Texas Racing Notes
From Mrs. Tittle

Letters from Mrs. Jill Tittle

Sun, 16 February 1997

Hi Al,

As time moves onward, the momentum of optimism for a successful opening for Lone Star Park snowballs. People now do not consider IF LSP will go, just how big it will go. I hope their optimism is well-based (and I think it is). Evidence for a "sure thing" is the recent record weekly handle at Lone Star--that is, over $3.95 million wagered in one week on simulcast alone. Gary West pointed out in an article he authored in The Dallas Morning News that this was a mere $300k short of what Aqueduct took in that week--and Aqueduct with live racing.

More evidence for a strong meet at LSP is the positive reception that is being given by some of the bigger trainers. Take for instance, Bob Baffert, trainer of Silver Charm. After Silver Charm's recent win in the San Vincente Stakes, Baffert indicated he would in fact run a horse in the Lone Star Derby. Most likely candidate is In Excessive Bull, although it could be most any of his several good horses. Other trainers that have indicated they will be present in April are Randy Bradshaw, Kenny Smith, and Tom Amoss. Some other big trainers have recently taken barn tours at LSP. These trainers include Dallas Keen, Donnie Von Hemmel, Bobby Barnett, Gerald Romero, and Tom Bohannon.

Last but not least, is the fact that LSP has signed contracts with ESPN, ESPN2, and Fox Sports SW to televise and amazing 27 races from the first meet. Awesome.

While success at Lone Star seems a sure thing, another event seems to be heading for a sure thing. Only this is not a good sure thing. Trinity Meadows, which has been struggling to stay within the realm of possibility, seems now to be heading ever towards foreclosure and loss of license. Tom Keating, who served both as chief financial officer and general manager, has resigned. Tom has been a very key player in the attempt to keep TrM going, and he resigned because he felt things were not moving in a forward direction for the track.

In fact, things are so not moving forward, the track is scheduled to be sold on the steps of the Parker County Courthouse March 4th. Curtis and Larry Lawley of Aledo, who have invested a significant amount of money in the attempt to keep TrM afloat, posted for foreclosure of the track. The Lawleys have paid the trM debt to the Texas Racing Commission (to the tune of $122k), paid outstanding cash vouchers, negotiated with creditors, and finally last month paid $500k to purchase the senoir debt from a Weatherford bank.

So far, the Lawley's request for a loan from the Texas Horsemen's Partnership has not been approved. Add to that the fact that although their monetary investment was supposed to secure them 3 of the 5 seats on the TrM board, thus ending the ownership dispute, nothing has been signed with the Ohio partners (headed by Jack Lenavitt, IMO, the problem behind TrM's business dealings). I cannot imagine sinking that kind of money into a business deal without getting that signature...But be that as it may, another problem that faces the Lawleys is that the debt of TrM is higher than they expected, including taxes, legal costs, and a nearly quarter mil. fine by the EPA. It doesn't look good to me.

Well, that is all the information and speculation I can manage for the time being. Hope you and Jerry (and Chance) had a wonderful Valentine's Day.


Jill Tittle

Life is not a spectator sport

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