Texas Racing Notes
From Mrs. Tittle

Letters from Mrs. Jill Tittle

Mon, 21 July, 1997

Hi Al,

Alot has happened since I last wrote. Hope you will forgive me if I miss some of it inadvertently.

The June 27th National Jockey Championship, brainchild of LSP general manager, Corey Johnson, brought together 12 of the best jockeys riding, including hall-of-famers Jerry Bailey, Pat Day, Laffit Pincay Jr., Gary Stevens, Chris McCarron, Eddie Delahousay, Jorge Velasquez. Other rising stars included Mike Smith, Shane Sellers, Keny Desormeaux, and local top riders Ronald Ardoin and Marlon St. Julien.

The day of the Championship was hot, hot, hot. The heat was not all weather related, either. Jockeys were available to sign autographs from 4:30 in the afternoon until 6pm (which is a long stint in the sun right before riding). The lines for autographs from the various groups of jockeys were anywhere from long to unfathomable. Each group of jockeys signed countless autographs at $5 per customer which went to the National Jockeys Guild.

The mood was clearly felt by all 15,000+ in attendance--and it was a mood of real enjoyment edged with the electricity of competition. All the riders were patient in allowing photographs to be taken and in giving interviews. The jockeys clearly were having a good time in between races, and were clearly riding competitively. The fans were not forgotten, either, as jocks tossed autographed goggles out into the crowds after every race. Media reporting in the aftermath commented endlessly on how nice and polite the riders were--unlike most other professional sports. What a joy to showcase these athletes.

The competition was fierce amongst the riders, and all rode the races as if the horse they were on had the potential to be the next triple crown winner. After four close finishes, the winner was Gary Stevens. Despite the fact that Stevens did not win a single race of the four, he accumulated the most points by being in the money the most frequently. Chris McCarron came in second, followed by Jerry Bailey, Pat Day, and Ron Ardoin. It was an awesome night, and riders and fans alike had a wonderful time. Hopefully this will become an annual event, and if so, it should clearly be televised so everyone can join in the fun.

Well, the follow-up the the fabulous Jockey Championship was no less exciting. The Fourth of July weekend boasted the Lone Stars and Stripes festival at LSP. The festival showcased bands, booths of crafts, and so on. In addition, there was a fireworks show on the night of the 4th. Fireworks always draw a large crowd, as it did in this case--over 20,000--but the horses pay the price. Be that as it may, the festival was popular, despite the heat and humidity.

To me, however, the festival and fireworks were not the main attraction, the racing was. The fourth boasted the Lone Star Handicap, for which Bob Baffert brought two horses--Isitingood, a previous LS stakes winner, and Lord Jain, who is owned by former Dallas mayor Bob Folsom. Other runners included Handel, Vindictive Silence, Lost Soldier, Humble Seven, and Connecting Terms. Despite being the overpowering favorite, Isitingood couldn't muster up enough to get past Art Prestonwood's Connecting Terms. Humble Seven charged up in the stretch to collar Isitingood, as well, although he couldn't get past the winner. It was quite an exciting race.

On the fifth, LS showcased the USA Stakes, which was to be 1 1/6 on the turf. Contestants for the race included another Baffert trainee and LS stakes winner Anet, as well as PT Indy, Capote's Prospect, Canboulay, Crimson Classic, and Letterhead. A huge factor in the race (IMO) was that heavy morning rains meant the race was switched to the dirt track. Anet, little horse with alot of run, was clearly the best this day. Crimson Classic stalked Anet and was passed briefly by PT Indy before regaining his second place position all the way past the wire. PT Indy was an incredible 23+ lengths in front of next place horse, Canboulay. This is where the switch to dirt took it's toll, IMO. I have watched Capote's Prospect run on both dirt and turf--and he is absolutely a turf horse. Racing luck shows its head again.

On the sixth, The Texas Hall of Fame Stakes was run for 3yo Texas-bred fillies. The slow track made racing difficult for the fillies, but the 6f was still won in 1:10 and change by KY shipper Rhonda's Legs. Two Steppin' Toni managed to hang in for second and Sharons Song came in for third in front of Coopers Top Angel. A nice race for TX bred fillies.

Despite the fact that heavy morning rains hampered track condition, it was another great weekend of racing for LSP.

Well, Al, I think that is all I have for right now. Take care, and I hope you and the family are well.


GIF 300X201

Jill Tittle

Life is not a spectator sport

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