Austin, Texas, will have to wait at least another year before the debut of live Thoroughbred racing.
A joint statement released Tuesday by Manor Downs, the Texas Racing Commission, horsemen, and breed associations said the 2001 Thoroughbred meet at Manor Downs has been canned because construction that would allow the Austin-area track to hold the April meet couldn't be completed.
Apparently, there will be Thoroughbred racing at the track in 2002. Currently, Manor Downs is a Quarter Horse track that offers year-round simulcasting of horse and Greyhound racing.
Paula Flowerday, executive secretary of the racing commission, said Manor Downs "has made a significant financial effort" to prepare for Thoroughbred racing, "but the weather did not fully cooperate." She said the deal between the track and horsemen is a "win-win situation."
Manor Downs agreed to have the construction -- the track circumference must be enlarged -- done by July 1, the date applications for 2002 dates must be filed. In addition, the Texas Horsemen's Partnership, which represents Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse interests, will disperse $1 million in unpaid purse money -- $500,000 Thoroughbred, and $500,000 Quarter Horse -- at other tracks in the state this year.
During construction, Manor Downs will continue to offer simulcasting, which has beefed up its bottom line. Efforts to build a new track in the Austin area have stalled.