News and Notes for July 24, 2015

We know that TTA members are concerned about the status of horse auction sales in Texas and the TTA Sale Futurity.

In a conference call meeting earlier this week, the TTA Board of Directors voted not to commit to any 2015 yearling sale. TTA President Hal Wiggins has appointed a 16-member Sales Committee comprising directors and active consignors to meet as soon as possible to discuss plans for a 2-Year-Old Sale and develop a recommendation to bring back to the full TTA Board for a vote.

The TTA Sales Futurity is a separate matter that will be pursued as well. The Board recognizes the importance of that race and will seek options to keep it in one form or another.

Accredited Texas-bred He’s Comin in Hot (Early Flyer – Shocktime), will be one of the favorites in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga. Competing in a tough field of 11, he has been given morning line odds of 4/1. Bred by Valor Farm Inc., the 2-year-old gelding is already the winner of the $100,000 G3 Bashford Manor at Churchill for trainer Bret Calhoun and owner Douglas Scharbauer.

Graded stakes-placed W V Jetsetter (Jet Phone – Better Than Most) will take on five foes in the Grade 3 $100,000 Jersey Shore Stakes for 3-year-olds going 6 furlongs at Monmouth Park. Bred by the late Clarence Scharbauer Jr. and owned by R. A. Hill Stables and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, the colt has been given odds of 6/1.

A pair of Texas-breds are competing as part of the field of 9 in the $75,000 Turf Express Stakes for 3-year-olds and up going 5 furlongs on the turf at Evangeline Downs.  Bred by John T. L. Jones Jr. and owned by Preston Stables LLC, Reflector (Ready’s Image – Passionate Dancer) has been given odds of 7/2.  The tenacious gelding Solar Charge (Authenticate – Another Sunlit) runs for breeder Carolyn Barnett, who now owns the 8-year-old in partnership with David and Lana Alford. With a career record of 61-17-14-12 and earnings of over a half million dollars, he has odds of 10-1.

F P Silent Eyes (Silent Picture – Lovely Eyes) has travelled to Assiniboia Downs to run in the $25,000 Winnipeg Sun Stakes for fillies and mares going a mile.  Bred by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Prifiterra and owned by Henry Witt, the 5-year-old was given 5/1 odds.

TTA member Mary Cage wrote an excellent story about Brooks Open Gold, a 7-year-old gray gelding by Open Forum and out of the Alphabet Soup mare Alphabet Gold, who not only competes in races at the track but also in barrel races.  See the full story here:

Despite rainy weather, Lone Star Park registered increased attendance and total on-track wagering at its spring Thoroughbred meet, although all-sources handle declined 3.1% to $67.6 million.

Attendance during the meet conducted over 50 dates from April 9-July 19 increased 4.8% to 366,720, compared with 349,396 during the 50-date 2014 season. Average daily attendance was 7,325, compared with 6,988 a year ago.

On-track wagering on the live product was down 11.1% to $12.2 million compared to last year’s total of $13.7 million. But total on-track simulcast wagering showed a positive gain, rising 7.6% to $26.7 million compared with the $24.8 million wagered in 2014. The on-track wagering total, including both live and simulcast, rose 1% to $38.9 million versus $38.5 million last year. Daily averages were $777,677 compared with $770,129 one year ago.

Lone Star received a total of 16.96 inches of rain in June, shattering the previous monthly record of 13.66 recorded in May of 1982, according to the National Weather Service. They showed a total of 26.47 inches fell in the area during the months of April through June.

“Having to endure record-breaking rainfall, which forced us to cancel part of our live race cards several times, the rise in attendance is encouraging,” Lone Star president Scott Wells said in a news release. “The increased numbers are a testament that fans are pleased with the experience they have here. I give credit to our exceptional team of employees who do everything within their power to create winning experiences for our guests.

“Our live handle suffered not only from cancelled races caused by the deluge, but numerous scheduled turf races had to be transferred to the main track. Late scratches reduce field sizes, making those races less attractive to bettors.”

On the track, a total of 3,581 starters competed in 447 races compared with 3,774 runners in 458 races during the 2014 meeting. Average field size was 8.1 compared to 8.2 last year. Average daily purses were $140,099 compared with $142,729 in 2014, a 1.8% decrease.

Because of the weather, the number of turf races declined 34.4% to 99 this season compared with 151 in 2014.

The local riding title went to a new face at Lone Star; C. J. McMahon. The 20-year-old Louisiana native won a total of 95 races from 284 starts during the 50-day meet, with his mounts earning $985,127. This was McMahon’s first ever riding title.

Finishing second with 53 wins from 198 starts was Lone Star Park’s all-time winningest jockey, Cliff Berry. This was his last season to compete at the Grand Prairie track as he announced he will retire from riding at the end of 2015.

Berry rode his first winner here during Lone Star Park’s inaugural Thoroughbred Racing Season aboard a horse named Ifihadawishforyou. That was on April 18, 1997. During his Lone Star Park career, he has ridden a total of 5,422 races at the Grand Prairie track, winning 1,028 of them and earning more than $18.4 million. He has been leading meet rider five times, in 2005-06, 2008, 2011 and 2012.

Top trainer Karl Broberg won his second consecutive title. From a total of 167 starters, Broberg-trained horses made 66 trips to the winner’s circle. That is a 40% win rate compared with his 2014 rate of 29% with 58 winners from 203 starters. Broberg’s stable won a total of $610,531 for the meet.

A new record was reached for single-season wins by an owner. Danny Keene won a total of 38 races from 140 starters posting earnings of $495,034. This was Mr. Keene’s third consecutive title here at Lone Star Park. The previous record of 37 wins by an owner was set in 2010 by Tom Durant.

Majestic City, winner of the $200,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III), was voted champion horse of the meeting. Champion Texas-bred of the meet honors went to Texas Air who won the $200,000 Texas Mile (gr. III), his first graded stakes win. Get In Da House, who was a perfect 4 for 4 at the meet, was voted champion claiming horse.

NOTES: Congrats to Accredited Texas-bred Pure Tactics on winning the $86,350 Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar in California. The Pure Prize gelding, who was bred by Donald Eberts, has earned $431,106 with 10 wins in 25 starts…The Texas Champion point standings have been updated and are available at:…/texas-champions-standings/… There is an interesting article that should be shared about Texans relocating their horses to Minnesota because of the environment created there with improved racing and breeding programs – view it at: … The newest issue of American Racehorse magazine is now online with features including a special pictorial of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, a look at misconceptions about hay, a profile of a unique college program for students looking to work in the Thoroughbred industry and much more. Read more a t …The New Mexico Racing Commission has voted to temporarily suspend the use of the bronchodilator clenbuterol in Thoroughbreds and Quarter horses, effective Thursday, July 23rd through July 23, 2016…A Franklin County, Kentucky Circuit Court judge has denied a motion from The Family Foundation to require racetracks to provide an in-court demonstration of Instant Racing, also called historical wagering. The Family Foundation has sued the state and the racetracks, challenging the legality of the wagers, saying that they are not pari-mutuel. .. DRF Breeding is introducing a new publication for readers — the Weekly Stakes Report, which provides owners, breeders, and industry participants and fans with comprehensive results of all stakes races held in North America…Sunday, July 26 is the deadline for receipt of public comments encouraging the Texas Racing Commission to keep HRT rules in place. Letters may be sent via email to, fax to 512.833.6907, or via regular postal mail to Texas Racing Commission, PO Box 12080, Austin, TX 78711 or Texas Racing Commission, 8305 Cross Park Dr. #110, Austin, TX 78754.