Texas Racing Notes From Mrs. Tittle

Letters from Mrs. Jill Tittle

Sun, 11 August 1996

Hi Al,
Well, another blow has been struck to TX racing. Earlier this week Trinity meadows closed it's doors unexpectedly. And I do mean unexpectedly. I had just gotten a TTBA update bulletin announcing that both Retama and TrM had increased purses at the very end of July. TrM had increased purses by 18%. Yet they closed, with horsemen, stockholders, and employees all caught off guard.

They closed on a Tuesday, and the horsemen had until Friday to get all 1000 horses off the premises. Most of the other tracks had full barns, so I guess alot of the horses running there had to be sent to farms.

The stated reason for closing was lack of money. The opening of LSP's simulcasting has slowly eaten away at TrM's customer base, according to those in charge of TrM. So why did TrM just weeks ago, raise purses? TrM owes the horsemen's account around $232,000, which the horsemen ought to vigorously pursue.

You think this might leave a bitter taste in horsemen's mouths? Think trainers from out of state might now be interested in coming to TX? True, the other TX tracks wouldn't (IMO) pull this sort of stunt. But if you weren't familiar with who is who and what is what, wouldn't you be concerned? How interested are these tracks in *TX horse racing* and making it go? TrM, it seems quite apparent, wasn't 100% dedicated to TX racing and horsemen. I feel quite sure the other tracks *are* dedicated to making racing in TX a good thing.

Jack Lenavitt, VP of TrM, would like to turn TrM into a greyhound track. Bad idea (IMO)--we don't need an alternative gaming form to elbow in on LSP in its infancy. Greyhound tracks are only allowed by the Texas Racing Commission to exist in the coastal area. The only way to bypass this obstacle for TrM, is to get a bill approved by the state legislature. And just imagine the timing--the legislature convenes again in January. I would expect stout opposition to such a bill, but that requires everyone to do their part to make their feelings known.

Turning to other matters--the yearling sale is now 8 days away. My stomach has started churning. I love going to the sales, but it is nerve-wracking when you have horses in. How many buyers will show this year? What sire is going to be hot this year? What will the prices be like compared to last year? A million questions that will only be answered with time. This will be a long week.

I called and talked to Jeff Plotkin yesterday. Jeff bought Baltic Coast last year at the sale. Found out a little more about what's up with Baltic. First of all, he didn't come in 6th in the TOF trial--darned Dallas paper. Jeff said he finished way up the track. The siren's song of 2yos--he shin-bucked. He's been pin-fired, and should be back in 60-90 days, probably at Remington. Jeff felt that Baltic has been kind of sore all along at Retama, but that he is already feeling better. Jeff also said that he felt confident that Baltic would come back and win. Good boy, Baltic.

Well, that is all I can think of right now. I hope there is not a whole lot else going on here in the next week, unless it is *really good*. Hope all is well with the family. And we'll see you in 8 days at the sale!!


Jill Tittle

Life is not a spectator sport

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