News and Notes for January 30, 2015


Saturday’s feature at Sam Houston Race Park is the $50,000 Tomball Distaff Stakes, for accredited Texas-bred fillies and mares at a mile and one-sixteenth over the Connally Turf Course. The field of nine includes five stakes winners, led by Expect Royalty, winner of the $50,000 San Jacinto Stakes here on opening night.

The five-year-old mare is the pride and joy of her breeder, owner and trainer Leroy J. Pollok. The daughter of Valid Expectations out of the Skywalker mare Autumn Sky comes into the Tomball Stakes on a four-race win streak, including her most recent victory here in the San Jacinto Stakes on Texas Champions Weekend.

Expect Royalty, who has been installed as the 3-1 morning line choice for the Tomball Stakes, will break from post position nine.

San Jacinto Stakes runner-up, Rose Mary Chandler’s I am Jane Dough (My Golden Song – Strawberry Smile) will be ridden by Sam Houston Race Park’s leading jockey Deshawn Parker. The field also includes 2014 Tomball Stakes champion, Wampas Kitty (Captain Countdown – Ms. Winfrey) and runner-up, Smiles Golden Song (My Golden Song – Texas Smile).  Wampas Kitty took the rest of the year off and returned to run third in the San Jacinto Stakes for trainer Clifford Dodson. Smiles Golden Song is a very capable turf runner with six turf victories, including two stakes wins to her credit. Vilao (Grave Digger – Toogoodtobe Easy) is another turf stakes winner who makes her second start off a layoff for trainer, Rebecca Baker.

Rounding out the field are Molly’s Honour (Etesaal – Honour Shaker), Margarita On Rocks (Star Dabbler – Margarita Mistress), Discreet Girl (Discreet Cat – Templemartin) and Girl Wando (Magna Girl – Signal Tap).

Every Saturday, Sam Houston Race Park offers the $20,000-Guaranteed Pick 4, on races 7-10; the Tomball Stakes will run as the ninth race of the card.

Join us for TTA Night at the Races at Sam Houston Race Park on Saturday, February 14th!  In addition to being Valentine’s Day, it is also the Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Texas Stallion Stakes Series weekend, with filly and colt/gelding divisions each worth $75,000.  The evening’s race card will include the $50,000 Jersey Village Turf Stakes for 4-year-olds and up going a mile and 1/16th.

You will be able to enter for a prize drawing, enjoy the company of fellow TTA members and enjoy an evening of great racing.

This event is expected to sell out quickly, so make your online reservations by February 6th; just copy and paste this link into your browser:

Deshawn Parker, named Jockey of the Week by the Jockeys’ Guild, and made his Sam Houston debut last year, is off to a blazing start in the 2015 Thoroughbred meet. Parker has won 21 of his 50 starts; winning with 42% of his mounts and hitting the board at a clip of 56%. David Cabrera, who won the riding title this year at both Lone Star Park and Retama Park, is second with 11 wins.

Perennial top horsemen, Steve Asmussen and Danny Pish are tied with seven wins each following the first two weeks of the racing season. Asmussen has claimed the training title here six times; Pish has been the leader in three previous seasons. Tommy Short, who shipped horses here for the first time, is tied with Clinton Stuart; both have saddled three winners.

2014 leading owner Danny Keene is atop the leader board with four wins, Steve Asmussen, who has three leading owner titles here, is second with three victories.

The Texas Animal Health Commission has issued a waiver on the requirement to test Thoroughbred horses for Piroplasmosis. Effective January 28, 2015, Thoroughbred race horses will not be required to present a negative Piroplasmosis test to gain entry onto the grounds of a sanctioned Texas race track.

According to the following article in the Austin American Statesman, Senate budget writers eliminated money for the Texas Racing Commission in a draft budget released Tuesday.

“The spiking of the money for the commission, which has a stated mission of enforcing “the Texas Racing Act and its rules,” was a blunt rejoinder to the commission’s decision last year to move forward with implementing pari-mutuel wagering on historical races after most GOP senators signed a letter opposing the move.

“Senator Jane Nelson, a Republican from Flower Mound and chairwoman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that halting funding to the commission was meant to show that there are “consequences” for defying the senators’ wishes.

“Last session, the Legislature approved more than $8.3 million in general revenue dedicated money for the commission each year, 2014 and 2015, to pay for regulatory oversight of the racing industry. The Texas House has funded the commission in its budget proposal, and now lawmakers from both chambers will have to reconcile their differences.

“Historical racing, in which bettors electronically wager money on previously run horse races that have been stripped of all identifying marks, is seen by track owners and the Texas racing industry as a natural extension of already-legal pari-mutuel gambling and a much-needed way to keep the floundering racing business afloat.

“Robert Elrod, a spokesman for the commission, didn’t want to comment on the senators’ action, other than to say that the commission was unaware before Tuesday of the proposal to eliminate funding.

“He also pointed out that the commission is self-funded by the entities it regulates, and the agency’s revenue primarily comes from fees assessed to racetracks and occupational licensees.

“A state district court judge in Austin granted a request last year to prevent historical racing from being implemented, but racetrack owners and the agency are appealing the ruling.

“Opponents of historical racing, which notably includes conservative Republicans in the Legislature, see the form of betting as being akin to slot machines and an illegal expansion of gambling in Texas.”

NOTES:  Several Texas-breds made the Jockey Club’s Experimental Free Handicap, including Promise Me Silver and Silverhill (both by Valor Farm’s Silver City), Nublado Bling (by Lane’s End Texas’ Too Much Bling), and W V Jetsetter (by Valor Farm’s Jet Phone…Congrats to Accredited Texas-bred Pure Tactics, who won Sunday’s $79,800 Clocker’s Corner Stakes… The American Horse Council’s January Tax Bulletin is now available at …February 2 is the deadline for the $250 sustaining payment in the 2015 TTA Sales Futurity and the early annual ATB stallion administration fee of $200…February 16 is the deadline for receipt of Texas Thoroughbred Education Fund Scholarship Applications for the 2015 – 2016 school year.