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Retama Park Assumes 43 Additional Live Racing Dates While The Park Undertakes Repairs


The Texas Racing Commission ( has approved the request to move Sam Houston Race Park’s ( Thoroughbred race dates to Retama Park ( as a result of damage suffered by the Houston race track from Hurricane Ike last month. 

The Texas Racing Commission held a public meeting today at The Park and agreed to relocate 43 live racing dates to Retama Park in San Antonio.  The remaining 12 days scheduled for Sam Houston were cancelled and will not be rescheduled.   
“We are extremely disappointed that we had to cancel the Thoroughbred meet at The Park this winter,” said Andrea Young, Chief Operating Officer, Sam Houston Race Park.  “However, we are proud of efforts made by the Texas Racing Commission, the horsemen and our counterparts at Retama to preserve wintertime racing in Texas.  We plan to support Retama in any way possible.”

The additional racing dates will extend Retama’s current meet, which opened August 29, through February 28, 2009, creating 78 days of live Thoroughbred racing.   
The Park was forced to relocate the 2008/2009 Thoroughbred meet, which consisted of 65 live racing dates, due to damages sustained by the facility as a result of Hurricane Ike. The storm’s high winds and rainfall caused significant damage throughout the property including the facility’s grandstands, stable areas and the large infield tote board.      
Hurricane Ike slammed into the Texas Gulf Coast on Friday, September 12, 2008.  The hurricane forced The Park to end the 2008 American Quarter Horse meet one week early and suspend simulcast operations for more than a week.

The Park will re-open for live racing events on May 1, 2009, for the 16th American Quarter Horse meet.  Later that weekend, The Park will host its annual Kentucky Derby festivities. 

“We look forward to returning to live racing in the spring.  We will return even bigger and better,” Young stated.

Sam Houston Race Park is Houston’s premier racing and entertainment facility, located 15 minutes from downtown Houston, and offers a variety of attractions including 19 luxury suites overlooking the race track, The Pavilion Centre, and award-winning dining options at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant and Jockey Club.  The Park’s newest addition, The Showgrounds, is an all-ages venue that hosts annual Country, Classic Rock and Contemporary concert events throughout the year.  For more information on upcoming shows, events and tickets, please visit


(as previously printed in BloodHorse Magazine)

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Churchill Cuts Purses 10% for Fall Meet

Churchill Downs, for the second time, has cut purses for its fall meet. Among the casualties is the Grade 2 Clark Handicap scheduled for November 28. “Soft business levels stemming from the nation’s economic slowdown and the unresolved negotiations with horsemen over distribution of the Churchill Downs simulcast signal to national advance deposit wagering prompted Churchill Downs to announce a 10% reduction in overnight purses for the remainder of its fall meet, and reductions in purses for two of the meet’s major stakes,” the track said on November 7.

Overnight purses will be cut effective with the November 12 racing program, which will be drawn November 8.  In addition, the Clark Handicap purse will be reduced by $100,000 to $400,000, and the November 27 Falls City Handicap purse by $50,000 to $150,000.

A reduction of some stakes purses and the cancellation of two stakes was announced August 29. Almost $1 million was trimmed the first time around.

The Churchill Downs simulcast signal has been blocked from national ADW outlets since the beginning of the spring meet this year. Those outlets include, the official ADW site for Churchill Downs Inc.
The Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and Kentucky Thoroughbred Association have withheld permission to allow distribution of the track’s simulcast signal to various ADW platforms.

“The soft economy has led to a decline of wagering dollars industry-wide and resulted in purse reductions at tracks across the country,” CDI senior vice president Kevin Flanery said in a statement. “The inability to distribute simulcast signals to national ADW platforms has placed additional pressure on purses at Churchill Downs. We apologize to our customers for this inconvenience and will continue to work to obtain the horsemen’s consent to distribute the Churchill Downs simulcast signal to those sites.”


Leparoux Wins 7 at Churchill; Ties Day

Leparoux Wins 7 at Churchill; Ties DayJockey Julien Leparoux equaled Hall of Fame rider Pat Day’s 24-year-old record for most wins on a single card at Churchill Downs when his mount Runaway West ($12) prevailed in the eighth race November 11.

