Manor Gets Reprieve; Agreements Allow Purse Money To Be Distributed Elsewhere

Manor Downs has once again been given a reprieve and a new deadline of July 1 by which they must complete all construction to bring the Austin area track into compliance with the Racing Act and the Texas Rules of Racing.

After an on-again-off-again Quarter Horse meet, officials at Manor Downs came to the realization that the final construction necessary to conduct a timely Thoroughbred meet was not possible. Installation of a safety rail, repairs to the video equipment and towers, drainage, and other issues which were impossible to complete in the timeframe necessary forced Manor to cancel the meet, which was scheduled to begin on April 21, 2001.

The Texas Racing Commission held a meeting at its office to determine a solution to the numerous problems at hand. Present were representatives from Manor Downs, the TRC and the horsemen's organizations.

The foremost concerns of the horsemen were the lost racing opportunities for all horsemen and use of the accrued purse money that was supposed to be paid out at Manor Downs. It was immediately determined that Manor was not able to comply with a rule which mandates that all purse money generated from simulcast wagering be paid out within the twelve months in which it was generated. Therefore alternative plans were necessary.

Leaders of the horsemen's organizations negotiated for the immediate authorization to transfer the purse money to other Texas racetracks in order to get the money in the hands of the horsemen for which it was earned. Additionally, to compensate the Quarter Horse industry for the economic hardships inflicted upon them, horsemen's representatives negotiated to have Manor pay an additional $140,000 into the Quarter Horse purse account over the next three years.

The Texas Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, which represents Quarter Horse and minor breed horsemen, voted to move Quarter Horse purse money in the amount of $438,011.78 to Retama Park as well as $334,502.94 to Sam Houston Race Park. This money is to be paid out as soon as possible, and Sam Houston Race Park agreed to offer an additional three days of live Quarter Horse racing. No determination has yet been made for the minor breed purse fund.

The Texas Thoroughbred HBPA, Inc., which represents Thoroughbred horsemen, voted to move approximately $350,000.00 to Lone Star Park and $250,000.00 to Retama Park for additional racing opportunities. Lone Star Park has committed to running 13 additional races for Texas-breds during the current meet, and Retama Park will card an additional four races during each of the Monday night Thoroughbred cards beginning on May 7. Any left over purse money at Retama Park will be added to the existing purse structure at Retama Park in the fall.

These agreements with Lone Star Park, Retama Park and Sam Houston Race Park will allow Manor Downs until July 1, 2001, to complete all repairs necessary to comply with the Act and Rules.

July 1 is the date on which all Texas racetracks must submit their requests for live race dates the following year. If Manor Downs is not finished with construction on or before July 1, the track will not be permitted to simulcast or receive dates for next year until they come into compliance.

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