Texas Commission Approves 42-Day Lone Star 2021 Season

The Texas Thoroughbred Association sought a longer meet from Lone Star Park.

During a teleconference meeting Sept. 29, the Texas Racing Commission approved a schedule for 2021 race dates in which Sam Houston Race Park and Lone Star Park will be the only tracks to run Thoroughbred meets in the state. The state’s other major track, Retama Park, will run exclusively Quarter Horses next year.

Because Retama Park agreed to transfer some of its Thoroughbred purse money, Sam Houston extended its application and was approved for seven more days than what it had originally planned. The track will now run a 46-day Thoroughbred meet from Jan. 8-April 3 before Thoroughbred racing in the state shifts to Lone Star Park for a 42-day race meet from Apr. 16-July 18. Both Sam Houston and Lone Star will also run shorter Quarter Horse meets.

The 42-day meet by Lone Star is a reduction of approximately seven race days from historical averages since 2012, Mary Ruyle, executive director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association, told commissioners before their vote, while opposing the shorter schedule.

 

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Texas Summer Yearling and Horses of Racing Age Sale Posts Big Gain in Gross as Average and Median Trend Up

The Texas Summer Yearling and Horses of Racing Age Sale, held jointly by the Texas Thoroughbred Association and Lone Star Park, posted a big gain in gross sales on Monday. The average and median also increased compared to last year, even with a much larger catalog on tap this year. The sale was held in the sales pavilion at Lone Star with appropriate safety measures in place, and online bidding was offered for the first time at the Texas sale.  

For the yearling session, 106 head from 137 offered sold for a total of $1,347,700, compared to 42 of 65 sold last year for $506,000. That represents a 166.34% increase in gross sales. The average this year was $12,714, up 5.5% from last year’s $12,048, and the median rose to $5,100 from $5,000 for an increase of 2%. The buyback rate this year was 22.6% compared to 35.3% last year. 

The format was altered this year to include a horses of racing age session, in part because of the cancellation of the 2-year-olds in training sale earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The session had 15 horses sell from 18 offered for a total of $162,500 and an average of $10,833.  

Last year’s summer auction had a traditional mixed session with 12 sold for $31,100. 

“The results of this sale were strong on their own, and especially against the backdrop of a health pandemic,” said Tim Boyce, sales director. “With twice as many yearlings as last year, the fact that our average and median still went up shows that there’s a lot of demand in this region for quality stock. We were pleased with the response to online bidding as well.”  

Al Pike, agent, bought the three highest priced horses, topped by hip 218, a Louisiana-bred colt from the first crop of Grade 1 winner Klimt. Consigned by Eaton Sales, agent for Coteau Grove Farms LLC, the January foal is the first out of the unraced Ghostzapper mare Ms. Character and sold for $120,000. 

Pike also signed the ticket on the hip 203, who sold for $100,000 as the top filly and second-highest overall. Consigned by H & E Ranch, Roger Daly, agent, the Kentucky-bred daughter is also from the first crop of a Grade 1 winner in Classic Empire. She is out of Just Like Pop, by Unbridled’s Song, whose only foal to race is a multiple winner.  

Pike also got the third-highest price from H & E Ranch and Daly with hip 243, a Kentucky-bred Lemon Drop Kid colt for $70,000. 

From the horses of racing age session, the top price was hip 16, an unraced 2-year-old filly by Twirling Candy. Martin Racing Stable LLC bought her for $27,000 from Eaton Sales, agent.  

Eaton Sales, agent, participating in the Texas sale for the first time, topped the list of consignors with gross sales of $454,800 from 28 sold. Roger Daly, agent, had the top average with eight sold for an average of $31,800.

 

For complete sale results, go to www.ttasales.com.

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Lone Star Ends Meet With Off-Track Handle Record

The track reported $2.1 million in average daily handle from off-track sources.

 

Lone Star Park concluded its 24th Thoroughbred racing season Aug. 12 with a record $2.1 million in average daily handle from off-track sources. The previous high mark was in 2002 when the average was just over $2 million per day. The meet saw a record increase of 131% in average daily all-source handle from 2019.

The average daily handle was the highest since 2004, the year Lone Star Park hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and reported an average daily all-source handle of just over $2.2 million.

 

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Lone Star Hires Patterson As Racing Secretary

Tony Patterson will join Lone Star Park as the new Racing Secretary for both the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meets.Patterson will assume his new role Aug. 3, at the tail-end of the Thoroughbred meet which wraps up Aug. 12. Lone Star Park’s Fall Quarter Horse meet begins Sept. 4.

“I am excited to welcome Tony Patterson as the new Lone Star Park Racing Secretary,” said Lone Star Park’s Vice President of Operations, Kent Slabotsky. “His experience, knowledge and enthusiasm make him a perfect addition to our Management team.”

Patterson brings with him 36 years of experience in the horse racing industry. He began his career at Remington Park in 1988 as the Assistant Racing Secretary/Stakes Coordinator, eventually becoming Director of Racing/Racing Secretary at the Oklahoma City track. He has held positions at Sam Houston Race Park, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs and most recently as the Executive Director of the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association.