 The 25-year-old native of France won his first seven races on the day and had a chance to break Day's mark with mounts in the final two races on the special Veterans’ Day program, including 3-1 favorite Sinister in race 10. Sinister finished second.

 Leparoux won the first five races on Diva’s Gold ($6.40), Yikes ($7.80), Troutdale ($8.40), Gerivello ($10.40) and Variant ($11). He did not ride in Race 6, but returned for Race 7 and 8 with triumphs aboard Majestic Feline ($4.40) and Runaway West.

  Leparoux, who rode six winners from nine mounts at Churchill Downs on June 27, 2007, began the day atop the Churchill Downs Fall Meet jockey standings with a 24-19 lead over Robby Albarado through the first 11 days of the 26-day meeting. The record for number of wins during a Churchill Downs Fall Meet is 55 set by Pat Day in 1985.
 Leparoux was the leading rider at Churchill Downs during the 2006 and ’07 Spring Meets and the ’07 Fall Meet.
Day’s record was set when he won seven of the eight races on June 20, 1984

Dam of Eight Belles Brings $2.5 Million

Image PreviewAway, the dam of the ill-fated Eight Belles, was purchased for $2.5 million during the opening session of the 2008

Keeneland November breeding stock sale November 3 at the Central Kentucky auction house.  Sheikh Mohammed’s bloodstock adviser, John Ferguson, signed the ticket for the 11-year-old mare. The $2.5-million price tag makes her the second-highest-priced offering of the day behind the $3 million paid for Grade 1 winner Hystericalady, also purchased by Ferguson.

Consigned by Robert N. Clay’s Three Chimneys sales agent, Away (Dixieland Band – Be a Prospector, by Mr. Prospector) was sold carrying a full brother to Eight Belles (by Unbridled’s Song).



Casino Drive Returns to Japan Next Week

Image PreviewCasino Drive, the previously unbeaten Japanese 3-year-old colt who finished last after setting the early pace in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on October 25, will be flown back to Japan, said racing manager Nobutaka Tada from Hollywood Park on November 2.

“He cantered on the track this morning an dis feeling well,” said Tada.  Casino Drive had trained up to the Classic at Hollywood and returned the day after. “I’m making arrangements to ship next week. One option to consider for his next race is the Japan Cup Dirt,” said Tada. “He will stay in training next year for sure and could return here.”


Medaglia d’Oro Colt Paces Keeneland Sale

Image PreviewStockplace paid the highest price of $290,000 November 8 for a colt by Medaglia d’Oro during the Keeneland November breeding stock sale.  Out of the Affirmed mare Vanity Flair, the colt is from the family of stakes winners Music Maestro, Circulating, and La Grande Mamma.  Demand for quality foals continued at the sale for a second day, with weanling colts accounting for seven of the session’s top 10 prices. There were steep declines in the major categories once more, however.  A weanling colt by Tiznow out of the Hennessy mare Starboard Stinger brought $285,000 from Ben Glass, as agent.  Both top-selling colts were consigned by Eaton Sales, agent.  Keeneland sold 203 horses on November 8 for gross receipts of $10,835,200, down 36.4% from the comparable session in 2007 when 251 horses brought $17,038,200. Average price was down 21.4% to $53,375 versus $67,881 last year. The median of $42,000 was down 20.8% from $53,000 in 2007. The 93 horses that did not sell represented 31.4% of the total through the ring.  Keeneland’s November breeding stock sale continues through November 17. Sessions begin at 10 a.m. EST daily.


Peppers Pride Still Perfect; 18 in a Row

Peppers Pride Still Perfect; 18 in a RowUndefeated Peppers Pride left the door open for a challenge, but once again she proved too tough for her state-bred competitors, holding sway for her record 18th consecutive win in the $177,615 New Mexico Cup Fillies & Mares Stakes at Zia Park November 9.

After a wide trip and an early move to take the lead leaving the final turn in the one-mile event, jockey Carlos Madeira had to ask the 5-year-old mare for her best in the final furlong to hold off pacesetter La Sorpresa by one length. Silver Expression, who made a menacing move coming into the stretch after rallying from well behind, flattened out late to finish third, three-quarters of a length farther back. The final time was 1:38.20. Sent off at 2-5, Peppers Pride won for the seventh time at Zia Park while scoring a repeat win in the New Mexico Cup, an event she won by two lengths last year. Peppers Pride, whose career earnings swelled to $991,805 for owner/breeder Joe Allen with the $106,500 winning share, has raced exclusively against New Mexico-bred females.

