10/21/2008 12:00AM

Retama to pick up some Sam Houston dates


A portion of the canceled Sam Houston Race Park meet will likely be run at Retama Park after the San Antonio track and horsemen agreed to a plan Monday night that would extend the current Retama meet through the end of February, said Tommy Azopardi, executive director of the Texas Horsemen's Partnership.

The arrangement calls for 43 of the 65 lost Sam Houston dates to be run at Retama, while additional missed dates could be added next spring to the meet at Lone Star Park. The plan must now be approved by the Texas Racing Commission.

Sam Houston has canceled its meet because of damages from Hurricane Ike last month. Heavy wind and rain caused structural damage to Sam Houston's grandstand roof, which will take three to four months to repair, according to Andrea Young, chief operating officer of Sam Houston.

The board of the Texas Thoroughbred Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association voted 5-3 to transfer purse funds tabbed for the Sam Houston meet to Retama.

The dates at Retama are scheduled to be held three nights a week, with nine races per day, said Azopardi. Purses will average $100,000 a program, he said.

Retama closes out its current Thoroughbred meet Nov. 15. Sam Houston was scheduled to open Nov. 28 and run through April 4, 2009.