Texas Racing Commission Horse Race Date Calendar Committee Meeting: Work Continues on Plan for Race Dates, Stakeholders Voice Frustration About Condition of Industry

(Austin, Texas - August 17, 2010) - On Friday, August 13, the Texas Racing Commission hosted a Horse Race Date Calendar Committee meeting at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston. Representatives from the horsemen, breed registries, Texas horse tracks, staff from the Texas Racing Commission and various members of the public attended the meeting led by Commissioners Ronald Ederer (committee chair) and Kent Carter, D.V.M. The meeting followed a similar one held at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie on July 16.

Reiterating statements made at the Lone Star meeting, track officials noted that they could not continue to run the same schedule as in the past in the face of the double-digit decline in handle over the last two years. Track officials described a plan that includes: a single 60-day Thoroughbred meet at Lone Star Park during the summer; a fall Quarter Horse and Minor breed meet at Lone Star Park; a mixed meet, predominantly consisting of Quarter Horses, at Sam Houston Race Park; and a 24-day mixed meet in the fall at Retama Park.

The horsemen and members of the public generally acknowledged that the industry faces a significant problem, however there was no clear agreement on the plan presented by the tracks. Moreover, stakeholders from all sides voiced frustration over certain issues. For example, some owners and breeders of small operations feel that their interests are not well represented.

Committee chair Ederer said, "Among people in the industry, the level of concern is high, the frustration understandable. The race date calendar request process is critical. This meeting, like the one at Lone Star Park, provided a vital opportunity for all sides to communicate in an open forum.”

Ederer added, “The Commission is sensitive to the concerns of all the industry’s stakeholders. The choices moving forward will be difficult ones. We will be in a better position to make informed decisions concerning the dates that the tracks request as a result of the frank discussions at these meetings."

The Commission’s Horse Race Date Calendar Committee will host one additional meeting in Austin on September 1, 2010. Comments at that meeting will be limited to items on the agenda, which will be available at www.txrc.state.tx.us.

The Commission will entertain racetrack date calendar requests at its September 14, 2010, meeting. For more information regarding race date allocation, please email info@txrc.state.tx.us, or contact Bill Childs at (512) 833-6699.

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