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 Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order no. GA-23, issued this Monday, will allow for the reopening of the state’s simulcast racing on May 22. The order, relating to the expanded opening of Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster, states that facilities may “operate at up to 25 percent of the total sited occupancy of the establishment.”
At 9 p.m. ET Monday, Lone Star Park has not made an official announcement regarding whether or not it is prepared to begin live racing on the 22nd, this coming Friday.
Executive Order No. GA-23, reads, in part:
“Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 22, 2020, for all Texas counties except Deaf Smith, El Paso, Moore, Potter, and Randall counties:
D. Bowling alleys, bingo halls, simulcast racing to the extent authorized by state law, and skating rinks that operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy of the establishment; provided, however, that (i) bowling alleys must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating lanes; and (ii) components of the establishments that have video arcades must remain closed.
E. Rodeos and equestrian events that operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy or, for outdoor areas, at up to 25 percent of the normal operating limits as determined by the facility owner; provided, however, that this authorizes only the rodeo or equestrian event and not larger gatherings, such as county fairs, in which such an event may be held.”
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