Texas Racing Notes From Mrs. Tittle

Letters from Mrs. Jill Tittle

Thu, 4 July 1996

Hi Al,
Well, I had been anxiously awaiting the news of which tracks had applied for what dates in 1997. The tracks had to have their choices in to the Tx Racing Commission by 7/1. Now, the TRC staff has made their recommendations, although the actual dates won't be officially awarded until 7/25 when the commission meets. As I had mentioned before, the tracks were vying for those dates which directly coincided with the end of the meet at Oaklawn. My own thought was that Lone Star should get those dates, with SHRP's meet to follow that, and a split of Retama's following that, with some of their dates (as well as Trinity Meadows) to go before the opening of LSP. As it is, the TRC staff recommended something close--LSP would geet the dates following Oaklawn, and Retama, instead of SHRP, would get the dates following that. And SHRP would do the split beginning and end of the year. As it is, these are recommendations, not the final dates:
TB meets--

Only two tracks were recommended to have QH only racing;SHRP with 36 days (July 24-Sept 21), and Manor Downs with 39 days (March 1- June 8). Things look good, with no major disputes that I know of, so these dates will likely be approved.

Retama seems to be having a good meet--plenty of entries in the races. The racing seems to be not at a great level yet. Take today, for example. Start the card with 6 claiming races, none of them very high, at that. Follow that with a $25k stakes for 3yos (favorite for which is a horse named "Mister Herbert"--I've enjoyed following this horse simply because of the similarity to Herbie's name--"Sir Herbert". Simple things for simple minds....:} ). After that are 2 allowance races for $7.5 and 8k, ending up the fun with a minor claiming race. The lowest number of starters is 7, with several having 13 or 14 horses.

Trinity seems to have smaller fields for the TB races running right now--3 races today, with entries running 8 or 9 to the field. Quality is not much, if any, lower than at Retama--they also have a TB stakes race for 3yos, and 2 low claimers. Nothing to write home about, but not miserable, either.

Off Tx a minute, I was happy to see the Le Dome, the Salt Dome colt, is running today at Louisiana Downs--in the $50k Independance Handicap, 3yo & up, 1 1/16 turf. He is low weight of the field, at 108#, and looks like a good play to me at 20-1 considering his last effort. Maybe he has hit a track that he likes.

The count down for the TTBA select yearling sale continues. About 6 weeks, now. The closer it gets the more anxious I get. Alot is riding on how well the yearlings sell, and this market has been so up and down, it is next to impossible to predict where the prices will end up. Last year, the sale went quite well. There were a good number of buyers, especially for the first day. The way it set up, as it does again this year, is that Monday morning sees open yearlings going, with a lot of about 60 "select" going at the end of the day. "Select" is kind of arbitrary (IMO), as all of these yearlings have to go through a basic pedigree evaluation before they are allowed in. And alot of the horses in the "open" sessions are at least as good, some better than, the "select" horses. The second day is all open yearlings. Next year, I understand, there will be no select portion of the sale. I think this is good (from my standpoint) because it gives those of us without KY bred yearlings a chance at being looked at. Last year, the second day horses didn't sell as well, as fewer buyers showed up. I think around 500 head were catalogued.

The year before was much worse. There were over 600 head catalogued, and the day before the sale, the Dallas Morning News came out with the news of a big blow to the Lone Star Park development. I can't seem to remember which one, as there were a few in there. The long and the short of it was that no buyers showed up. People just about gave their horses away. One of mine went at just about the tail end of the second day. My friend Bonnie was in the sales pavillion about to die because the prices were so low. She said a bunch of intoxicated cowboy types were bidding on the $400 and $500 horses. Luckily, my colt went for more than that. Although he didn't go for much, he won about 3x his sales price.

This year, there are 585 catalogued. Expectations are that the sale should go well, on account of several things: Lone Star's simulcasting continues to excell, building a good purse account for live opening on Dec 14th; the near certainty of a 2yo in training sale, also to be held at LSP; the rest of the class 1 tracks seem to be getting decent fields. The conclusion being drawn from all that is that class 1 racing is going to be good here by the time these yearlings are on the track, which should draw buyers, especially for those buying TX accredited horses to run at TX tracks. Those awards begin to account for something when you have a horse running well (and as a breeder, I love getting those extra checks--10% of whatever the horse wins from 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place at a TX track). Also, Trinity Meadows has agreed to hold a 2yo stakes race, $25k, the weekend of the sale (Aug 19-20), which will draw people to the track, as well as adding value to any yearling related to those in the race.

We have plans to go to Summer's Mill tomorrow to see Herbie. Ken got to watch him out playing the other day, and that is where Herbie really turns heads. He is terrifically balanced for a yearling, athletically speaking. He is nimble, and very fast--and he just floats when he runs. None of this pounding of hooves. It seems that he got Ken's attention, alright. I'm looking forward to seeing Herbie--he has probably grown some.

Well, I guess I had better let you go now. Tell Jerry hi for me. Til later.


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