09/21/2011 2:46PM

Texas sets 2012 race dates


The Texas Racing Commission granted dates for 2012 at a meeting on Wednesday, and also approved a request from Retama Park near San Antonio to extend its current Thoroughbred meet to Nov. 5.

The season was to close on Oct. 15. But there will ultimately be two more dates this meet after the track received approval to drop its remaining four Thursdays but add six programs, to be run on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Texas calendar for 2012 is similar to the pared-down structure that was put in place this year after a series of meetings between the state’s tracks and horsemen’s representatives. The main difference is the placement of Retama’s meet for Thoroughbreds, which will be later in the year in 2012. It will run 26 nights, from Oct. 5 to Dec. 29.

Lone Star Park near Dallas will again hold the state’s longest Thoroughbred meet. The track was granted approval for a 53-date season that will run from April 12 to July 8. The track was also granted a 26-night meet for Quarter Horses next year, from Sept. 14 to Nov. 10.

Sam Houston Race Park in Houston will have 31 dates of Thoroughbred racing next year, from Jan. 20 to March 12. The track announced Wednesday that it plans to conduct 15 stakes worth $1.1 million during that period, led by the Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Cup Turf on Jan. 28. The track also noted that the annual Texas Champions Day will now comprise two programs, with the traditional stakes to be split between Jan. 20-21. The $150,000 Maxxam Gold Cup is March 3.

Sam Houston’s meet for Quarter Horses will run from March 22 to May 19. Retama’s season for the breed will immediately follow, extending 20 dates, from June 8 to Aug. 11.