10/20/2008 11:00PM

Sam Houston cancels meet


Sam Houston Race Park in Houston has canceled its upcoming 65-date Thoroughbred meet because of damages Hurricane Ike inflicted on the track when it made landfall in nearby Galveston, Texas, on Sept. 12. A plan to add 43 of the lost dates to the current meet at Retama Park near San Antonio was passed by the Texas Thoroughbred Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association in a 5-3 conference call vote on Monday. The meet at Retama would continue through February. The plan will now need approval from the Texas Racing Commission.

Sam Houston needs to make structural repairs to the grandstand roof and stable area, which were damaged by high winds and rain. The season was to open Nov. 28 and run through April 4, 2009. The track will continue simulcast operations, officials said, but will not have live racing again until its Quarter Horse meet opens on May 1.

"This is not an ideal situation for anyone involved," said Andrea Young, chief operating officer of Sam Houston. ""t's been taxing. We're ready to put this chapter behind us."

Young said grandstand repairs would be a three to four month project requiring such heavy equipment as cranes. In light of that, she said having the general public and horses on the grounds for racing programs would not have been a safe decision for Sam Houston.