Sun, 22 December 1996
I sincerely apologize for not getting any Texas racing news to you before this. With any luck, I'll be able to get these out with more regularity after the holidays. I can try, anyhow :-)
I guess the place to start is with the news from the TTBA. The big news is that Clay Murray, director of sales, has resigned, most likely from the upheaval surrounding his partnership in some horses that sold in a TTBA sale. Interestingly enough, the TTBA will not fill his specific position. Instead, management of the TTBA auctions will be orchestrated by Fasig-Tipton. F/T sales will begin with the 2yo in training sale slated to run at LSP in late March. I think this is a wise move.
The TTBA annual meeting and awards banquet is right around the corner. These are being held in conjunction with the fourth annual racehorse conference being held by the Texas Equine Research Account Advisory Committtee on Januarry 11th. The events will be held at the Marriott at the Capitol in Austin.
The events are kicked off by the TTBA Life Member cocktail party Friday evening from 5:30 to 7:30. The conference begins at 8:00 the next morning. There will be a commercial trade show running continuously throughout the conference, which is quite fun (exhibits from farms, colleges, horse-related businesses and such). From 8:30 to 10, there are talks on TERAAC funded research projects, effects of Regumate on stallions, DNA typing in horses, risk factors on musculoskeletal injuries in racehorses. From 10 to 11:40, talks include how together we can make a differnce in the TX racing industry, diagnosis of upper airway dysfunction via high speed treadmill, and horse information on the internet. After these talks, there is a luncheon, with a luncheon address to be given by Robert Lewis, owner of Serena's Song.
In the afternoon concurrent sessions run--you have to choose which to go to. Not an easy decision! One session is all about yearling purchase and management, with talks given on prepurchase exams, nutritional programs, exercise and fitting yearlings for sale, and breaking and training of the yearling (the last talk by Bob Baffert). The other session is on business and farm improvement strategies, including talks on service available to the racehorse industry at TAMU, the Texas horse industry quality audit, the technology and implications of cooled equine semen, and pasture and hay for horses. All useful information.
After the conference itself (which is free, but registration is required), the evening activities include: 4-5 pm membership business meeting, 6-7pm social hour, 7-8pm banquet dinner with featured speaker Tim Conway, 8-9pm TTBA annual awards presentation with master of ceremonies Chris Lincoln, 9-12pm dancing and music by John Conlee (at last, a big name performer!). The cost of the banquet and awards ceremony is $50 per head if bought in advance (1/3/97) or $60 at the door. It is always a fun time. I am hoping to go, but alot will depend on Roger's health. For those interested in going, you can register by calling the TTBA at (512) 458-6133.
Now for some racetrack news. Although my report of this is after the fact, the racing commission did grant the extra racing days from LSP to SHRP. SHRP is now going to ask the commission for permission to race 5 live days instead of 4 when they pick their season back up in January. This would give the track 12 more days in the first three months, while keeping live days to 4 days per week in April and May. Bob Bork, general manager of SHRP, would like these extra days to appease the horsemen that would like more chance to race.
Trinity Meadows' office will be open until 1/5/97 excepting Christmas and New Year's Day so that it can pay previouslu issued cash vouchers. I have more info on TRM and the TRC, but that may have to wait for a later date.
Lone Star, however, has had nothing but fantastic publicity in the papers, as well as fantastic promotion in the racing world. The latest wise move made by Corey Johnson has been to slate, as well as personally promote and invite major names, to the $100k National Jockeys' Championship at LSP June 20th. LSP officials went to Las Vegas to the Jockeys' Guild convention to ask for participation in this event. Among a dozen jockey expected to be the the big D for the event are Jerry Bailey (Dallas native), Gary Stevens, and Pat Day. The championship will include a four race series on the different surfaces at different distances on "equally matched" horses. This is a great way for the big jockeys to feel out LSP (and hopefully make some $$ here) and pass the word to others that may not have tried the track out yet.
While LSP covers the bases with jockeys, and stables (stall apps go out 1/1, so we'll see who really shows), and owners, they also have been trying hard to make sure the bettors will be happy here. The high price box nad reserved seating has been selling steadily. In addition, there should be plenty of general admission seating, making the betting facilties easily available to all who wish to enter. More good news is that LSP has allocated more than *any other* track in the country for fan education. There is no question in my mind that this group is doing everything the right way. IMO, there are no excuses for this track to fail--if it does, Texas racing was destined not to be. I personally feel LSP will knock people's socks off.
It seems I never can completely finish with the information I have. However, I do have a bit more to send along at a later date. God willing and the creeks don't rise, it won't be much later.
If I don't get a chance to say this later, I wish you and the family a very merry Christmas, as well as a merry Christmas to the readers. May Santa bring you all the best things :-)
Life is not a spectator sport
The Running Horse (http://www.isd1.com/)