Texas Panel OKs 2008 Breed Splits

Breed splits have been approved by the Texas Racing Commission

by Shelby Downs

The Texas Racing Commission approved 2008 breed splits for horses and discussed the closure of one of the state’s three Greyhound tracks during its Nov. 27 meeting.

Because breed splits between Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses have been a contentious issue in years past, all five horse tracks, the Texas Horsemen’s Partnership, and the Texas Quarter Horse Association had agreed on split percentages prior to the meeting. The Texas Thoroughbred Association did not agree to the proposed splits and asked the commission to maintain the 2007 percentages.

After hearing testimony from all sides, the commission approved the splits detailed in the agreement.

On imported horse simulcast revenue, the splits will be 83% Thoroughbreds to 17% Quarter Horses at Lone Star Park, and 79% Thoroughbreds to 21% Quarter Horses at Retama Park and Sam Houston Race Park after small percentages for Paints and Arabians are deducted. That’s a loss from previous years for Thoroughbreds of 2% at Lone Star and 1% at Retama and Sam Houston from previous years, which equates to about $350,000 in Thoroughbred purse money.

The escrow horse purse account, which is funded by wagering on horse signals at Greyhound tracks, will be divided 3.5% each to Arabians and Paints, 20.925% to Thoroughbreds, and 72.025% to Quarter Horses at all tracks. The percentages for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses were cut slightly from 2007 to allocate more funds to the minor breeds.

After 2% to Arabians and 1% to Paints, simulcast revenue dedicated to the Accredited Texas-Bred Incentive Program will be split two-thirds to Thoroughbreds and one-third to Quarter Horses as in 2007.

At the previous commission meeting, a request by track management to hold a limited meet at Corpus Christi Greyhound Race Track met with resistance from the Texas Greyhound Association and was subsequently tabled. Since that time, management announced that live racing and simulcasts will end at the track Dec. 30 and not resume in 2008.

“We will continue to have dialogue with the other two Greyhound tracks, the Texas Greyhound Association and the Texas Racing Commission with hopes that we can open in 2009 on some kind of seasonal or circuit basis,” said Scott Savin, chief operating officer of Corpus Christi Greyhound. “This is all predicated on significant losses over the past few years.”

Savin indicated losses totaled more than $1 million each year. Several members of the commission suggested the inactive year be devoted to completing structural repairs to the facility. The Texas Greyhound Association and racing commission will both work on Greyhound adoption and job-placement efforts.

Two commissioners recently appointed by Gov. Rick Perry made their first appearance at the meeting. Gloria Hicks of Corpus Christi works as the chief financial officer of Ed Hicks Imports and remains an active member of several charity organizations. Dr. Robert Schmidt resides in Fort Worth, where he practices orthopedic surgery as the chief of staff at Plaza Medical Center.

Rolando Pablos and Roger Ederer, both residents of San Antonio, participated in their second commission meeting after being appointed earlier this fall.