depend on the number of eligible horses hitting the board in Texas races, but it will be administered similarly to the Accredited Texas-Bred Program with the money being paid out in January 2021 for all races through December 31, 2020.

“The goal of these new programs is to encourage horsemen to buy and sell their horses in Texas, and then to keep those horses racing in Texas to add to what already creates a significant impact on the state’s agricultural and overall economy,” said Mary Ruyle, executive director of the TTA. “We’ve already seen more interest in Texas racing and breeding with the boosted purse structure at the current Sam Houston Race Park meet. We expect that to continue at Lone Star Park and Retama Park, and we believe these programs will only enhance that interest and participation.”

We are currently still accepting consignments, so don’t delay!

The Texas Thoroughbred Association is offering the TEXAS TRIFECTA, which provides three years of membership for the price of two. That means a three-year traditional individual membership is just $120 (save $60) and joint memberships (for couples and business partners) and family memberships (parent[s] and children under 18) are just $200 (save $100).

Plus, the TTA will donate $20 in your name to one of the following Thoroughbred aftercare organizations: LOPE TexasRemember Me Rescue or The Paddock Foundation.

This promotion is good for new members and renewals, even if your membership is not yet expired. This promotion ends June 30, 2020, and one lucky new or renewing member will be drawn at random to win a lifetime TTA membership valued at $2,000.

To take advantage of this special discount, call the TTA office at (512) 458-6133, download and mail/fax a membership application, or go to the membership page and pay online with a credit card at

NOTES: Look for an announcement of the 2019 Texas Champion Thoroughbreds who will be honored at the TTA Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner on Saturday, March 21 at Sam Houston Race Park.  Invitations will be mailing soon, so mark your calendars and join us in celebrating the accomplishments of our Texas horses…TTEF Scholarship applications for the 2020-2021 school year must be received by February 15th.  These scholarships are available to benefit TTA members and their children and may be used for education at any accredited Junior College, 4-year University, Post-graduate Degree Program, or other accredited or state-recognized industry/training program, in Texas or out-of-state.  Contact Mary Ruyle at 512.458.6133 for information…Congrats to Bill & Corinne Heiligbrodt and trainer Steve Asmussen for Mitole’s Eclipse Award for Champion Sprinter.  Asmussen also trained Champion Dirt Female Midnight Bisou.