Along with full fields of Thoroughbred races and Arabian stakes, Friday and Saturday will see the return of the popular camel and ostrich races, featuring local Houston TV and radio personalities as jockeys. On Friday night, the jockeys include Samica Knight, ABC 13; Andrea Young, Sam Houston Race Park; Dinah Powers, The Buzz; and Connected K, The Eagle. On Saturday, riders will be Lauren, Mix 96.5; Sarah Peppers, Hot 95.7; Chita Johnson, KHOU Channel 11; and Special K,104 KRBE.

Going into the last four days of racing at the track, Gerardo Mora is the leading jockey with 33 wins, Steve Asmussen tops the trainer list with 23 wins and owner Danny Keene has 14 wins for the meet.

Eric Johnston, currently vice president of racing/racing secretary at Sam Houston Race Park, has been named director of racing operations for Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.

Johnston joined Sam Houston Race Park when it opened in 1994 as stakes coordinator and was soon promoted to director of racing and racing secretary. In addition to his racing office responsibilities Johnston also had management oversight for the pari-mutuel, simulcast, and player services departments at Sam Houston. For the past three seasons Johnston also has served as director of racing at Fort Erie Race Course in Canada.

He is scheduled to begin his duties at Penn National in early April.

Claiming horses fill the vast majority of race cards every day, but these hard-workers rarely receive recognition so the TTA created the Texas Champion Claimer Award.  The winning horse and his or her connections will be recognized alongside the other 2013 Texas Champions at the TTA Annual Conference and Awards Banquet at Lone Star Park on June 14th.

The Texas Champion Claimer Award is restricted to Accredited Texas-breds who won at least three claiming or allowance/optional claiming races at Texas racetracks last year, with the winner to be determined by online voting. Only one vote will be counted per person and automated attempts to vote will be disallowed. Voting closes on Tuesday, April 15 at 5 p.m. Central. Results will be posted online the following week.

You can vote now at

The Texas Thoroughbred Educational Fund (TTEF) is pleased to announce the following recipients of scholarships for the 2014-15 school year:

Todd Hartis of Dallas, son of TTA member Eileen Hartis, will be attending Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law; Victoria Spakes of Round Rock, daughter of TTA member Audrea Spakes, will be attending Sam Houston State University, studying Animal Science; and Brittnee Zamora of Powderly, daughter of TTA members Joe & Cindy Zamora, will be attending Texas A&M University, studying Sports Management.

The TTEF also renewed scholarships for the following current recipients:

Cameron Bragg of Mesquite, son of TTA member Steve Bragg, is a Graphic Design major at Louisiana State University; TTA member Breanna Bristol of Round Rock is a Nursing student at Austin Community College; Michael Davidson of Arthur City, son of TTA members Brent & Colleen Davidson, is an Animal Science Major at Texas A&M University; and Andrea Hartis of Ft. Worth, the daughter of TTA member Eileen Hartis, is working toward her Doctorate of Physical Therapy at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

Congratulations to everyone.

C. Reid McLellan, PhD., national equine educator, will be conducting the 14th Lone Star Park Trainers’ Exam Prep Class On April 2-4. McLellan participated on the National Trainers’ Exam committee and has been offering this exam preparation class since 1998. This program is designed to provide information about the Rules of Racing to individuals considering taking a state licensing exam, as well as for owners or horseplayers that simply want to know more about the Rules of Racing as they pertain to the training and racing of racehorses.

This class includes discussion of material included on the barn test (practical exam) and the written test. Rules differ from state to state, and this class points out some of the more important differences. Drug rules and regulations, including updated changes, are discussed in the Veterinary section.

For more information and to register for this Trainers’ Exam Prep Class at Lone Star Park, presented by Purple Power Equine Services & The Elite Program, Inc., call Dr. McLellan at 859.321.4377 or go to

Multimillion-dollar renovations currently under way are expected to be complete when Lone Star Park kicks off its 18th season April 10.

The 50-day meeting, offering purses totaling $11 million, runs 14 weeks through July 12 and is anchored by an 11-race stakes schedule, including two graded stakes for 3-year-olds and older.

In addition to a full calendar of entertainment, promotions and the highly successful Lone Star Music Series, race fans will enjoy facility improvements.

The main grandstand is undergoing a dramatic second-phase renovation, including a new in-house television system throughout and a complete remodeling of 21 group sales penthouse suites to include new furniture, flooring, and televisions.

Other remodeling projects include the 10,000 square-foot Alysheba Room on the second floor and the Dash for Cash Room on the main floor.

The Alysheba Room will include a new television presentation, featuring drop-down projection screens and flat screen televisions, and is being divided into multiple meeting spaces, which will accommodate up to 300 guests.

The Dash for Cash Room is being completely remodeled with an industrial stylized look-and-feel, featuring a huge video wall presentation, flat screen televisions throughout, a larger full service bar and Marazzi tile flooring. The room can accommodate up to 250 guests and features a patio terrace overlooking the racetrack.

Lone Star Park is premiering the 7th floor Hall of Fame Suite this season. Formerly the working press room, the area has been revamped into a group sales area to accommodate up to 150 people for special events, complete with bar, comfortable furniture, carpeted flooring and televisions. An innovative wall presentation will also feature a Hall of Fame of Texas horses, people and events that have been part of the landmark history of Lone Star Park over the past 17 years.

The 2014 improvements also include a state-of-the-art in-house television operation featuring new cameras, flat screen televisions, production control room and a revitalized graphics package which combine to improve Lone Star Park’s signal to simulcast tracks around the country. The main tote board has also undergone a facelift and will feature brighter, bolder colors, lettering and architectural enhancements to improve the on-track experience.

Further improvements have been made to the backstretch area during the recent off-season, including paint and refurbishing of the horse barns.

Live racing is set for Thursday-Saturday, starting at 6:35 p.m. CT and Sunday afternoons at 1:35 p.m. CT, beginning April 27 thru June 15.

Special holiday programs are also scheduled for Monday, May 26 (1:35 p.m. CT), Friday, July 4 (5:00 p.m.) and all three Triple Crown race dates of May 3, May 17 and June 7 (3:33 p.m.).

The two premier events on the 2014 Lone Star Park stakes calendar are the $200,000 Texas Mile (gr. III) April 26 and the $200,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III) at 1 1/16 miles May 26 (Memorial Day).

First post time opening day is 6:35 p.m. CT.

NOTES: Nebraska racetracks are one step closer to allowing bets on previously run horse races after a vote in the Legislature which would allow voters to decide if Nebraska should license and regulate wagering on the historical races…Scott Wells, president and general manager of Remington Park and Lone Star Park, was re-elected for the second year of his two-year term as President of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations (TRA)…New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez signed legislation Monday that will allow racetrack owners to eject anyone whose license has been suspended or revoked due to drugging horses… The latest economic indicators from Equibase show a 5.07% decline in race days due to weather-related cancellations, resulting in a 4.09% decrease in total wagering on U.S. races in February.