Sponsors Part of Plan for Great State Challenge

Though a self-imposed deadline has passed, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association continues to look for ways to bring back the Great State Challenge for 2003. Sponsors are being sought in earnest for the event, which debuted last year.

The NTRA board of directors had hoped to have plans for the event in place by March 31. Now, the board hopes to have the event scheduled, most likely at Sam Houston Race Park, by its June 5 meeting. If not, the series could very well return in 2004.

Sam Houston in Texas was pleased with the results of the first Great State Challenge last December, though officials with various state breed development organizations said a number of changes would be required if the event is to continue. Currently, the NTRA and Sam Houston are working on a sponsorship package, as well as ways to derive funding for the series.

NTRA commissioner Tim Smith said May 1 the Great State Challenge remains a possibility for this year. A major focus, he said, is on obtaining sponsors that could also hook up with various state-bred championship days that tie into the Great State Challenge.