Gary West

Proposed Texas Racetracks Win Licenses

Despite competition for wagering dollars and horses, the Texas Racing Commission granted three Class II racetrack licenses--one of them conditionally--at its March 20 meeting.

Texas Industry Still Hoping for Gaming Vote

The regular session of the Texas legislature concluded without tossing so much as a crumb toward horse racing, but the state's racing industry remains hopeful lawmakers could soon consider video lottery terminals for racetracks.

Wrona, Lone Star Can't Agree on Contract

Michael Wrona, widely considered one of the premier announcers in the country, won't be calling races at Lone Star Park this year. He and Lone Star were unable to agree on a contract.

Written in Darkness

By Gary West -- When Jose Santos and Funny Cide left behind their rivals at Pimlico, and left even further behind the suggestions of impropriety, the jockey stood in the irons and kissed his right hand. He flashed the victory sign, and then he opened his hand to the world, as if to show again that it held nothing.

Suspend the Horses

By Gary West -- Positive tests detecting the presence of EPO antibodies in horses pose an integrity problem for racing that is far graver than the Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6 scam.

Carry That Weight

By Gary West -- Recent weighty events at Santa Anita suggest that handicaps have become anachronistic. The events also recall a story that's ancient according to some calendars but nevertheless illuminating.

Lone Star Park Racing: Percy Hope Upsets Fifty Stars, 'Hoover' in Lone Star Derby

Lone Star Park Racing: Percy Hope Upsets Fifty Stars, 'Hoover' in Lone Star Derby

With its purse ratcheted up to $500,000, its distance stretched out to 1 1/8 miles, and its date moved to a more convenient spot on the calendar, Lone Star Park's derby became a genuine prep for the famed roseate run in Kentucky. The Grand Prairie, Texas, racetrack even created a $1-million bonus, to be paid to any horse that parlays a Lone Star Derby win into a victory in any of the Triple Crown races. It was a meaningful prep indeed--an ironic one, too. Percy Hope served up generous portions of both meaning and irony. The field, which included four stakes winners, had earned $1.2 million, or an average of $154,429 per starter, more than twice as much as the field for the grade II Illinois Derby. And Percy Hope, who previously had won the Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park, once again made winning look easy.

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