“I am looking forward to taking on the role of racing secretary at Lone Star Park and thank Kent Slabotsky, Matt Vance and Tim Williams for entrusting me with this position,” said Patterson. “There are some incredible horsemen that support racing in Texas. I feel certain that we will present a very exciting Quarter Horse meet in the months to come.”

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Lone Star Approved for Two Additional Race Dates

Aug. 5 and Aug. 12 will be added to the Thoroughbred meet.

 

The Texas Racing Commission approved July 21 two extra Thoroughbred race dates for Lone Star Park. The racetrack near Dallas recently lost nearly eight whole race days after a racing operations employee tested positive for COVID-19.

Lone Star was granted the requested dates of Aug. 5 and Aug. 12, the first two Wednesdays of next month, for its Thoroughbred meet. The track was originally slated to conduct a 44-day meet April 16-Aug. 11, but did not get underway until May 22 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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Racing Resumes at Lone Star Park

The track has raised purses and added racing Aug. 5 and Aug. 12, per the TTA.

 

Lone Star Park, which suspended racing after the first race July 5 when officials were notified an employee involved in operations tested positive for COVID-19, resumed July 19, according to a statement from Kym Koch Thompson, a track spokesperson.

Texas has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 310,000 confirmed cases in state and in excess of 3,700 deaths.

The track has carded four stakes July 22 that were delayed as a result of its suspension of racing.

According to the Texas Thoroughbred Association, Lone Star has increased purses 18%, effective with its reopening Sunday. The TTA-announced increase is not reflected in the purses listed on the track’s drawn races through July 22. Maiden special weight races are shown carrying a purse $34,000, for example, as they were earlier this meet.

The TTA also states that the track will add two additional race days: Aug. 5 and Aug. 12.

Both divisions of the $100,000-estimated Texas Thoroughbred Futurity have been rescheduled for Aug. 11, but the second legs of the Texas Stallion Series have been canceled due to “necessary changes to the race schedule,” the TTA wrote on its website. The TTA said the hope is to run those races in January at Sam Houston Race Park.

Lone Star began a COVID-19-delayed meet May 22 that had originally been scheduled to end Aug. 11.

 

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Lone Star Park Closed Until at Least July 19

Texas track’s racing office continues to take entries.

 

Lone Star Park, which suspended racing after the first race July 5 after being notified an employee involved in racing operations tested positive for COVID-19, is expected to be closed until at least July 19, according to the racing office staff person and a Texas Racing Commission spokesperson.

Racing Secretary Tim Williams, reached via telephone late morning July 14, said he was readying to conduct a post position draw and was unavailable for comment. Messages left for Lone Star Park officials were not returned.

 

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Lone Star Cancels Through Week; Melancon Tests Positive for COVID-19

By Bill Finley

 

With Lone Star Park officials having little to say about the abrupt shut down of racing after Sunday’s first race, it was unclear when racing would resume at the Dallas area track or if the meet will be canceled.

Citing a conversation with racing secretary Tim Williams, the Daily Racing Form reported Monday that the three days of racing scheduled for this week would not be held.

Lone Star’s decision to stop racing may be related to the news that jockey Gerard Melancon has tested positive for the coronavirus. A regular at Delta Downs and Evangeline Downs, Melancon last rode June 28 on shipper Mocito Rojo (Mutadda) in the Lone Star Mile.

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Citing COVID-19 Concerns, Lone Star Park Halts Live Racing

by | 07.05.2020

Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, abruptly cancelled Sunday’s live racing program after the day’s first race. An announcement on Twitter gave no indication when racing would resume.

“Due to an abundance of caution, all racing operations at Lone Star Park have been suspended due to COVID-19,” the statement said. “Racing will resume at a date to be determined.”

Officials at Lone Star Park could not be reached for further comment.

Multiple sources told the Paulick Report a positive test for COVID-19 has emerged involving an individual employed at the track who has regular contact with jockeys or their valets. An out-of-town rider who recently rode at Lone Star may also have tested positive after returning to his home track from Lone Star, a source said.

 

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June 15 Deadline Reminder for the Texas Summer Yearling and Horses of Racing Age Sale

Horsemen are reminded that Monday, June 15 is the entry deadline for the Texas Summer Yearling and Horses of Racing Age Sale to be held August 24 at Lone Star Park.
The TTA is pleased to have a consignor incentive program for the sale. Thanks to the passage of H.B. 2463, which injects up to $25 million annually into the Texas horse industry, funds are available to rebate up to half of the $400 consignment fee for all horses passing through the ring, including horses not bred in Texas.
A similar incentive was previously announced for the Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale. That auction was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and all consignment fees were refunded.
The Texas Summer Yearling Sale has traditionally included a mixed session for broodmares and weanlings, but for this year’s auction only, that format will change to a horses of racing age session focused on 2-year-olds. If there is sufficient demand, an under tack show may be added prior to the sale.
“We know that these are challenging times for horsemen, so in order to adapt to the current situation we rolled over the consignment incentive to this sale and changed the format to give consignors an option for selling 2-year-olds and other horses of racing age,” said Mary Ruyle, executive director of the TTA. “We had a record number of entries for the 2-year-old sale, so we expect to have strong participation in this sale as well. We are truly thankful for all the consignors and buyers that have helped make this such an important sale for the Southwest region.”
For more information and a consignment form, go to www.ttasales.com.
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