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Ike Hits Degenerate Horse Gamblers Where It Hurts

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Sam Houston Race Park

officials have just announced that despite all their efforts to the contrary, they are having to cancel the entire thoroughbred meet that was scheduled to start November 28, 2008 and run through April 4, 2009.

An excerpt from the statement:

The storm’s high winds and rainfall caused significant damage throughout the property including the facility’s grandstands, stable areas and the large infield tote board.

“We are extremely disappointed to have to cancel our Thoroughbred meet this fall,” said Andrea Young, Chief Operating Officer, Sam Houston Race Park. “We have worked hard to find a solution and meet the deadlines in order to race this year, however; with the timeline for construction, it wasn’t a realistic option.”

Over the next several months, The Park will make significant repairs to the roof of the grandstand, a project which will require approximately three to four months in order to complete. The Park will also rebuild portions of the stable and barn area, including dorm and tack rooms, as well as replace the tote board.

The majority of the damage to the grandstand area occurred as a result of a complete roof system failure. Repairs to the roof will make both the suite and club levels unusable by the public during any period of construction.

A quick call to track spokeswoman Gina Rotolo yielded the information that there won’t be any concert events until next May either – with the return of live quarterhorse racing – but that they never have concerts during the winter months anyway. “We were really lucky. We loaded our stage out the week that the storm hit,” she says, so there wasn’t any damage to all that equipment.

Two things still ongoing at the track: Simulcasts every day from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. and this coming weekend, on Friday and Saturday, they will have the Breeder’s Cup.

In the meantime, the Texas Horseman’s Partnership had a meeting today, results unknown. It’ll be up to the Texas Racing Commission and the other tracks in the state to decide if any of the races will be moved to either the Retama track in San Antonio or the Lone Star Track in Dallas, Rotolo says:

The majority of the damage to the grandstand area occurred as a result of a complete roof system failure. Repairs to the roof will make both the suite and club levels unusable by the public during any period of construction. “We feel we can create a safe environment for simulcasting on our Paddock level while construction is underway.”

-- Margaret Downing

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