09/14/2010 4:13PM

Texas commission sets 2011 race dates


After months of negotiations between Texas tracks and horsemen, a pared-down calendar for 2011 that all agreed upon last week was approved by the Texas Racing Commission at a meeting Tuesday.

Lone Star Park will race eight fewer dates for Thoroughbreds next year after the commission granted its request for a 52-date season that will run from April 14 to July 10. The track also received approval for a 26-date Quarter Horse meet from Sept. 16 to Nov. 12.

Sam Houston Race Park, which at one point in negotiations intended to drop its Thoroughbred meet and shuttle part of its purse fund to Lone Star for a consolidated meet, instead amended that request and on Tuesday received a 27-date meet that will run from Jan. 21 through March 7. The commission also granted the track’s request for a 30-date Quarter Horse meet from March 11 to May 15.

Sam Houston on Tuesday also received approval to drop the November and December dates it was scheduled to run in 2010. The track has typically run a 60-date Thoroughbred meet from November to April.

Retama Park received approval for 45 days of continual racing beginning July 1 and Oct. 15. Within the course of the season there will a 21-date meet for Thoroughbreds from Sept. 1 through Oct. 15. The track’s racing season will open with a Quarter Horse meet, shift to a mixed season that focuses on Quarter Horses, then race straight Thoroughbreds.

Manor Downs, the Austin track that ceased operations in July, requested dates for 2012, but the request was tabled.

For months, a plan to consolidate Thoroughbred dates had been discussed among state leaders as a means of combating declining handle.