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WINTER CARNIVAL AT SAM HOUSTON RACE PARK
Spectacular Rides, Games and More For the Whole Family
December 19, 2008 Through January 19, 2009

WHAT:           Sam Houston Race Park (www.shrp.com) will host a Winter Carnival in the parking lot of the facility from Friday, December 19, 2008 through Sunday, January 19, 2009.  The month-long festival features thrilling rides for adults and kids, exciting boardwalk games, an array of carnival food, prizes and more.  Tickets are $20 all-you-can-ride and can be purchased at the event. Parking for the event is free.  For more information visit www.shrp.com.

WHO:             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 www.theshowgrounds.com.

WHEN:           Wednesday, December 10, 2008 - Sunday, January 19, 2009
                        Monday – Thursday              4 p.m.  – 11 p.m.
                        Friday – Sunday                     1 p.m. – 11 p.m.                     

WHERE:        Sam Houston Race Park          
                       7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway W
                       Houston, Texas 77064
                       (281)-807-8700

TICKETS:      $20 all-you-can-ride; available for purchase on-site.

INFO:             For more information, visit www.shrp.com or call (281)-807-8700.




Race Park Concert Deal Proves To Be A Winner

Houston Business Journal - by Greg Barr

              

THEN

Sam Houston Race Park struck a deal with national entertainment giant Live Nation Inc. to try to boost the horse-racing venue’s profile as a concert and festival site.

Dubbed “the Showgrounds,” the concert venue added upgraded sound equipment and backstage facilities for artists, more reserved seating for certain concerts and additional concessions. The venue, located on the infield of the race track, was expanded to hold up to 9,000 attendees.

The race park wanted to build on previous experiments that introduced weekend country music concerts after the final race of the evening, increase the overall awareness and visibility of the site, and begin expanding into other entertainment demographics.

For Live Nation, the Showgrounds offered the company a mid-sized venue that complements its two largest Houston-area venues, The Woodlands Pavilion and Toyota Center, at which it has an exclusive booking arrangement.

The plan was to boost the number of concerts at the race park from the 25 held in 2007, focusing on mainstream country music artists on Saturdays and regional Texas artists on Fridays — the entertainment demographic seen as the best fit with the venue.

The race park is owned by holding company SHRP Ltd., which also operates a greyhound racing facility, Valley Race Park, in Harlingen. SHRP, in turn, is owned by publicly traded Houston company Maxxam Inc.

NOW

The race park galloped full speed into the music business in 2008.

Andrea Young, the facility’s chief operating officer, says the Showgrounds’ first year of operation showed its future potential by not only increasing the number of music event attendees but exposing them to the facility’s core business of horse racing.

The 32 concerts and festivals in 2008 attracted 216,919 attendees — more than double the 104,123 who attended 25 concerts in 2007. Live Nation promoters had hoped to stage as many as 40 events.

Two large music festivals that spilled over into other areas of the 300-acre race park site made up a large chunk of the increase. Willie Nelson’s Family Picnic festival on July 5 attracted 17,033 attendees, while the Ziegenbock Festival in October brought a record 19,867.

“Operationally we were pretty satisfied. You’re always looking for areas to improve and you’ll see some things in the program changes we make for next year,” says Young, the former CEO of the Houston Comets who moved to Sam Houston in 2007. “The broad-based country shows that we have a history of doing at the park will remain, but we really intend to further diversify into other (music) genres.”

Regulatory filings by parent-company Maxxam show concert revenue jumped to $4.1 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, more than double the $1.7 million reported for the same period a year earlier. At the same time, aided by that concert revenue boost, total SHRP revenue was $36.5 million for the first nine months of 2008, matching the figure in the same period of the previous year.

Operating losses at Sam Houston were $6.6 million for the latest period compared with $4.2 million in the first nine months of 2007.

The biggest revenue issue faced by the park in 2008 — and into early 2009 — had nothing to do with the state of the economy or changes in operating strategy, however.

