Texas Racing Notes From Mrs. Tittle

Letters from Mrs. Jill Tittle

Thu, 6 May 1996

Hi Al, I have been remiss in keeping you posted on what's what here in TX. Of course, I had it all planned out that I would send you stuff this past weekend, but my provider locked me out accidentally, and then we were with out power for a good stretch (one of those good ol' TX storms blew in).

Hmm. Where to start. Sam Houston ends it's TB meet June 7th with the TTBA sale futurities. Retama picks up where SHRP leaves off on June 8th through Septmeber 28th. They are opening with a day of racing for accredited TX breds, including 3 stakes--Tejas Stakes, which is $25k added 7.5f turf race for 3yos; Davy Crockett Stakes, which is a $25k added turf race a mile 1/16th for 3yo and up; and the Feista Mile, a $25K added mile turf for fillies and mares 3yo and up. Also on opening day, Retama and Coca-Cola are sponsoring "Get Mugged at Retama Park"--free 32 oz thermal mugs to the first 8,000 paid admissions.

I was thrilled to see that the first set of Breeders Cup races have made it to TX. Retama is hosting the Margarita Breeder's Cup Handicap, an 8.5f turf race for F&M 3&up on Aug 17th. SHRP hosts the John B. Connally Breeder's Cup Turf Handicap, a 9f turf race for 3&up on Oct 13th.

And things are rolling right along for us. Baltic Coast, the Shuvinski colt we sold at the yearling sale last year, ran his first at Trinity Meadows Friday. I didn't know he was running until after he had already run, so we didn't see him this time. He ran in a Mdn race for TX breds, 5f, carrying 120# (co-high weight). The next day, I read that he had placed, but I had no other details on the race. I was really curious, so I called TrM race office yesterday. Baltic is still owned by Jeff Plotkin, the fellow who bought him. He is trained by Jerry Saunders. I asked the secretary if she knew how I could get ahold of them--it just so happened that the trainer's wife was in the office at that very moment, so I got to speak with her. She started by saying that they just love Baltic. She explained that Baltic had reared in the starting gate and got left behind. She said that at the first turn, he was second to last, and that if the race had been half a furlong longer, he would have won. That's the kind of stuff I like to hear. I asked her what their plans were for him, and she said that they are sending him to Retama, and are going to try to get a race under his belt on that surface before the futurity (meaning, I assume, the TX Open Futurity). This all bodes well for his future. I really like that THEY like him--there is nothing worse than finding out the trainer that has "your" horse doesn't like him, or doesn't care much for him (her). I'm going to have to keep my eyes peeled for him. If he goes to the TOF, we'll make the trip to San Antonio to watch him, if at all possible.

Ken Quirk was pleased to hear of Baltic's success--it will help Herbie's saleability if big brother does decently. Ken said that Herbie has put on a little weight, but is going through growth spurt right now.

Monday, we got Kay sent to Cedarcrest for her prepping. She loaded and rode well, and Steve was well pleased with her when he saw her--she's a big girl. Things seem to be falling into place for this sale--let's keep our fingers crossed.

Was there anything else I had to tell you? Retama is still looking for a buyer, and I think there are 3 factions that are interested. Jerry Carroll from Turfway is interested again, as are a group from the east coast. The problem both groups are having is that the statutes in TX require that TX tracks be at least 51% TX owned. The only TX owner faction is a QH group, and they have made an offer well below what will be accepted. The soap opera continues.

Bandera, a small track around San Antonio which closed with the advent of Retama has been up on the auction block, but no one has put up the minimum bid. I'm not sure if it will sell anytime in the near future--perhaps if all three class 1 tracks get up and rolling WELL, maybe someone will purchase it for a training facility. Hard to say.

Well, I guess I had better get to work. Hope all is well with you and the family.

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