Peppers Pride won her 17th straight race and broke the modern-day North American Thoroughbred record for consecutive wins in an optional claiming allowance victory at Zia Park October 4. In doing so, she passed the all-time greats Citation and Cigar, as well as Mister Frisky and Hallowed Dreams, who had all won 16 races in succession.

With Peppers Pride tentatively set to go to the breeding shed next year, trainer Joel Marr has at least one more start scheduled for her, the $125,000 New Mexico State Racing Commission Handicap December 14 at Sunland Park. While Allen is reportedly leaning toward retirement for the hard-knocking dark bay daughter of Desert God, he and Marr have not made a final decision on her future.


Major Handle Increase on New Mexico Cup

Image PreviewFinal figures have revealed that Zia Park had a significant 70% overall handle increase for its stakes-filled New Mexico Cup program November 9.  A total of $1,020,004 was wagered on the 11-race program, compared to $601,154 a year ago.

The New Mexico Cup program hosted 11 stakes races for New Mexico-breds, with seven Thoroughbred races and four Quarter Horse races. The total purses paid on the program reached $1,850,000. Racing at Zia Park runs on a Saturday through Tuesday schedule with a 12:15 p.m. first post time. The season concludes December 9.

Major races coming up at the New Mexico track include the $150,000, 1 1/16-mile Zia Park Derby Dec. 6. The next afternoon, older horses will go to post for the $200,000, 1 1/8-mile Zia Park Distance Championship.


Complete Simulcasting Calendar for this Weekend at The Park!

Come to Sam Houston Race Park for the BEST simulcasting action in town 7 days a week!  We feature a variety of broadcasts from Oaklawn, Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park, the Fair Grounds, Australia and more!  Gates open at 10:30 a.m.

November 14th-   Fair Grounds
November 28th-   Valley Race Park
November 30th-   Turfway Park


Stuyvesant H.





Cardinal Handicap



Churchill Downs


Glorious Song S.










Moccasin Stakes



Hollywood Park


Coronation Futurity




**All simulcasting tracks subject to the approval of the TXRC.

Super Hi Five Wagers Available at Sam Houston Race Park

How the wager works:

  • Must select the first five finishers in order
  • The wager is offered in the last race from the particular track. This will vary from track to track.
  • If there are no winning tickets, the pools will carryover to next time the wager is offered.

Tracks offering the wager:

  • Hollywood Park
  • Churchill Downs
  • Keeneland
  • River Downs

Park Rewards Program & Specials

“Play More, Earn More!”

Join Sam Houston Race Park’s NEW Loyalty Program, Park Rewards®, and earn 1,000 bonus points just for joining! Enrollment is FREE!! Sign up at the Player’s Lounge TODAY!



SHRP will offer a “last chance” DRF/NTRA handicapping qualifier on Saturday, November 29.
Don’t miss this opportunity to qualify for the Million Dollar Final in Las Vegas!

For questions please contact Paul Maciekowich at (281) 807-8828 or visit



  • Sundays

2nd Annual SHRP Pigskin & Horsehide Handicapping Contest

  • Mondays & Tuesdays

2.0x points for every dollar wagered on Turf Paradise

  • Fridays & Saturdays

Park Rewards Members will receive their highest wager lost
(limit $100) in Rewards Points via our Economic Recovery Plan

  • Friday Dog Special  

Bet on Gulf Greyhound on Friday evening and receive 2.5x points for every dollar wagered

Sam Houston Race Park provides great offers and benefits for our Park Rewards members.  All contest rules can be found on To become a Park Rewards member, visit the Players Lounge located at the North end of the Grandstand on the Paddock Level.  For more information visit the Players Lounge or call 281-807-8278.

Plan Your Next Event

Our conveniently located, multi-functional facility can comfortably accommodate 10 to 10,000 for business, pleasure or a combination of the two!

Find out how to book a group party.