Executive Director's Update for May 11

Plans are now underway for the 2001 Equine Conference at Texas A&M. This year, the event will take place on October 13. Once again, our organization will play a large part in the organization of the event.

I met with members of the Texas Equine Research Account Advisory Committee (TERAAC) and officials from A&M on Thursday in College Station. Initial plans were discussed, and a meeting date was set to work on the details of the event. Dr. Nat Keiffer, Chairman of TERAAC, announced that they will assist in financial support of the conference, and Dr. Bryan Johnson of the Texas A&M Extension Service pledged to lend their support, as well.

The conference will be similar to last year's events in that we will have a full day of topics that are of timely interest to our members, a tour of the large animal veterinary clinic, and an evening social event, with a keynote speaker for entertainment.

Mark your calendar and make plans to join us this year. The host hotel will be the College Station Hilton, and we have a block of rooms reserved at a rate of $75.00. When making reservations, be sure you state that you are a part of the Equine Conference in order to take advantage of this special offer.

Sammy Jackson, Chief Auditor for the Texas Racing Commission, released figures today that show a decline in handle for all of our horse tracks this year. If you compare year-to-date average daily handle figures for all sources of wagering against last year, the biggest decrease is 16.79% at Lone Star Park. Manor Downs was second with a decrease of 13.58%. Retama Park was next with a 4.22% decrease, while Sam Houston Race Park's decrease was the least at 0.16%. The area of decline is different at each facility and can be attributed to a number of factors, including the slump in the stock market, more competition among simulcast signals, Manor's on-again-off-again meet, and Internet wagering, which siphons off revenue from the tracks.

This information comes on the eve of race dates allocations for 2002. It is unclear at this point just how much this news will affect the tracks' decisions on requesting live race dates, but it will definitely be a factor.

Tommy Azopardi
Executive Director

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