When it stormed in from the Gulf in mid-September, Hurricane Ike not only punched holes in the roof of the race park grandstand, it also knocked out the race park’s entire winter thoroughbred racing season — typically its strongest financial quarter.

As a result, from November 2008 to April 2009 only indoor simulcast racing will be available, meaning revenue will be down sharply.

Young estimates the facility will spend about $11 million to replace the roof and the electronic infield scoreboard also destroyed by Ike. The roof failure caused interior water damage. Some barn-area structures will also be replaced.

The loss of the winter thoroughbred racing events puts more pressure on the park to stage more profitable non-racing music events to offset some of those losses. Young is confident the facility will bounce back.
“We got a good sense of the kind of progress we made (in concert entertainment) this year, and I know, with what we’re working for in 2009, I expect we can be in the black,” she says.


JOCKEY CLUB OPEN
12 – 3 p.m.

FRIDAY LUNCH $9.95
JANUARY 9

 ♦ SATURDAY BRUNCH $12.95
JANUARY 10

 ♦ SUNDAY BRUNCH
JANUARY 11

JOKE OF THE WEEK




OTHER NEWS IN RACING
(As previously printed in Blood-Horse)

 

Major Winner/Producer Toussaud Dead

Toussaud, 2002 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year for Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms, was euthanized Jan. 5 because of declining health. The 20-year-old daughter of El Gran Senor had been pensioned the last two years. She was the dam of grade I winners Chester House, Empire Maker, Chiselling, and Honest Lady, plus grade II winner Decarchy.

“She was obviously a great broodmare but was an even more special character with a very unique personality,” according to a farm release. “Though amazingly stubborn at times, she was never seen to pin her ears or try to intentionally harm anyone or anything. She had a very kind yet powerfully strong and resilient nature that lives on in the competitive juices of offspring of Chester House, Empire Maker, Decarchy, and her daughter Honest Lady.”

A Kentucky-bred homebred for Juddmonte, Toussaud was one of the top turf females of 1993, winning the Gamely (gr. IT), American (gr. IIT), Wilshire (gr. IIT), and Autumn Days Handicaps in California. Against subsequent champion Flawlessly, she finished a neck behind her in a runner-up effort in the Matriarch Stakes (gr. IT). She was trained by Bobby Frankel.

Toussaud began her racing career in England, where she was a group winner and twice stakes-placed, once at the group level. She retired with sevens wins and six placings from 15 races and earnings of $551,536.

As a broodmare, Toussaud didn’t waste any time making a name for herself while based at Juddmonte near Lexington. Chester House, her first foal, won the 2000 Arlington Million Stakes (gr. IT) and was the first of Toussaud’s millionaire runners. By Mr. Prospector, Chester House developed into an important sire before dying at the age of 8 in 2003. He ranked 11th on the 2008 leading sires list.

Empire Maker, Toussaud’s other millionaire, upset the 2003 Triple Crown bid of Funny Cide in winning the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). By Unbridled, he won two other grade I stakes and ran second in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). He stands at Juddmonte and ranked eighth on the 2008 second-crop sires list.

Honest Lady, the sole female among Toussaud’s five stakes winners, has developed into an important producer for Juddmonte. Her three stakes winners include 2008 grade I sprint winner First Defence, who will enter stud this year at Juddmonte. Honest Lady, by Seattle Slew, scored her big win in the 2000 Santa Monica Handicap (gr. I).
Chiselling, by Woodman, scored his big win in the 2002 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT). Decarchy, by Distant View, was a two-time graded winner.

For her career, Toussaud produced six winners from 10 foals of racing age. Her youngest foal, the 3-year-old filly Gateway (by A.P. Indy), is unraced.

Toussaud was produced from the graded stakes-winning In Reality mare Image of Reality.

 




Churchill Downs Launches Derby Web Site

Churchill Downs has launched the official Web site for the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), www.kentuckyderby.com, which will offer coverage of the horse racing season leading up to the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby May 2. 

