07/21/2004 11:00PM

New Texas track advances

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The Austin Jockey Club, which holds a parimutuel license to construct a racetrack in the Austin, Texas, market, is making some headway toward construction of a racing facility. The new track will be managed by the operators of Retama Park, located near San Antonio.

"We're looking at wrapping up the purchase of a piece of land," said Bryan Brown, the chief executive officer of Retama Park. "We hope sometime within the next year we'll be breaking ground."

Brown said the Austin Jockey Club plans to purchase property in the northern part of Travis County, about 80 miles from Retama. Manor Downs, a small Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse track, is located in the same county, approximately 10 miles east of Austin.

Plans call for a one-mile track to be constructed by the Austin Jockey Club, while the number of barns to be built on the backstretch should be of a smaller scale than at the major tracks in Texas.

"I think a significant number of horses will ship in from Retama," said Brown.

The Austin Jockey Club was granted its license in February 2000, when the Texas Racing Commission approved the transfer of the dormant license of Longhorn Downs in Round Mountain, Texas, to a partnership that included Brown, Joe Archer, and Berry Madden.