Texas Racing Notes
From Mrs. Tittle

Letters from Mrs. Jill Tittle

Mon, 29 May, 1997

Hi Al,

I find it very interesting, being a member of the internet "derby list", to see the number of people that decry state-bred horses and programs. Many of these people categorize state-breds as inferior in quality--that the state-bred programs in general encourage inferior breeding. I do not believe this is the case, and I have always been a proponent of the Texas state-bred program. This past weekend at Lone Star makes me believe some people might consider changing their tune.

On Saturday, the showcase event was the Bob Johnson Memorial stakes, a $50,000 event for 3 and up run at 1 mile 1/16 on the dirt. The most nationally recognized name on the list of entrants was Zarb's Magic, a contender in the 1996 Kentucky Derby. Zarb's Magic had a bad slump following the Derby running and barely missed recent retirement. Luckily his retirement was postponed due to a return of his pre-Derby form. He was looking good and ready to go. His biggest opponent turned out to be accredited Texas-bred Vindictive Silence. Vindictive Silence set reasonable fractions early, was overtaken by Zarb's Magic, but dug in and found some more speed, got ahead of Zarb's Magic. In turn, Zarb's Magic dug in, found a little extra and rerallied to nose ahead of Vindictive Silence and the wire. Surprisingly, a son of Barcelona, Humble Seven managed to drive up into the photo, garnering a very good third place finish. Zarb's Magic, Vindicitve Silence, and in the final anaylsis, Humble Seven all showed they have the guts to battle it out like real racehorses. It was as exciting a finish as the finish in this year's Preakness--and it contained state-breds.

On Monday, Memorial Day, the oppressive heat (at one point the heat index in Dallas was recorded as 115 degrees) provided an ironic turn around from the chilly wet weather that has plagued this meet. This day also saw more heat--those of the blistering fractions set in the feature race of the day--The City of Arlington Stakes. This race was slated as a 5f turf (first stakes on turf at LSP) event for fillies and mares 3 and up, for a purse of $50,000. Texas-bred Icy Morn was the favorite in the wagering--for good reason. The torrid pace of the race was set by Renato Jo followed by the favorite. She set fractions of 21.28, and 43.93 before, in the stretch, she was overtaken with amazing rapidity by Icy Morn, who pulled off to win by 2 1/2 in the very speedy time of 55.76--which is not too far off the WORLD record for that distance on turf (the record time is 54.8 if I remember correctly). By the way, Renato Jo was caught in the end by Brenda Stahr before the finish.

It is amazing what these state-breds do.

Today Dallas native Jerry Bailey was to be on hand for the announcement of which jockeys would be in the first ever National Jockey Championship. The two top riders of this meet will be invited, and I'd have to guess that that honor will rest with Ronald Ardoin and Marlon St. Julien. Don Pettinger will probably run a very close third behind St. Julien. Pettinger managed to win a dizzying 5 of 9 races the other day at Lone Star. All three of these riders have been outstanding.

There are other newsworthy items afoot in the state, as well. The state legislature has seen a simulcasting bill pass through the Senate, on it's way to the House of Representatives and then to Bush's desk for his signature. This simulcasting bill would allow cross-breed simulcasting, that is, it would allow greyhound tracks to simulcast horses, and vice versa. Why on this green earth, could they not push OTB through? This is ridiculous. Bob Bork, manager of Sam Houston Race Park, feels this bill will be the death knell for the track. It is true that they probably face the most competition, for there are both horse and greyhound tracks in close proximity. Bork can't pin a figure on the tracks possible losses, but guesses it will be a couple of million per year. The other tracks are not necessarily happy about this move, but are not opposing it either. Corey Johnson, general manager of Lone Star Park indicated that they would not carry greyhound signals for at least the first year, as they are busy trying to educate bettors on horses first.

A bit of saving grace that also is a provision which would cut to nothing the amount of state tax the tracks pay. Yes, I said nothing, and that contradicts the information I got previously, which said just the opposite. I'm hoping this most current information is the correct version. If so, this provision would not go into effect until 1999, which would not save SHRP right away.

Well, that is about all I have right now. I will be at LSP on Friday June 6th for the running of the filly half of the TTBA sale futurity trials, hoping that Smooth Knockout (the Mr Redoy filly that we sold last year) will qualify for the finals. Perhaps we'll see you there!


GIF 300X198

Jill Tittle

Life is not a spectator sport

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