photos by Coady Photography
Retama Park 2024 Quarter Horse Season Opens on Thurday, June 27

(San Antonio, Texas - Monday, June 24, 2024) - The 2024 Retama Park Quarter Horse live racing season kicks off on Thursday, June 27 and fans will be welcomed back with quality racing, refurbished suites and many areas throughout the grandstand and a full slate of promotions scheduled throughout the 23-day meet. Post time is set for 6:15 pm (Central) with the season concluding on Saturday, August 17.

Trainer Arnold “Bubba” Lewis Looks Forward to the 2024 Live Racing Season

Traveling is a big part of the racing industry, but many Texas-based horsemen and women are grateful for the opportunity to spend some quality time at home for the next 2 1/2 months!

Arnold “Bubba” Lewis has been training Quarter Horses since 2001 and is having the best year of his career in 2024. The resident of Bluffton, on the outskirts of Llano, Texas, has 28 stalls this season at Retama Park, up from 14 last year.

“Sunset ell Services sent me horses this year and is my biggest owner,” said Lewis. “I also started a partnership, Diamond L Racing, so that several owners could take a small step and get their feet wet. It can be expensive to own a racehorse, so this gives people a chance to get involved and see if they like it.”

Lewis won two races last summer at Retama but improved those numbers this year at Sam Houston Race Park, with 11 wins, 9 seconds and 7 third-place finishes. He won his first career stakes on June 15 when Open Jessies Corona won the $50,000 Jessie Yoakum 870 Memorial for breeder/owners Ty and Sierra Sadler. The son of Open Me a Corona will make his next start in the 870-yard Benny Pennington Memorial Stakes on July 28.

Quality distance horses are nothing new for Lewis, who trained the accomplished multiple-stakes winner Jack Ketel, winner of 12 of his 47 lifetime starts.

“He had a lot of heart and tried every time he stepped onto the racetrack,” stated Lewis. “In his last race (on November 12, 2022), he kind of told me he was done, so we brought him home, He’s fat and happy, turned out in a pasture with one of our pony horses, enjoying retirement!”

For several years, Lewis would attend meetings with racetrack management communicating the needs of horsemen and is happy with the changes that have been made this year at Retama Park.

“The improvement on the backside is great and they are really making an effort to attract fans,” he added. I am happy to see horsemen and tracks working together; it’s going to be a great meet!”

The top two Quarter Horse trainers in the country, Toby Keeton and Juan Diaz, Jr. will have strong stables at Retama Park, once again this year. Keeton has already won major championship races at Remington Park, Ruidoso Downs and Sam Houston Race Park, where the native Texan won the trainer title. Diaz returns in pursuit of this third leading trainer title at Retama Park, The 35-year-old resident of Floresville, Texas.

Entries were strong for opening weekend with each of the aforementioned horsemen, running horses over the first three days of the meet. Other conditioners to watch include John Stinebaugh, Brian Stroud, Roberto Madrigal, Kie Mushinski, Janessa Muniz, Jose Sanchez, Zack Stinebaugh and Angel Sanchez.

Strong Jockey Colony Expected Again this Season

Luis Vivanco who dominated his fellow riders in the recently concluded Sam Houston Race Park Quarter Horse season will return with a solid group of jockeys, including Claudio Aguilar, Victor Urieta, Jr., Nestor Duran, Oliver Martinez, Adrian X. Morales, Oscar Andrade, Jr., certain to provide plenty of competition for the 2024 title.

Last year’s leading rider Ali Rivera will not be at Retama Park this weekend as he has over 20 mounts in Rainbow Futurity trials at Ruidoso Downs. The 22-year-old, from Elgin, Texas, has risen up the ranks in the Quarter Horse industry, but promises that when his schedule permits, he will return to his “home” track.

“I am sorry to miss opening weekend at Retama” explained Rivera. “I was there last Saturday working some horses and was happy to see how good the barn area looked! Riding at Ruidoso means a great deal to me, but I look forward to coming home and picking up some mounts at Retama when I can.”

“We appreciate the support from our horsemen and had a great turnout at our open house on June 20,” said Bryan Pettigrew, Vice President and General Manager of Retama Park. “Our team has worked hard on facility improvements and promoting the upcoming live racing season. The energy for opening weekend is exciting for us and we look forward to a really good start of the meet!”

Texas Quarter Horse Association (TQHA) Yearling Sale Set for July 26-27

If you have ever considered owning a Quarter Horse, consider attending the 2024 TQHA Yearling Sale at the Exposition Hall at The Freeman in San Antonio, Texas. This year’s event will take place on Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27 with 402 horses cataloged and ready for purchase.

Since 1998, the sale has showcased quality yearlings who have gone on to prominence as champion race horses. Every yearling that passes through the sale ring is eligible for the TQHA Sale Futurity run at Retama Park at the end of July. Last year’s edition of the race had a purse of $700,000 and the winner, Dollar Bill, who was sold for $39,000, has already won seven career races and earnings in excess of $579,000.

TQHA Yearling Sale graduates are already making headlines this year as Kempton, a $30,000 repurchase, is undefeated in three starts in 202. After winning the $1,081,820 Heritage Place Futurity(G1) on June 1 at Remington Park, he is the top-ranked Quarter Horse in the country by earnings. The son of Kiss My Hocks was bred in Texas by Tyler Graham/Namgis Qhs Llc.

The TQHA Sale Futurity is free to the public. For more information on the horses and events surrounding the sale, click HERE.

back to THBPA Infomation