09/12/2006 11:00PM

Southwest race series proposed

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A $2.4 million series of 24 restricted stakes - spread out among Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas - was proposed to track and breeding officials from those states during a conference call hosted by the Texas Thoroughbred Association on Wednesday.

David Hooper, the executive director of the association, came up with the idea for the "Southwest Racing Series" and has proposed that it start as early as 2007.

"This is patterned after the MATCH series, which existed in the mid-Atlantic states," said Hooper.

The difference, he said, is that the Southwest series would require its starters to be accredited or registered in the breeding incentive programs in their respective states. The minimum purse for each divisional-type race is proposed at $100,000.

"We had an hourlong conference call, and I would say it went quite well," said Hooper. "The bottom line: two things. I sensed a lot of interest and enthusiasm to move forward, but the second thing would be rather than an ambitious program in the first year, that we might look at a slimmer version of maybe eight or 12 [races] to get it off the ground."

The tracks were asked to submit feedback by Sept. 20 on the types of races they would like to host. Among the 10 officials on the call were Mike Shamburg, representing Lone Star Park and Remington Park; Tom Early, executive director of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders' Association; and Norm Amundson, racing secretary at Sunland Park.