Texas Horse Racing
The racing industry in Texas has been struggling for some time with many of the surrounding states benefiting from expanded gaming. Many of the smaller tracks have been forced to close, leaving only four tracks open in the state. The tracks currently are subsidized through historic racing terminals which look and play like slot machines. The future of horse racing in Texas is seemingly dependant upon these machines which are currently facing some legislative backlash.
Texas Race Tracks
Lone Star Park
Lone Star Park opened in 1997 and at the time was heralded as a premier racing facility. The track even was the host site of the prestigious Breeders’ Cup World Championships in 2004 and has a one mile dirt main track as well as a seven-furlong turf course. There is live racing for seven months of the year – from April through the middle of July, the track hosts Thoroughbred racing and from September into November, there is a shift to Quarter Horse racing.
Retama Park hosts two separate meets – one for Quarter Horses and one for Thoroughbreds – which supports the diverse racing and breeding interests in the state. From the middle of June through the middle of August, the track holds Quarter Horse races every Friday and Saturday. Then, from the beginning of September to the end of November, there are Thoroughbred races held on Friday and Saturday. Their biggest race is the Retama Park Derby, a Grade 3 event for Quarter Horses.
Sam Houston Park
Sam Houston opened in 1994 and is host to both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing with a generous stakes schedule for both breeds. The Thoroughbred season is held from January to early March and then the Quarter Horse meet runs from mid-March to the middle of May. The premier events are the Connally Breeders’ Cup Turf and the Houston Ladies’ Classic, both are Grade 3 events for Thoroughbreds which routinely attract some of the top horses in those divisions.
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