Texas Racing Commission Sets Breed Splits For 2002

The Texas Racing Commission held a meeting on Monday, October 8, and what follows is a report on what happened in that meeting. THP Board members Connie Nobles, John Roark, and David Arnold were in attendance for the meeting, as was THP Executive Director Tommy Azopardi.

The rules proposed for adoption were all passed on unanimously. Likewise, the rules listed for proposal were also approved for posting in the Texas Register by unanimous vote. Most of the rules up for proposal dealt with the greyhound industry and some administrative issues.

The agenda item dealing with the action against a greyhound licensee was deferred to a later date. Then, Tim Craig gave a report to the Commissioners on their finances and budget. Subsequently, Mr. Rufus gave the TRC a presentation of his suggested internal audit plan, and they approved his suggestions by unanimous vote.

Since Retama Park had pulled its request to amend live race days, Chairperson Lacy moved on to the allocation of purse revenue and revenue for the ATB program. Bryan Brown, Bob Bork and Corey Johnsen all stood together at the podium and stated that they were in support of the agreement that had been worked out among the breed registries and the horsemen's organizations. They stated their appreciation of the efforts that went into the agreement and urged the TRC to approve that allocation.

Then, Howard Phillips gave testimony in opposition to the agreement as it related to Manor Downs. He stated that he wanted to get a breed split of 64% for Quarter Horse purses, 34% to Thoroughbred purses and 2% for minor breed purses. Phillips stated that Manor was concerned that it would not be able to lure enough Thoroughbreds to conduct a decent meet with less money than that.

After an exhausting discussion back and forth between the parties giving testimony and the questions and input from the various Commissioners, the TRC decided not to make allocations for the two years contemplated, but rather for one year only as follows:

  • Gilliespie: 2% to the Minor Breeds and the remainder will be split 70% Quarter Horse and 30% Thoroughbred.
  • Lone Star Park: 1% to the Minor Breeds and the remainder will be split 85% Thoroughbred and 15% Quarter Horse.
  • Manor Downs: 2% to the Minor Breeds and the remainder will be split 74% Quarter Horse and 26% Thoroughbred.
  • Retama Park: 2% to the Minor Breeds and the remainder will be split 80% Thoroughbred and 20% Quarter Horse.
  • Sam Houston Race Park: 2% to the Minor Breeds and the remainder will be split 80% Thoroughbred and 20% Quarter Horse.

On the ATB money, the Commission set a 70% Thoroughbred and 30% Quarter Horse split (after 1.5% comes off of the top for minor breeds) of that money generated at Lone Star Park, Retama Park and Sam Houston Park. Then, they set a split of 30% Thoroughbred and 70% Quarter Horse of that money (after 1.5% comes off of the top for minor breeds) generated at Manor and Gillespie.

The Commission decided to wait until their next meeting to deal with the allocation of Cross Species money. The TRC also approved the request by Lone Star Park for a special wager during the AQHA Jockey Championship. Additionally, it approved the management contract as submitted from Saddlebrook Park.

Finally, under new business, Corey Johnson informed the TRC about Lone Star Park being selected as a potential host for the 2005 Breeder's Cup. He gave accolades to his staff, the horsemen, and the TRC for all being a part of the victory for Texas racing.

Then, with what everyone thought was the end of the meeting, three horsewomen asked to address the Commissioners. Ruth Claflin and Charlotte Crider gave a brief presentation about the need for more racing opportunities for the "lower" Thoroughbreds during the spring of the year. They stated their disappointment that Retama Park did not get a mixed meet and asked the TRC to reconsider giving Retama more days. The Commission took no action on the horsewomen's request, but the TRC staff made a commitment to work with the tracks and those horsemen to address this concern in future race date allocations.

Lane Hutchins also got up and stated that she felt the Thoroughbred horsemen did not have representation and asked the TRC if the HBPA was ever audited. Mrs. Lacy asked TRC Executive Secretary Paula Flowerday how to handle that question, and Paula assured the Commissioners that the Texas Horsemen's Partnership submitted annual financial statements and that we are scheduled for a regular audit by her office next year.

With that concluding business, Mrs. Lacy set the date for the next TRC meeting. It will be on Monday, December 3, 2001.

John Roark, Connie Nobles and Tommy Azopardi stayed after the meeting to visit with the three women who voiced their concerns about the THP. Their concerns were addressed, and Azopardi assured them that we would work more closely with them in the future to make sure that their voices are heard and their concerns are addressed. Azopardi acknowledged that communicating with off-track horsemen has been a problem in the past, and the THP is open to any ideas to improve that situation.

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