Texas Racing Notes From Mrs. Tittle

Letters from Mrs. Jill Tittle

Sat, 2 November 1996

Hi Al,
Finally got a chance to send this stuff along to you, along with the news of the day. That is, the state Racing Commission has decided that LSP will not race for 11 live days this December. They cite reasons regarding safety to horse and rider due to unfinished construction. So the real, big opening day will in fact be April 17th. Now, the delay in opening does have its consequences. LSP will have to pay a fine equal to what the state loses (monetary) from the delay in opening. This is expected to be anywhere from $35-50k, which seems a reasonable amount compared to the damage that could have been done had LSP opened with a poor showing.

Other issues hashed out at the Racing Commission's meeting were in regard to what will happen with Trinity Meadows since their sudden closure in August. TrM agreed to surrender their license if they fail to pay their debts by Jan 1 (as well as meet other obligations). In addition, TrM needs to come up with a $300k cash infusion and submit a plan for reopening to the commission before April 1. And where will they get the $$ to do that? Well, LSP owes them $250k as part of an earlier agreed upon settlement over the lawsuit for licensure. The settlement actually calls for LSP to make this payment after it's first live meet, but since that has been moved back to next April, that is up in the air. The commission strongly urged LSP to settle now, but Corey Johnson (general manager) feels it would be a hardship on the track to attempt to come up with the money now. But Mr. Johnson did indicate that since the commission strongly urged this action, he would back the idea with the partners.

All Texas horsemen realize how very much is riding on LSP opening and doing well. In fact a huge contingent of Texas horsemen travelled to Toronto for BC week to promote LSP to the big horsemen. Among others that went were Corey Johnson, manager of LSP, and the mayor of Grand Prairie, Charles England. Bob Folsom, former mayor of Dallas employs Dick Mandella to train his horses. Mr. Folsom is a partner in the track, so I would guess we'll see him here. J.T.L Jones has purchased some shares in LSP, so I'd expect more KY players to get in, as well. I would bet that the Texas connections get things going here. Things are looking up.

BC weekend also saw big things at LSP. That day, over $1.3M was wagered, which I think is a new record (although I didn't see any mention of that in the paper). That amount was wagered by about 4800 people. A good day, for sure.

Retama finished it's live TB meet Sept 29th with mixed results. They sustained a 15% drop in on track wagering on live days, with ave. daily handle at $340k, as well as a 29% decrease in attendance. Sounds terrible? It is not good. But on the up side, the size of the fields was good at 9.4 horses per race, putting Retama with in the top ten nationally. Maybe the quality of the racing and horses will improve while the San Antonio population gets educated to handicapping.

Interesting piece of info: Texas tracks are required to donate a minimum of 2% of on track handle to charity twice per year. Retama's charity day brought in $1923 which goes toward equine research at Texas A&M. This was their first charity day. Cool.

I finally got my copy of the TTBA fall mixed sale catalogue, along with the results. I went through the catalogue and then went through the results. I personally thought that the weanlings looked nice, with several by Maryland and Kentucky sires, the yearlings looked average, and the mares, mostly, poor. The weanlings sold better than I think weanlings have ever sold here before. The yearlings looked like a rehash of the August sale--strong top, soft middle and bottom end. Same with the mares. There were a few nice mares that brought up the average. It looked to me like there were alot of mares being tossed--that is, alot of older mares with nice blood that never produced anything much. But of course, my results did not include averages or any other significant numbers. I read in The Blood Horse that everyone was really excited about the sale--that averages were up up up. Good, I'm glad. Still didn't look as nice to me as I would have liked. Maybe I'm waiting for TX to turn into Keeneland.

Baltic Coast, the colt we sold last year, is back on the track. He ran at Remington once after recovering from a shin buck. He ran 6th. Let's hope he'll pick up off this out. The following day, another colt we sold (now a 4yo) also ran at Remington. He got 6th as well in a MSW. Sixth-itis for Tittle bred horses that week. Hopefully soon it will be a first-itis week.

Well, that is al I can think of for the time being. Hope all is well on the home front.


Jill Tittle

Life is not a spectator sport

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