||Increase in Host Handle and Purses Noted
for the 2002/2003 SHRP Thoroughbred Meeting
Sam Houston Race Park Thoroughbred meeting concluded on March 30. The
80-day meeting, which began on November 1, offered $9.3 million in purses,
including 38 stakes races.
Racing highlights were plentiful throughout the meeting, beginning with
Texas Champions Day. The racetrack’s premier day of racing in which
Sam Houston Race Park and the Texas Thoroughbred Association showcase
the top Texas-bred racehorses, breeders and owners in Texas, took place
on Saturday, November 16. There were 10,822 fans present, with live handle
for the eleven-race card totaling $2,901,619.
In December, Sam Houston Race Park hosted the inaugural NTRA Great State
Challenge, a unique racing event in which Thoroughbred champions from
eight states competed in six races with purses of $1.65 million. The exciting
day featured multiple graded stakes winners such as Take Charge Lady and
Forbidden Apple, Eclipse Award owner, Richard Englander and the top two
leading trainers in the nation, Steve Asmussen and Scott Lake. Sam Houston
Race Park, which opened on April 29, 1994, set a new live handle record
on Saturday, December 7, as a total of $5,083,692 was wagered on the ten
live races. Also, a new all-source handle record of $5,740,995 was reached,
which included live, host and guest wagering.
The ninth running of the $223,000 Connally Breeders’ Cup Turf
on Saturday, February 15 produced yet another stellar highlight for the
meeting. A crowd of 8,236 racing fans were on hand to witness Dr. Glen
Warren’s Kentucky-bred turf specialist, Candid Glen become the first
three-time champion in the history of the race. The Connally Breeders'
Cup Turf set the second-highest handle in the history of the northwest
Houston racetrack. Total live handle for the ten races was $3,531,060
and Sam Houston Race Park handled a total of $4,190,994 which included
live, host and guest wagering.
"There were many highlights and positive aspects to the meet,"
said Robert L. Bork, Sam Houston Race Park president and general manager.
"Hosting the Great State Challenge was an excellent opportunity for
our track. We received excellent local and national media attention and
were pleased to welcome so many nationally prominent horses, owners, trainers
and riders to Houston."
Sam Houston Race Park had 80 live race dates this meeting, compared
to 82 in the 2001/2002 Thoroughbred season. Average attendance was relatively
unchanged with an average of 3,135 fans per day this meet, compared to
3,131 for the 2001/2002 Thoroughbred meeting.
Average live handle was down slightly with wagering of $150,932 per
day versus $154,226 recorded in the previous Thoroughbred meeting. There
was an increase of 3% in the average host handle with $2,034,707 wagered
on Sam Houston Race Park races this meeting as compared to the $1,977,474
average from the 2001/2002 meeting.
Sam Houston Race Park offered a total of $9,334,700 of purses for the
2002/2003Thoroughbred meeting, an average of $116,683 per day. This was
up 4.5% from the $9,152,318 in purses and the daily average of $111,614
offered for the 2001/2002 Thoroughbred meeting.
"Our racing office did an excellent job of carding full fields
and we recorded another increase in our host handle for the 2002/2003
Thoroughbred meeting," added Bork. "This figure confirms that
horseplayers across the country enjoy wagering on Sam Houston Race Park."
Call Me Lefty, owned and bred by the Christine S. Moore Family Limited
Partnership of Fredericksburg, Texas and trained by Tommie Morgan, was
voted Horse of the Meeting.
Steve Asmussen, won his third training title at the northwest Houston
racetrack, finishing the meet with 57 wins. Preston Stables LLC with 14
wins was honored as Leading Owner of the Meeting. A hotly contested battle
throughout the final four days of racing for Leading Rider between Don
Simington and Terry Stanton resulted in a tie with both veterans winning
Live racing will resume at Sam Houston Race Park on June 27 when the
2003 American Quarter Horse meeting begins. The 2003/2004 Thoroughbred
meeting, marking the tenth anniversary of the northwest Houston racetrack,
will commence on Friday, October 24, 2003.