Employing advanced Web technology, the site serves as an extensive online resource for the entire Kentucky Derby experience, from in-depth contender information to full-scale treatment of the entertainment and party atmosphere that surrounds the historic event.
 
“Kentuckyderby.com brings together all the different elements of the Kentucky Derby experience into one user-friendly site,” said Jeremy Borseth, senior director of channel services and Internet operations for Churchill Downs Inc. 

“It pays tribute to the time-honored traditions and pageantry of the Run for the Roses, while at the same time reflecting the latest online technology to help fans stay informed. Whether you’re a passionate racing fan, a Derby party host, or a newcomer attracted to the Kentucky Derby scene, you’ll find everything you need at Kentuckyderby.com, including how to buy tickets, where to go, and what to see in Louisville.”
 
Among the new components of the official Kentucky Derby 135 Web site is an expanded lifestyle and entertainment section, which includes Red Carpet and Derby celebrity photo galleries, information on the official Kentucky Derby Party program, and insider’s peeks at Millionaires Row and the infield.

Kentuckyderby.com will also serve as the online home for an array of Kentucky Derby 135 events and programs, which will be unveiled in the weeks ahead.
 
A focal point of the 2009 Kentucky Derby Web site are the “contenders” pages, which include videos, photographs, detailed pedigree analyses, workout information, and past performances. 

These pages are supplemented by an area dedicated to Kentucky Derby prep races, which provides complete previews and recaps of every major prep race on the Kentucky Derby trail, including video replays, video analysis by Churchill Downs experts, past performance charts, official results, and stakes recaps.  The site also contains exclusive analysis videos and interviews, as well as comprehensive historical archives of past runnings of the Kentucky Derby.
 
A user-friendly navigation bar near the top of the Kentucky Derby site home page provides quick links to Kentucky Derby and Oaks ticketing information, a summary of Derby history and traditions, and a link to the official online Kentucky Derby Store, located at www.kentuckyderby.com/store, where fans may purchase officially licensed Kentucky Derby 135 apparel and souvenirs.
 
John Asher, who serves as vice president of racing communications for Churchill Downs, will be joined by Churchill Downs analyst Jill Byrne and expert handicapper James Scully as racing analysts in place for the 2009 Kentucky Derby Web site.

Bloodstock Research Information Services, an industry-leading data services company owned by Churchill Downs Inc., is providing news content and pedigree information.  The site also features blogs by Justin Dew, who will analyze the racing and wagering aspects of the Kentucky Derby, and Caroline Smith, who will focus on the fashion and entertainment scene of Kentucky Derby 135.
 
The official Web site for the 135th running of the Kentucky Oaks, www.kentuckyoaks.com, is expected to launch in March 2009.




Gallant Son Working Towards Next Race

Gallant Son, the dominant 2-year-old at Emerald Downs last season, continues to train well at Golden Gate Fields, according to trainer Frank Lucarelli.
 
The Gottstein Futurity winner worked five furlongs in 1:02 under Leslie Mawing Jan. 4, and Lucarelli and owner Chris Randall are looking at several options for their 3-year-old colt.
 
“He worked great,” Lucarelli said Jan. 7. “He went out in 1:15 for six furlongs, and I think he’s ready for a sprint right now.”
 
Lucarelli and Randall want to enter Gallant Son in the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby (gr. III) at 1 1/8 miles at Golden Gate Fields Feb. 14. They would prefer Gallant Son had a prep race before then, and will nominate the colt to both the $100,000 San Rafael Stakes (gr. III) at one mile on Jan. 17, and the $70,000 San Pedro Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs on Jan. 19. Both of those races are at Santa Anita, where Gallant Son finished seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) in October.
 
Another possibility is an allowance race at Golden Gate Fields on Jan. 17.
 
Gallant Son, by Malabar Gold, is scheduled to have another five-furlong workout this weekend at Golden Gate. Lucarelli said that Mawing, who has ridden Gallant Son in all six of his races, would have the mount when Gallant Son returns to action.
 
