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Retama Park to shift Thoroughbred season

Oct. 13, 2006 at 3:07 PM

SELMA, Texas, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Retama Park in Texas plans to move its Thoroughbred racing season from fall to winter, skipping a season in 2007.

Track officials said that the schedule change would allow Retama to offer bigger purses and attract more horses, the San Antonio Express-News reported. The Texas Racing Commission has already approved the shift, but Retama also has to negotiate a deal with Sam Houston Race Park in Houston, which currently owns the winter Thoroughbred window.

"We all know that if we kept the status quo, all our meets would deteriorate," said Bryan Brown, Retama's chief executive officer. "It won't eliminate the problems we have in competing with other states. But it's something we felt we had to do."

The change would not affect the spring quarter horse season.

Danny Pish, a leading trainer, said that the current operators of the 12-year-old track "deserve a chance to turn things around." But he did not appear optimistic.

"There are people who think this is just the beginning of the end," he said. "I think this will allow Retama to hang on for at least a couple more years."

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