Texas Appeals Court Throws Out Texas Racing Commission's Historic Racing Appeal
Photo by Travis Isaacs
Well, it's now official. Even the Texas court system seems convinced that the Texas Racing Commission was overreaching when it passed rules allowing historic racing at Texas racetracks in 2014.
The push to put historic racing, a setup where people bet on races that are shown on video with all the identifying information about the race removed, on the Texas Racing Commission books started back in 2014 when the TRC voted 7-1 to approve historic racing for the state. The decision was met with rabid enthusiasm from the Texas horse-racing industry, which has long been convinced that historic racing is the only way to pull in enough money to fatten up racing purses and attract top riders and horses to run on Texas tracks.
However, not everybody was pleased with this development. State lawmakers were furious that the racing commission had voted to allow historic racing without getting the state legislature to sign off on the decision. In fact, a group of legislators quickly started to insist that the TRC didn't have the authority to make such a decision. Things rapidly deteriorated from there.
The TRC gave up on the idea back in February when the commissioners voted 5 to 4 to repeal historic racing. The racing commission only gave up this contentious fight with the state legislature after the Legislative Budget Board refused to fund the TRC, forcing the commission to briefly close its doors last year. After a deadlocked vote in December, the TRC finally gave up on historic racing in February in a vote of 5 to 4, with Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar using his right to vote on the commission to break the tie and end the standoff between the racing commissioners.
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But at the same time, there was still a sliver of hope that historic racing might be rescued through the court system right up until this week.
On Wednesday a Texas appeals court shot down a final attempt by horse-racing associations to get historic racing back on the books. Horse racing associations sought to overturn the December 2014 decision that had found that the TRC was overreaching when it passed rules allowing historic racing gaming in the first place. But the appeals court wasn't having it — the court threw out the appeal, saying such associations didn't have the standing to appeal the decision.