News and Notes for June 12, 2015

David L. Davis’ homebred A M Milky Way (Elusive Bluff – Actress E) will take on eight foes in the $40,000 Paul Bunyan Overnight Stakes at Canterbury Park on Saturday.  The 3-year-old gelding trained by Karl Broberg is looking to add to his current record of 8-3-2-0 and $135,775 in earnings.  He has been given morning line odds of 7/2.

The $150,000 Downs at Albuquerque Handicap has drawn a field of eight, including two Accredited Texas-breds.  Trainer Allen Milligan will send out Paul Rigali Jr’s homebred Texas Air (Texas City – Malaysian Air), who is the morning line favorite at 5/2.  The 7-year-old gelding has racked up a career record of 39-8-11-4 with $341,744 in earnings.

2014 Texas Champion Older Male Ol Winedrinker Who (Sligo Bay – Silverup) will provide some tough competition.  Running for breeders Sam E. Stevens and Sammy L. Stevens, the 6-year-old gelding will be saddled by trainer Joel Marr.  He also has a stellar record of 32-10-5-5 and earnings of $511,603.

Go Texas-breds!

The Texas Racing Commission, which regulates horse and greyhound racing, voted this week to begin a process to repeal the decision last year to implement pari-mutuel wagering on historical races at licensed Texas racetracks, hailed by track owners and horsemen as a way to buoy Texas’ racing business, which has been struggling to keep up with neighboring states that can supplement purses with broad gambling options.

With a 6-2 vote, the commissioners initiated a public comment period on the proposal to repeal rules related to historical racing. The action comes on the heels of a rocky legislative session for the Racing Commission. State Senator Jane Nelson, a Flower Mound Republican and chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, and other conservative lawmakers berated Racing Commission Chairman Robert Schmidt during a committee hearing in February for the commission’s move to pave the way for historical racing.

Nelson and other senators were peeved that the commission ignored a letter they wrote opposing historical racing; they saw it as an expansion of gambling that the commission had no authority to approve. At the time, Schmidt maintained that historical racing was simply another form of already-legal pari-mutuel betting and a way to help the industry the commission regulates.

Nelson’s office had been in discussions with the commission’s leadership about historical racing.

“They made it clear that they are adamantly opposed to historical racing,” Schmidt said.

Racing commission spokesman Robert Elrod said the commission is concerned legislative leaders are considering withholding 10 percent of the commission’s funding if commissioners don’t repeal the historical racing rule.

Schmidt stressed Tuesday that the commission won’t make a final decision on historical racing prior to its August meeting.

Currently, track owners and horsemen are appealing a state district court ruling that said the commission exceeded its authority to allow historical racing.

Marsha Rountree, executive director of the Texas Horsemen’s Partnership, asked the commissioners not to reverse course.

“However small that chance may be, it’s our only chance,” she said of the appeal. “We deserve to be heard in court.”

Sam Houston Race Park president Andrea Young and Texas Thoroughbred Association president Ken Carson also testified against the measure.

In an effort to enhance equine welfare, health and safety and overall horsemanship skills, the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation today announced the availability of the first three modules of its Advanced Horsemanship Program.

Titled “Understanding & Managing EHV-1,”  “The Hoof: Inside & Out,” and “Understanding the National Uniform Medication Program,” the three modules are available as free, online courses to any interested individuals.

Future courses may focus on topics such as immigration, medication use, lameness, basic horse health, and rules and regulations.

Additional information is available by contacting Cathy O’Meara, Industry Initiatives Coordinator, at (859) 224-2728 or

NOTES: Through June 7, jockey C. J. McMahon is still atop the Lone Star Park standings with 58 wins, while trainer Karl Broberg has 46 wins and leading owner Danny Keene has visited the winners circle 27 times…We offer congratulations and express our appreciation to Dr. Ken Quirk, who has retired after seven years as the chief veterinarian for the Texas Racing Commission…Texas stallion Unbridled’s Heart has died after undergoing colic surgery.  Owned by Ian Yarnot, the stallion was standing at Double Infinity Ranch in Sulpur Springs…The extended consignment deadline of June 15 is almost here for the new Texas Thoroughbred Yearling Sale to be held August 24 at Lone Star Park. For more info go to …We are still taking reservations for the June 20 TTA Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet at Lone Star Park.  Call the TTA office at 512.458.6133 for details…The TTA Board of Directors will also meet at 10am on Saturday, June 20…Given record wagering during the opening week of its spring meet, Churchill Downs has announced a 10% hike in overnight purses for the remaining 11 programs of the meeting…Gulfstream Park plans to experiment with at least two 2-year-old races that will be written for horses that don’t compete on race-day furosemide; each race will carry purses of $65,000 each–substantially more than most average maiden special weight races of $48,000…Thoroughbred Charities of America announced it has awarded grants totaling $511,650 to 67 Thoroughbred industry-related non-profits that work to uphold TCA’s mission. Grant recipients from the last three years can be found on…Officials with Keeneland and The Red Mile, partners in the under-construction simulcasting/gambling parlor area at The Red Mile, said Wednesday that the Instant Racing machines will be limited to customers 21-and-older after critics claimed that it would “prey on nearby college students.” The University of Kentucky campus can be seen from The Red Mile. Red Mile President Joe Costa said that the 21-and-up policy is “in deference to the university and for the community wishes.”