Texas Racing Notes
From Mrs. Tittle

Letters from Mrs. Jill Tittle

Wed, 9 September, 1997

Hi Al,

Well, I have to apologize AGAIN for this taking so long. As you know, I went on vacation, after which we had family health problems, after which I had computer problems. With me, if it's not one thing, it's twenty.

Well, Trinity Meadows has actually been sold. Unfortunately, Lone Star Park was outbid by the latest infusers of cash into the projest--the Lawleys of Aledo, TX. They are joined by Weatherford resident Weldon Kennedy and Jim Dunnegan of Pantego. This group bid $2.175 million for the track. They hope to resume live racing there by using a pre-opening simulcasting to raise money for repairs and such, much as Lone Star did. The track has to have its license and live race dates before it can open for simulcasting.

Alright, lets take a look at this. The fellows did not have the know-how the handle Jack Lenavitt, and they lost a whole lot of money because of it. So now, they are going to take a track much in need of repairs AND a new reputation and run against LSP with it's successful first meet behind it? The pre-opening simulcasting was a smart move for LSP, but will it reap the same benefits for TrM? It might reap some small benefit, but it will not be the blockbuster success LSP is. People are happy at LSP, they will stay there in preference for a track that has to overcome it's bad name. Add to that the fact that LSP is much closer for the majority of horseplayers. My opinion? They might make it for a season, maybe two. I don't think they'll make it in the long run unless they make a whole lot of changes. I think they will wish LSP had outbid them--the facility would have been better utilized that way.

The Texas Racing Commission staff has issued their recommendations for next years racing dates. The meeting in which the dates will be awarded should be soon, if it wasn't held today. The following is the recommended "circuit" that would result from these dates;

LSP4/9 -7/19Retama (mixed) 4/10 -5/28
Retama7/22-10/31SHRP7/3 -9/13
SHRP11/5-12/27LSP10/2 -11/29

Note that Retama is the only track that has a mixed meet. LSP had asked for a mixed meet, but it was recommended that they have a QH meet instead during that same time. This is interesting in that it pretty much forces trainers of TBs to run at the TX track having the TB meet at the time, rather than ship to a track having a mixed meet. SHRP is not getting entirely what they asked for--they wanted the TB meet 1/1 until 6/7 and Nov 27 to Dec 27.

The Texas yearling sale this year was managed by Fasig-Tipton. I am sorry I did not get anything out on the sale before hand. Not having a yearling in the sale this year, I was not as aware of the impending sale date, and I didn't get my catalogue until the last minute. I believe F/T had some computer problems, so if you are one of those who didn't receive a catalogue at all, please call the F/T/T office at (972) 262-0000 so that they can put you on the mailing list. At the same time, Brock Sheridan, former editor of the TTBA magazine left the TTBA to become the advertising manager of Lone Star Park. I haven't gotten a July/August issue yet, so I would not be surprised if they haven't been able to get that off the presses either, so no advertising for the sale there.

This years sale saw an incredible number of yearlings catalogued--639. I didn't actually get to the sale myself this year, so I don't know what the yearlings looked like, but the catalogue pages were not necessarily better than last year. The select session looked nice, but again, I wondered at a few of the selections whose pedigrees didn't look like they really belonged there. The sale topper, of course, came from that group, and she looks like she belonged there--a Rubiano filly out of Nuclear Winter (Al Hattab) sold for $80k. The second highest seller was a Mountain Cat filly that is a half sister to MSW Bet Birdie--this filly sold for $58k. The average for the select session was $17, 064, with the open session following averaging $6,261. The buy back rate was close to 40% the first day, so sellers were not necessarily satisfied with the prices being offered.

The second day of the sale saw 219 yearlings run through the ring, with an average of $6,403, median price being $4,000. Overall 591 of the 636 yearlings catalogues went through the ring with 174 of them which did not meet their reserve. Aside from the $80k Rubiano filly, a Bionic Prospect colt topped the $60k mark. Two yearlings brought between $50-59k (one of which failed tests for soundness of wind and bone), four between $40-49k (another of which failed the same tests), and seven from $30-39k. Overall sales average was $8,341.

Overall impressions of the sale came off as good, despite the high buy-back rate. Kind of reminds me of last year's sale. Fasig-Tipton is pleased to be conducting these sales, and expect the sales to be better yet as time goes on. Fasig-Tipton has indicated that they will change the format of the sale somewhat next year. The sale will still be held at the Will Rogers Center in Fort Worth as no Texas tracks have indicated that they will build a sales pavillion yet. Next year, there will be no select session, and the catalogue will run alphabetically. In F/T's experience, these changes will not affect the sales of the top horses, but should draw the bottom end horses up. There is some concern that even more yearlings will be catalogued next year, which could be bad for the sale--there are only so many buyers in the Southwest. If the racing gets even better at LSP, as expected (purses for the next TB meet are expected to top $200,000 per day where they were over $160,000 per day for the inaugural meet), then expectations are that this sale will get even better.


Jill Tittle

Life is not a spectator sport

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