by Shelby Downs
Thoroughbreds have been allocated 162 racing dates for 2008--down from 169 this year--by the Texas Racing Commission. In all, five tracks were awarded dates.
The commission, which met Oct. 4, awarded Lone Star Park 65 Thoroughbred dates from April 10 to July 27. Although the schedule is similar to 2007, the 2008 meet includes two fewer days of racing based on where the Fourth of July holiday falls on the calendar.
Lone Star’s Quarter Horse meet will comprise 31 days from Sept. 26 to Nov. 29.
Sam Houston Race Park will run eight fewer days in 2008 than in 2007, with a 62-day meet. The 2008 meet begin Jan. 4 and continues with 44 dates until April 5. The 2008-09 meet will begin with 18 dates between Nov. 28 and Dec. 28. Sam Houston was granted an additional day of racing for 2007 on Dec. 31.
Quarter Horses will take up residence at the Houston track with 34 dates from June 26 to Sept. 6 next year.
Retama Park was granted 35 dates for 2008 from Sept. 5 to Nov. 22, which is up three from this year’s 32-day stand. The 2007 meet, which started about a month later than in years past, has experienced considerable increases in handle and attendance, officials said.
The San Antonio track will also offer 21 days of Quarter Horse racing from April 25 to June 22.
As in 2007, mixed meets at Manor Downs and Gillespie County Fairgrounds account for another 26 days of racing opportunities for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses. Manor Downs will host an 18-day meet from Feb. 23 to April 20, and Gillespie County Fairgrounds will run its traditional eight race dates between July 4 and Aug. 24.