Texas Racing Notes From Mrs. Tittle

Letters from Mrs. Jill Tittle

Sat, 1 February 1997

Hi Al,

Guess it's that time again...

The first thing I need to do is correct a statement I made in my last edition of TRN. I incorrectly stated that ESPN would be broadcasting the Grand Prairie Gold Cup on April 21st. Boy, was I off. ESPN will be broadcasting this race, but it will be on June 28th. Whew. Couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that.

In the last edition of TRN I also stated that the conditions book was out (yes, it is). The stakes schedule for the first meet is out now--and it is an exciting one. LSP is offering a total of $2.725 million dollars worth of stakes purses. There will be at least twelve stakes worth at least $100k. These stakes include a number of Texas-bred stakes, as well as the Lone Star Derby, Grand Prairie Gold Cup, the $200,000 Lone Star Park Handicap, and the USA stakes worth $150,000.

The new stakes schedule can be viewed at the LSP web site http://www.lonestarpark.com I encourage you to visit the web site and look around. Take a look at the construction section--see how the park looks now. It's easy to imagine what it will end up looking like.

Stall apps are out and are due back early March, I think. Can't wait to see who will be here. Among those purported to be filling out those apps are Randy Bradshaw and Tom Buchanan. I will be interested in finding out all those who will be here--icluding those trainers that are currently TX based, as there will be some more lucrative purses for ATBs here than the other TX tracks.

Speaking of accredited Texas breds, the TTBA board of directors voted to add the ATB owners awards to the purse money that the ATB wins. This means that ATBs will be running for a higher purse in the same race here in TX than a non ATB. This move also increases the reported earnings of the ATB, which helps the horse, the sire, and the dam. This is an excellent idea, which has been implemented first at SHRP. Thank you, board of directors!!

Well, I actually have some news of Trinity Meadows. If you will recall, TrM's loan from a Weatherford bank was going to be auctioned off. I don't know exactly when it happened, but the note did get auctioned. The high bidders were Curtis and Larry Lawley of Aledo. The Lawleys have since been making an effort to pay some of TrM's creditors, as they would like the track to reopen as soon as possible.

The officials from TrM met with horsemen in Austin recently in order to request a loan of $500k. Yes, TrM wants a loan from the horsemen. No final decision has been reached yet, but Dave Hooper, the executive director of the Texas Horsemen's Partnership, has indicated that it is still a possibility. The money for the loan would come from the horsemen's share of simulcasting revenue at the track. It gets to be a rather confusing issue, since so much money is due here and there from this account and another, that this all seems like a slight of hand trick. The horsemen, of course, would like to secure the loan with collateral. Smart. What are the costs versus the benefits for horsemen? We really need the sort of racing TrM offers to our horsemen--especially if LSP will be unattainable by those horsemen that currently form the backbone of Texas racing. But will the ultimate cost to the horsemen run them out of business? I'll be looking to the resolution of this dilemma...

This past month has seen the usual changing of the guard at the TTBA. Former president Dr. Steve Hicks of Cedarcrest Farm was replaced by former chairman of the Texas Racing Commission, Hugh Fitzsimmons. Former executive director Jeff Hooper has finished his stint with the TTBA, and Fitzsimmons has made finding a replacement for Jeff a priority. Fitzsimmons immediately named Michael Barnett, a Dallas banker, to lead a committee who mission is to find possible replacements for that position.

The TTBA also elects board members at this time of year. Dr. Jack Allen of Cameron and Patricia Finch of Seguin were re-elected to serve terms. Five new board members were elected, as well: the aforementioned Michael Barnett, Larry Brumbaugh of Fort Worth, Philip Clifford of Paris, Ed Few of Jasper, and Tod Wojciechowski of Bandera. Three board memebers will be appointed to replace Stan Huntsinger, Bill McMorris, and Robert Folsom who resigned earlier. I will be interested to see how this new crew tips the balance of the north/south division that seems to exist in Texas racing now.

I believe I have covered all I had. I hope things are well for you and the family.

All our best.


Jill Tittle

Life is not a spectator sport

The Running Horse (http://www.isd1.com/)