THP Signs Favorable New Contracts With SHRP and Retama Park

After lengthy but quite amicable negotiations, the THP has negotiated and signed favorable contracts with Sam Houston Race Park (SHRP) and Retama Park.

First of all, both tracks recognized the implementation of the long-awaited Cross-Species Agreement, which went into effect last month. This agreement makes available significant additional dollars for purses in coming years.

In addition to renewing language protecting horsemen's control over simulcast signals and purse accounts, new language was added to our contracts ensuring that "additional forms of gaming" cannot be conducted at Texas tracks in the future unless horsemen agree that the share of revenue going to horsemen is fair. This is a very important measure taken to protect the rights of horsemen in Texas and insure that they get a fair share of any benefits derived if the state eventually allows other forms of gaming at our tracks.

Also, as a result of comments coming out of recent local horsemen's meetings at SHRP, new language was added to our contracts providing horsemen a voice in helping improve the condition of racetrack facilities and the quality of life on the backside. Among the items the tracks have agreed to are:

  1. timely repair all defective conditions in the stable areas
  2. correcting hot water supply problems to wash racks and throughout the backside areas
  3. requiring their kitchen vendors to reasonably price their food and beverage selections so as to remain affordable to trainers and grooms, and to maintain hours of operation consistent with race day schedules and training hours (i.e., at least until the conclusion of the eighth race on race days, if business so warrants)
  4. observing posted training hours (and break times), and opening access gates promptly at posted times
  5. consulting with the local horsemen's committees and a mutually-acceptable independent racetrack surface consultant on recommended procedures for improving racetrack surfaces throughout the state of Texas, as well as helping the THP pay for the services of such a consultant
  6. ensuring that all barns are adequately ventilated

In addition, SHRP horsemen's committee has already met five times this meet, and SHRP Senior Vice President and General Manager Bob Bork and Racing Secretary Eric Johnston have been regular attendees, generously making themselves available to answer questions and help solve problems. As a result of those meetings, numerous horsemen complaints have been addressed, kitchen menus and prices have been adjusted, and plans for correcting the hot water problems have been implemented.

Racing Secretary Eric Johnston has listened to suggestions from the committee concerning types of races to be written for future condition books. He has promised to keep an open line of communication with our committee.

Both SHRP and Retama management should be commended for their willingness to meet with horsemen, to act upon constructive criticisms, and to sign contracts with horsemen that provide contractual protections and benefits to horsemen that are among the best in the nation.

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