Lone Star OK'd for Breeders' Cup 'Head2Head' Bet

by Raymond Whelan
As Lone Star Park officials prepare for the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, they have received approval from the Texas Racing Commission for the "Head2Head" wager.

Lone Star spokesman Darren Rogers said a committee would designate two horses in various races. The horse with the highest finish would be considered the winner. Breeders' Cup has offered the proposition bet since the 2002 World Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park.

"We've worked a great deal with the staff at Lone Star Park as well as the Breeders' Cup staff to formulate the rule for this wager in Texas," commissioner deputy director Sammy Jackson said.

The racing commission also granted Lone Star permission to allow horses to race without head numbers--hand-sized black and white rectangular blocks worn by the horse for identification purposes--during any Thoroughbred meets. Previously, trainers at Lone Star had to attach head numbers to the bridle to help stewards determine photo finishes.

"Most other jurisdictions have a rule that allows tracks not to have these head numbers," Lone Star spokesman Eugene Joyce said. "We get several complaints from horsemen coming to our meet about having to use them. But most importantly, the technology is here today, with color photo finish and the improvement in placement and definition and patrol cameras, that they really are not required."

Head numbers regularly are used in Standardbred racing.