Texas Racing Notes From Mrs. Tittle

Letters from Mrs. Jill Tittle

Sat, 1 Dec 1995

Hi Al,
Things keep moving on the TX front. Retama ended up having to close early because investors did not approve the release of funds which could have kept them afloat. In the meantime, insolvency proceedings are taking place in which the Retama Developement Corp. will determine the best route for to take. If they don't receive a cash infusion by next year's TB meet, they will not be able to open. Luckily, they are still able to simulcast. Unfortunately, the closing caused 250 employees to be terminated.

Investor and Turfway Park chairman Jerry Carroll, the lone veto for the cash infusion needed, has discussed further his interest in being part of a group to buy Retama.In a quote taken from the Blood- Horse Des 2 issue, "...he noted that a complete business shutdown would bring the value of the trackdown to such a low price that, 'people will be shocked, but a purchase price that the market can support it.' " Also from the same issue, "The $56 million worth of bonds used to finance construction of the track are trading at 50 cents on the dollar." Let's just hope Retama gets back on track (in a manner of speaking) before the TB meet.

In happier news, Lone Star Park, the Dallas area class 1 track has begun construction. The initial construction will begin with the simulcasting pavillion in order to open for simulcasting before the live racing opens. This is something neither Retama or Sam Houston was able to do. Also, Lone Star will be opening with a lower debt of $15 million vs the $56 and $75 million respectively that the others opened with. This lower debt is possible because the residents of Grand Prairie, the town in which the track is being built, approved a 1/2 cent increase in the sales tax, which will cover $40 million worth of the debt. Thank you, Grand Prairie residents!!

On the breeding industry front, it looks like McDermott Ranch scores again. They had a roster last year which included Smile, Spend A Buck, and Naevus. Their next additions are from Elmdorf Farm near Lexingtion--Zignew and Reign Road. I almost think that we are getting too many stallions to meet the mare market. I expect these stallions to be competing heavily for the mares which are of better quality. Although there is no doubt that the quality of mares in TX has improved dramatically in the past few years, I am not sure we have enough to warrant this many new stallions. We have several stallions on the lists of national top sires in the categories of sires of 2yos as well as freshman sires. Currently Triple Sec is #54 for leading sires of 2yos. He has been a fixture at Summers Mill Farm, and will stand there again next year. Fight Over follows at #59--he stood last year and this at Heritage Ranch in Richmond (near Houston). Bet Twice ends that lisy at #70. He is newly moved to Cedar Creek Farm in Brenham. We're a little higher up on the freshman sires list. Hadif remains at #11. He stands at Valor farm in Pilot Point (north of Dallas). Valor is owned by the Scharbaeurs, and was built in the KY tradition--it's quite a showplace. Hadif is folowed at #22 by a half brother to Groovy, Kentucky Jazz. KJ was bred by and stands at Robinson farm in Fort Worth. We then jump down to Castle Howard at #47. I know absolutely nothing about this horse. I would guess he stands privately. At #60, Raise A Governor is another one I haven't heard of.

I was happy to see that Foreign Holding sired a winner. He stood in Maybank, but we bought a mare in foal to FH. I sold the colt at last year's sale, and am hoping he will race before too long. He was a late baby, so perhaps he is being held back until next year. He was bought by James Hunt, a trainer whom I have heard lives in Tyler and runs his horses in LA. I'd like to know how that colt (Itchy Knickers) is doing.

We went to look at a TB weanling filly that is in Bristol (where our horses are). I'd like to find out her bloodlines--the man who has her has no idea, but thinks she is already registered. He wants to get a good working-stock QH yearling to bring up. We know a fellow who has a herd of foundation-bred QHs (you can't get much better working-stock) over in Mineral Wells, west of Weatherford. The TB filly is well built, surely enough. If she has decent bloodlines, we might be able to finagle a trade-off, three-ways. Hopefully we can go soon.

Well, that's all I know for right now. I hope the family is doing well--say hi to them for us!


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