Mon, 29 May, 1997
I find it very interesting, being a member of the internet "derby list", to
see the number of people that decry state-bred horses and programs. Many of
these people categorize state-breds as inferior in quality--that the
state-bred programs in general encourage inferior breeding. I do not
believe this is the case, and I have always been a proponent of the Texas
state-bred program. This past weekend at Lone Star makes me believe some
people might consider changing their tune.
On Saturday, the showcase event was the Bob Johnson Memorial stakes, a
$50,000 event for 3 and up run at 1 mile 1/16 on the dirt. The most
nationally recognized name on the list of entrants was Zarb's Magic, a
contender in the 1996 Kentucky Derby. Zarb's Magic had a bad slump
following the Derby running and barely missed recent retirement. Luckily
his retirement was postponed due to a return of his pre-Derby form. He was
looking good and ready to go. His biggest opponent turned out to be
accredited Texas-bred Vindictive Silence. Vindictive Silence set
reasonable fractions early, was overtaken by Zarb's Magic, but dug in and
found some more speed, got ahead of Zarb's Magic. In turn, Zarb's Magic
dug in, found a little extra and rerallied to nose ahead of Vindictive
Silence and the wire. Surprisingly, a son of Barcelona, Humble Seven
managed to drive up into the photo, garnering a very good third place
finish. Zarb's Magic, Vindicitve Silence, and in the final anaylsis,
Humble Seven all showed they have the guts to battle it out like real
racehorses. It was as exciting a finish as the finish in this year's
Preakness--and it contained state-breds.
On Monday, Memorial Day, the oppressive heat (at one point the heat index
in Dallas was recorded as 115 degrees) provided an ironic turn around from
the chilly wet weather that has plagued this meet. This day also saw more
heat--those of the blistering fractions set in the feature race of the
day--The City of Arlington Stakes. This race was slated as a 5f turf
(first stakes on turf at LSP) event for fillies and mares 3 and up, for a
purse of $50,000. Texas-bred Icy Morn was the favorite in the
wagering--for good reason. The torrid pace of the race was set by Renato
Jo followed by the favorite. She set fractions of 21.28, and 43.93 before,
in the stretch, she was overtaken with amazing rapidity by Icy Morn, who
pulled off to win by 2 1/2 in the very speedy time of 55.76--which is not
too far off the WORLD record for that distance on turf (the record time is
54.8 if I remember correctly). By the way, Renato Jo was caught in the
end by Brenda Stahr before the finish.
It is amazing what these state-breds do.
Today Dallas native Jerry Bailey was to be on hand for the announcement of
which jockeys would be in the first ever National Jockey Championship. The
two top riders of this meet will be invited, and I'd have to guess that that
honor will rest with Ronald Ardoin and Marlon St. Julien. Don Pettinger
will probably run a very close third behind St. Julien. Pettinger managed
to win a dizzying 5 of 9 races the other day at Lone Star. All three of
these riders have been outstanding.
There are other newsworthy items afoot in the state, as well. The state
legislature has seen a simulcasting bill pass through the Senate, on it's
way to the House of Representatives and then to Bush's desk for his
signature. This simulcasting bill would allow cross-breed simulcasting,
that is, it would allow greyhound tracks to simulcast horses, and vice
versa. Why on this green earth, could they not push OTB through? This is
ridiculous. Bob Bork, manager of Sam Houston Race Park, feels this bill
will be the death knell for the track. It is true that they probably face
the most competition, for there are both horse and greyhound tracks in close
proximity. Bork can't pin a figure on the tracks possible losses, but
guesses it will be a couple of million per year. The other tracks are not
necessarily happy about this move, but are not opposing it either. Corey
Johnson, general manager of Lone Star Park indicated that they would not
carry greyhound signals for at least the first year, as they are busy trying
to educate bettors on horses first.
A bit of saving grace that also is a provision which would cut to nothing
the amount of state tax the tracks pay. Yes, I said nothing, and that
contradicts the information I got previously, which said just the opposite.
I'm hoping this most current information is the correct version. If so,
this provision would not go into effect until 1999, which would not save
SHRP right away.
Well, that is about all I have right now. I will be at LSP on Friday June
6th for the running of the filly half of the TTBA sale futurity trials,
hoping that Smooth Knockout (the Mr Redoy filly that we sold last year) will
qualify for the finals. Perhaps we'll see you there!