Texas Racing Notes
From Mrs. Tittle

Letters from Mrs. Jill Tittle

Wed, 30 July, 1997

Hi Al,

Well, the inaugural season at LSP has drawn to a close. What an exciting meet it was. Lone Star lived up to the almost giddy expectations held for it. But first, let me recap one of the bigger races since I wrote last time.

The Mid-South Futurity, a $200,000 race for 2yos from TX, Arkansas, Oklahoma, or Louisiana was a great showcase for our young talent. Fobby O, a No-Name Ranch bred colt by Fobby Forbes had won his trial by 10 lengths. His most feared rivals were the Walesa colt Cowboy Dan, and the Bob Baffert trainee Love N Money. The speedy Fobby O led the pack. Cowboy Dan had a little manuevering to do to get around other runners, but once he got clear, he zipped by Fobby O. Fobby O was second best, but still 4 1/2 lengths in front of the next to cross the wire, the filly Cotton House Bay. Love N money finished back in the pack.

Cowboy Dan was a fabulous buy at last year's TTBA sale, having sold for $1,600. This spring, Danny Hutt caught notice of him, and the colt was eventually purchased by a partnership for a price rumored to be somewhere around a quarter of a million. Danny Hutt knew what he was doing, and the colt just won back a hefty amount towards his purchase price. Amazing.

Lone Star's star sparkled this meeting, as did Lone Star itself. Lone Star had 73 live days of racing. The average daily attendance was 9,762, with an average daily handle of over $1.3M including money bet on the races through simulcasting. The average per capita wager was $137 per day. These numbers beat all the numbers from other opening meets of area tracks--tracks including Retama, SHRP, Trinity Meadows, Remington, and LaD. The only exception to that being the average daily attendance--at Remington, the number was 11,130, although the per capita wagering was less than Lone Star's.

The top trainer of the meet was Dallas Keen, after a nose to nose battle with Jim Gaston. Keen pulled ahead, though, after Gaston shipped his stable to LaD when that meet opened July 4th. The highest win percentage seems to go to Larry Robideaux with 38% of his starters winning, and an overall standing of 4th. The top two jocks held their postions pretty firmly throughout the meet, with Ron Ardoin coming in first with 92 wins (20%) over Marlon St Julien's 87 (19%). Jockey Todd Glasser, 5th overall, had the highest win percentage at 24% (I don't think it hurt him to ride alot of Dallas Keen trainees).

As far as problems with the first season, the biggest problem, after having secured rave reviews in the beginning, was the track surface. The main track was very fast, and seemed not to handle water well. The turf course was surprisingly speed-favoring-firm, firmer than should probably be. Other problems, of course, were not enough stalls to accomodate many of the horsemen that fought so hard to have racing in Texas. Also, overlap at three tracks--LSP, LaD, and Remington, toward the end of the LS meet, meant difficulty with fields. Although some of the races had short fields, perhaps the biggest problem was the dilution of the quality of horses running.

LSP held a meeting with the horsemen directly at the conclusion of the meet. These problems, I feel confident, will be handled. More work on the racing surface itself--now that we can see how the track adjusted with the changes in climate here, the surface can be modified. The track dates overlap would be taken care of if LS receives the dates they requested from the TRC--dates which would see opening two weeks earlier in the year. And as far as the shortage of stalls, well that might just be in the process of being handled too. Rumor has it that LSP has submitted a $1.85M bid on the defunct TrM (didn't I suggest this earlier?). The bid would be discussed after foreclosure proceedings have taken place. I actually just heard this news, and I hope my resource is correct, as I think that would be the perfect solution.

On a personal note, I loved going to LSP. I got to see some of the babies we bred run there, got to meet some outstanding people, and just generally had a great time. I can hardly wait for the mixed meet which opens October 3rd (just in time for my birthday). I also should mention that LSP's web site has made some drastic improvements. Visit it at . If you think of anything you'd like to see on the site, I encourage you to respond to them (look in the fine print at the bottom--they have a link to someone who can and will field your comments).

In the meantime, I am going on vacation for a couple of weeks. I'll catch you up to date with the latest goings on after I get back!!


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Jill Tittle

Life is not a spectator sport

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