Sun, 16 February 1997
As time moves onward, the momentum of optimism for a successful opening for
Lone Star Park snowballs. People now do not consider IF LSP will go, just
how big it will go. I hope their optimism is well-based (and I think it
is). Evidence for a "sure thing" is the recent record weekly handle at Lone
Star--that is, over $3.95 million wagered in one week on simulcast alone.
Gary West pointed out in an article he authored in The Dallas Morning News
that this was a mere $300k short of what Aqueduct took in that week--and
Aqueduct with live racing.
More evidence for a strong meet at LSP is the positive reception that is
being given by some of the bigger trainers. Take for instance, Bob Baffert,
trainer of Silver Charm. After Silver Charm's recent win in the San
Vincente Stakes, Baffert indicated he would in fact run a horse in the Lone
Star Derby. Most likely candidate is In Excessive Bull, although it could
be most any of his several good horses. Other trainers that have indicated
they will be present in April are Randy Bradshaw, Kenny Smith, and Tom
Amoss. Some other big trainers have recently taken barn tours at LSP.
These trainers include Dallas Keen, Donnie Von Hemmel, Bobby Barnett, Gerald
Romero, and Tom Bohannon.
Last but not least, is the fact that LSP has signed contracts with ESPN,
ESPN2, and Fox Sports SW to televise and amazing 27 races from the first
While success at Lone Star seems a sure thing, another event seems to be
heading for a sure thing. Only this is not a good sure thing. Trinity
Meadows, which has been struggling to stay within the realm of possibility,
seems now to be heading ever towards foreclosure and loss of license. Tom
Keating, who served both as chief financial officer and general manager, has
resigned. Tom has been a very key player in the attempt to keep TrM going,
and he resigned because he felt things were not moving in a forward
direction for the track.
In fact, things are so not moving forward, the track is scheduled to be sold
on the steps of the Parker County Courthouse March 4th. Curtis and Larry
Lawley of Aledo, who have invested a significant amount of money in the
attempt to keep TrM afloat, posted for foreclosure of the track. The
Lawleys have paid the trM debt to the Texas Racing Commission (to the tune
of $122k), paid outstanding cash vouchers, negotiated with creditors, and
finally last month paid $500k to purchase the senoir debt from a Weatherford
So far, the Lawley's request for a loan from the Texas Horsemen's
Partnership has not been approved. Add to that the fact that although their
monetary investment was supposed to secure them 3 of the 5 seats on the TrM
board, thus ending the ownership dispute, nothing has been signed with the
Ohio partners (headed by Jack Lenavitt, IMO, the problem behind TrM's
business dealings). I cannot imagine sinking that kind of money into a
business deal without getting that signature...But be that as it may,
another problem that faces the Lawleys is that the debt of TrM is higher
than they expected, including taxes, legal costs, and a nearly quarter mil.
fine by the EPA. It doesn't look good to me.
Well, that is all the information and speculation I can manage for the time
being. Hope you and Jerry (and Chance) had a wonderful Valentine's Day.