|Sam Houston Race Park to Reopen for Simulcasting
on Monday, September 26
Life in Houston is returning to normalcy
after a week of turmoil caused by Hurricane Rita. As early as Monday,
September 19, meteorologists were forecasting that Houston and Galveston
would be in the eye of the storm, feared as a Category 5 hurricane.
The forecasts got more severe as the week progressed and on Wednesday,
September 21, Mayor Bill White and city officials were ordering the evacuation
of Galveston and other Gulf Coast communities and urging all Houstonians
to stock up on critical supplies and either brace for the storm or evacuate
Sam Houston Race Park is not currently hosting a live racing meeting;
the 2005 American Quarter Horse season concluded on September 10 and Thoroughbreds
will return to action on Friday, October 28. The northwest Houston racetrack
is open for simulcasting throughout the downtime, but track officials
heeded the warning and like most Houston businesses, closed from Thursday,
September 22 - Sunday, September 25.
Fortunately, for the greater Houston area, Hurricane Rita was downgraded
to Category 3 status and made its major impact on East Texas and Louisiana.
Sam Houston Race Park, located 60 miles from Galveston, sustained relatively
little damage. Some tree limbs fell, a section of the valet oval cover
was destroyed and there was no electricity for approximately six hours
early Saturday morning. While flooding was rampant in Beaumont and Louisiana,
Sam Houston Race Park had less than one inch of rainfall from Friday through
The track was prepared to reopen for simulcasting on Sunday, September
25, but city officials had asked all non-essential businesses to remain
closed on Sunday so that the million Houstonians that evacuated the city
could return in an orderly fashion. There was also concern from Mayor
Bill White and other city managers regarding the scarcity of gas in Houston
and its surrounding areas.
"We had closed for simulcasting Thursday - Saturday and intended
to reopen on Sunday depending on the severity of the storm," said
Ann McGovern, vice president of operations. "Based on the recommendations
of Mayor White, we decided to remain closed on Sunday, September 25. We
plan to reopen on Monday, September 26 and regret any inconvenience to
our simulcast patrons for the extended closure."
Simulcast schedules are available on the Sam Houston Race Park web site,
www.shrp.com. The 2005/2006
Thoroughbred meeting will begin on Friday, October 28 and continue through
April 9, 2006.