Sam Houston Announces 2024 Race Dates

The Texas Racing Commission has approved the dates for the 2024 racing season at Sam Houston Race Park. The 43-day Thoroughbred meeting will open Saturday, Jan. 5, 2024, with a first post of 6:30 p.m. CT on Fridays and at 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The Houston Racing Festival is set for Saturday, Jan. 27 and features five stakes races, including the two biggest races of the year, the $300,000 GIII Houston Ladies' Classic and the $200,000 GIII John B. Connolly Turf. The program will also feature a trio...

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Marked Increase for 2023 Texas Summer Yearling Sale Catalog

A total of 264 yearlings have been catalogued for the 2023 Texas Summer Yearling sale, a 52-head increase over last year's edition of the sale. The sale will be held Aug. 28 at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. "The increase in entries points to the success our sales have had," TTA Sales Director Foster Bridewell said. "We've continued to push to grow our sales as a healthy marketplace to buy and sell for not only our regional buyers and sellers, but also attracting interested folks from all over...

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Letters to the Editor: Texas Horse Racing Needs HISA

The horse...inquisitive, sensitive, totally aware, much smarter than you think, fearful, and a creature of habit. When my daughter returns to our family barn after training in Florida for six months, her retired horses greet her with a whinny. An old friend has returned. The horse is a fabric of historical Texas. The horse represents how we all arrived here, and how we survived in the earliest days. Some horses are bred to run--that's their job. All animals need a job and thrive when working. The thoroughbred's instinct is to...

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Texas Judge Says No to ADMC Injunction

The Texas judge handling the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA) constitutionality lawsuit that is trying to halt the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) on Wednesday refused to grant an injunction that would delay the May 22 implementation of the Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) program. In issuing his order, United States District Court Judge James Wesley Hendrix of the Northern District of Texas (Lubbock Division) pointed out that it is the second time in two weeks that he has informed the plaintiffs in a court order that...

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Judge Orders Gulf Coast vs. HISA Case Transferred To Same Division As NHBPA Suit

An Amarillo Division federal judge in Texas on Thursday ordered the most recently filed lawsuit out of four active nationwide cases all trying to overturn the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) to be transferred to the Lubbock Division that is currently handling the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (NHBPA)'s similar and recently remanded complaint. The Apr. 6 order by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk (Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division) comes more than eight months after the litigation was initiated on July 29, 2022, and just one day...

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Texas Federal Judge Won't Grant Briefing Stay to HISA

Facing a United States Court of Appeals decision from the Fifth Circuit that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) is unconstitutional and battling three similar lawsuits in various stages within the federal court system, the HISA Authority and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) were informed Monday that a U.S. District Court judge in Texas won't grant those defendants a requested stay that would halt the briefing schedule in that case pending a final resolution of the Fifth Circuit order. "No Good Cause Exists to Stay This Action," wrote U.S....

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Texas Track Group Files Latest HISA Lawsuit

A group of entities associated with various racing-related industries in Texas, including the owners of Lone Star Park, has filed a new lawsuit against the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) in which declaratory and injunctive relief is sought along with a request for a preliminary injunction, according to court filing dated July 29. Submitted to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division, the suit focuses on the relative power of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority--the umbrella non-profit established by the Act--to implement...

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This Side Up: Past Specters, Present Ghosts

How poignant that, in this of all weeks, the two most breathtaking winners on Belmont day should both have prompted comparisons with Ghostzapper, whose GI Breeders' Cup Classic at Lone Star Park in 2004 was surely the greatest Thoroughbred performance ever on Texan soil. Because while the whole racing world came to Dallas that day, it appears that there will be no reciprocal embrace when it comes to the standards sought—not just federally, but internationally—to give American horseracing credibility in the contest for public engagement in the 21st Century. It's...

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Lone Star Park Celebrates 25 Years

Lone Star Park celebrates its 25th anniversary season this year with the continued optimism that has permeated Texas racing since passage of the 2019 legislation that channeled a portion of sales tax on horse feed and supplies into purses. The Grand Prairie meet runs April 28 through July 24, most Thursdays through Sundays, plus Memorial Day May 30 and July 4. There is no racing on Thursdays May 5 and 26, June 2 and 30 and July 7. Marquee stakes days include the Lone Star Million Day on Memorial Day,...

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Highlander a World-Class Facility in East Texas

SULPHUR SPRINGS, Texas — The head trainer is the guy who prepared 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra to be a racehorse. He and his two assistant trainers combine for more than 100 years of experience and the development of more than 300 stakes horses. Yearlings and weanlings romp in undulating pastures. Two-year-olds learning the fundamentals and older horses coming off layoffs gallop and work over a traditional training track as well as lope up a 1 3/8-mile turf gallop. The spacious barns have vaulted ceilings featuring skylights that...

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Hickman, Fixture of Texas, Louisiana Industry, Dies

Willie Stuard Hickman, who served in several roles in the Thoroughbred industry in Texas and Louisiana, passed away Mar. 15. Had been hospitalized with pneumonia and was 64 years old. Born in Red Rock, Texas, Hickman at various times trained racehorses and worked in the racing office at Sam Houston Race Park for over two decades. As stall superintendent, jockey room coordinator and most recently, stakes coordinator, Hickman had lasting relationships with horsemen in both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing. He also did an excellent job as jockey agent to...

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Taking Stock: Constitutionality Matters

Last Friday, on the same day that Bob Baffert's New York Racing Association (NYRA) suspension hearing was ending in New York, the Texas attorney general filed a motion in a Texas federal court to join the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (National HBPA), et al., in arguing that the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), enacted late last year, was unconstitutional. Baffert had challenged his suspension, which was summarily instituted by NYRA without a hearing May 17 after the Baffert-trained Medina Spirit (Protonico) had tested positive for betamethasone in...

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