09/22/2009 11:00PM

Turf course ready at Retama

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Retama Park near San Antonio was to offer turf racing on Thursday night for the first time since its meet opened in late August. Drought conditions had led to the indefinite cancellation of turf racing just before the season started, with stewards making weekly inspections of the course to determine when it could be used.

In the last week, rains have hit the area and the stewards have now deemed the course suitable for racing. There were two turf races scheduled for Thursday and two more for Friday night.

* Retama will have its popular 50-cent night promotion Saturday. There are several scheduled for the meet, with admission free on such nights and some concession items reduced to 50 cents. The promotion has been in place 12 years, said Doug Vair, a Retama spokesman.

* Retama was to begin a free, meet-long online handicapping contest Thursday night. The first-place prize is $1,000. Last year, more than 500 people participated, said Bryan Brown, Retama's chief executive officer.

* The first two stakes of the meet, a pair of $125,000 divisions of the Texas Stallion Stakes, will be run Saturday night at Retama.