09/01/2010 2:38PM

Retama lowers prices, takeout for short, family-oriented meet


The tough economic times that have led Retama Park to reduce the length of its meet from 30 to 16 nights have also inspired the track to amp up the deals it will offer its customers. Retama will feature a reduced 12 percent takeout on both pick threes and doubles this meet, while admission to the track will be free every Saturday night as part of a promotion that also includes lower-priced concessions.

Retama, which opens Friday night and races through Oct. 23, has adjusted its calendar and cut back on stakes this meet in order to keep its $80,000 a day purse structure intact. The track in July received Texas Racing Commission approval to amend its dates in the face of declining simulcast handle. And despite the fact that Retama will now just be racing Friday and Saturday nights, the first card of the season averages more than 10 horses per field.

“We just can’t say how pleased we are some of the top trainers in the state are going to be here and have the confidence in us to bring their horses,” said Bryan Brown, chief executive officer of Retama. “We’re happy that even though it’s such a short meet, they made the decision to come to Retama.

“It’s going to be a quick but fun meet that I think people will enjoy. Half of our nights are going to be our family nights.”

Retama will offer reduced concessions and free activities for families, such as pony rides and a petting zoo, as part of its 50-cent night promotions. They will be held every Saturday, and with them comes free admission to Retama.

Danny Pish, who operates one of the largest stables in Texas, is seeking his 13th training title at Retama. The riding colony is led by Junior Chacaltana. Both men were second in their respective standings at the Lone Star Park meet that closed in July.

Retama’s stakes schedule is again led by the El Joven and La Senorita, a pair of one-mile turf races for 2-year-olds that will share a card Oct. 23. But their purses have been trimmed this meet from $100,000 to $75,000. The track is also the home of the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame, but inductions will be on a one-year hiatus with the shortened meet, said Brown.

Brown said Retama’s races will be back on TVG this meet after an absence. First post is 6:45 p.m. Central.