Lucarelli, meanwhile, remains red-hot in Northern California and began the week just five wins away from 1,000 for his career.

 




Texas VLT Bill Ready to Be Filed

When the Texas legislature convenes Jan. 13, a bill to legalize alternative gaming at the state’s racetracks is ready to be filed. The Texas racing industry has angled for video lottery terminals for the past decade, but in 2009, business will not be as usual.

For the first time, all of the state’s racing breed organizations have come together to form a united front known as Texas Horse Organizations for Racing, Showing, and Eventing (Texas HORSE), a group that includes several national organizations headquartered in Texas—the American Quarter Horse Association, National Cutting Horse Association, and American Paint Horse Association. The organizations are backing the VLT effort because of a provision of the bill dedicating a portion of alternative gaming revenue to the performance side of the industry, a new idea titled the Performance Horse Development Fund.

“The idea became planted because of what I saw with (the Kentucky Equine Education Project) and knowing that Texas has a rich horse heritage, more horses than any other state and three organizations’ national headquarters here,” said David Hooper, executive director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association. “It just seemed logical with projections showing there would be enough revenue for the performance side. It in turn brings a huge grassroots backing and led to the formation of Texas HORSE.”

Val Clark, a veteran of the Texas show scene, heads up Texas HORSE as its executive director.
“We’re trying to create something that can help every single horse person in the state of Texas,” Clark said. “It’s not just about horses at the racetracks. It’s all-inclusive. We’re going to need the support of every single horse person in the state.”

One of the goals of Texas HORSE is to create a grassroots network that involves participants in the horse industry from every breed and discipline.

“This isn’t a gambling bill; it’s a horse bill,” said Peter Rottgers of Texas HORSE. “The horse industry has a $5-billion impact on the Texas economy. It’s an enormous but invisible industry. If the Texas equine industry goes away, you have a huge void.”

Aside from the Performance Horse Development Fund, the new bill includes “Good for Texas” provisions, which dedicate revenue to equine research, retirement and adoption, gambling addiction programs, drug testing and research, educational programs, and insurance coverage for horsemen and jockeys, while also guaranteeing a satisfactory number of live racing days.

“I believe we’ve created a bill that can serve as a model for any state,” Hooper said.

The 2009 session of the Texas legislature ends on Memorial Day.

The Texas horse industry got a boost recently when Joe Straus II, son of Retama Park chairman Joe Straus Jr., was named Speaker of the House, a position important to the movement of bills through the legislature.

 




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.

OPENING DAYS IN JANUARY:
Gulfstream Park        January 3rd
Louisiana Downs        January 10th
Oaklawn Park                        January 16th

 

1/10/2009

Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap

III

$100,000.00

Fair Grounds

1/10/2009

Lecomte Stakes

III

$100,000.00

Fair Grounds

1/10/2009

Dr. A.B. Leggio Memorial Stakes

 

$75,000.00

Fair Grounds

1/10/2009

F.W. Gaudin Memorial Stakes

 

$75,000.00

Fair Grounds

1/10/2009

Louisiana Handicap

 

$75,000.00

Fair Grounds

1/10/2009

Tiffany Lass Stakes

 

$75,000.00

Fair Grounds

1/10/2009

Ft. Lauderdale Stakes

 

$100,000.00

Gulfstream Park

1/10/2009

San Pasqual Hanidcap

II

$150,000.00

Santa Anita

 

 

 

 

 

1/11/2009

Marshua's River Stakes

 

$100,000.00

Gulfstream Park

1/11/2009

Santa Ysabel Stakes

III

$100,000.00

Santa Anita

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

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

Super Hi Five Wagers Available at Sam Houston Race Park




PARK REWARDS SPECIALS FOR DECEMBER EVENTS:

WEDNESDAYS:2X your points on Valley Race Park beginning at NOON
SATURDAY, January 24: $500 Sunshine Millions Handicapping Contest

Sam Houston Race Park provides great offers and benefits for our Park Rewards members.  All contest rules can be found on www.shrp.com. 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.