News and Notes for March 22, 2018

Patrona Margarita (Special Rate – Margarita Mistress) has been scratched from Saturday’s Fair Ground Oaks and is now being pointed to either the $500,000 (G1) Ashland Stakes on April 7 at Keeneland or the $400,000 (G3) Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park on April 13th.

The board of directors of the Texas Thoroughbred Educational Fund is pleased to announce the renewal of scholarships for Bryson Smith of Clarksville and Victoria Spakes of Round Rock, Texas.

Bryson is the son of TTA member Doug Smith and is attending Texas Tech University, majoring in Kinesiology.

Tori is the daughter of TTA member Audrea Spakes Blake and is attending Lone Star College to become a Veterinary Technician.

Established in 2005, the Texas Thoroughbred Educational Fund is a non-profit 501C3 charitable organization that helps place young Texans on the road to success by providing grants and awards to benefit Texas Thoroughbred Association members and their children and further their educational opportunities.

To date, TTEF has awarded over $310,000 in scholarship awards to more than 30 recipients in fields of study including advertising and marketing, agricultural communications, animal science, aviation, business, digital art, education, journalism, law, medicine, media graphics, music, nursing, veterinary medicine and veterinary technology. Scholarships are also available for accredited technical schools and vocational programs.

Contact Mary Ruyle at 512.458.6133 for more information or to request an application.

Sam Houston Race Park has issued a press release regarding the 2018 Thoroughbred meet that concluded on Saturday, March 17. The racing season was supported strongly by many Texas horsemen and the stakes program enticed nationally prominent conditioners including Steve Asmussen, Mike Maker, Brad Cox, Mark Casse, Kenny McPeek, Keith Nations, Mike Stidham, Jason Servis and Doug O’Neill.

Officials were pleased with the move from Mondays to Wednesday afternoon racing. Sam Houston Race Park handled over $13 million for the eight Wednesday matinees with an average of $182,632 per race compared to $163,000 on Mondays.

Furthermore, the track once again proved to have the safest racing surfaces in the country, a combined breakdown of .45 per 1,000 starts.  

“Overall, we are pleased with the 2018 Thoroughbred racing season and look forward to building upon the positives for next year,” said Sam Houston Race Park Senior Director of Racing, Frank Hopf. “We are extremely grateful to both our horsemen for their support and bettors, who have lauded our industry-low 12% takeout.”

Texas-bred Alamo City was voted 2018 Thoroughbred Horse of the Meet by racing officials. Owned by HDT Allied Management, LLC and trained by George Bryant, the 6-year-old son of Silver City out of the Magic Cat mare Most Magic won three of his five starts this season.

“He loves running at Sam Houston,” said Bryant. “We claimed him for $6,250 from Karl Broberg two seasons ago at Retama Park. “He’s a big, good looking, sound horse and we have been very happy to have him in our barn.”

Bryant reports that Alamo City has already shipped to Lone Star Park and will make his next start either in allowance company or possibly a stakes in their upcoming meet.

The leading owner, trainer and jockey awards were also presented on the final day of the meeting. Steve Asmussen won his tenth training title, finishing the meet with 35 wins. He was honored as top trainer here in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Asmussen started 126 horses, finishing with a record of 35 wins, 40 seconds, 20 thirds and earnings of $464,162. He won two stakes this season with Red Dress capturing the $50,000 Bara Lass on January 28 and Direct Dial in the $65,000 Jim’s Orbit on the final night of the season, March 17.

Karl Broberg was second in the standings with 21 victories, followed by Mindy Willis with 20 wins. Jerenesto Torrez won 12 races to round out the top four conditioners.

Jockey Lindey Wade won three races on the final night of the meet to cap a very successful racing season The 27-year-old completed the meet with 53 wins, just shy of the record of 55 victories in the 32-day meet set by DeShawn Parker in 2015.

Wade had successful associations with several conditioners in Houston including Mindy Willis, Kari Craddock and Bret Calhoun. He won four stakes this season and lit up the toteboard with a $90 win for Calhoun aboard Swift Shock in the $50,000 Groovy Stakes on January 28.

Iram Vargas Diego, winner of the title for the past two years, finished second with 37 wins and Ernesto Valdez-Jiminez and Quincy Hamilton tied for fourth with 19 wins each.

End Zone Athletics, Inc. edged Steve Asmussen as owner of the meet with 14 wins to Asmussen’s 11. This was the first leading owner title for the entity headed by Karl Broberg. Jose Luis Espinoza finished third with eight victories.

NOTES: We extend our condolences to the family of long-time horseman R. E. “Ted” Keefer of Magnolia, who recently passed away…Check out this interesting article on Texas’ Bass family involvement in breeding and racing Thoroughbreds: