Is the Texas horse race industry in a death spiral? That seems to be the concern in a report filed today by Steven Long of Horseback Magazine who spent today with the Texas Racing Commission at Sam Houston Race Park.
According to Long, Andrea Young of Sam Houston said the park's owner, the Maxxam Corporation, has lost a lot of money in its own business ventures and can't afford to put on but 22 race dates a year (instead of 60).
Young also reportedly said that only 10 percent of the bets at the track are from live racing, all the rest are from simulcast. Track owners want the right to offer slots as well, but that's up to the Texas Legislature.
Sam Houston lost its thoroughbred racing and is considering offering a decreased number of quarterhorse races next year, the report said. Instead, the track is planning to add paint horse and Arabian horse races.
Still to be determined: what to do with that big oval up there off the beltway in North Houston if they stop running horse races there.
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Update: Gina Rotolo, director of Marketing & Media Relations for Sam Houston got back to us saying that writer Long, whose post we referenced, got some things wrong.
According to Rotolo: Andrea Young said the park "had purse money for 42 days, not 22..."
In addition, "Young made no reference or mention as to The Park's parent company not being able to afford race dates or losing money in other ventures," Rotolo wrote.