Report: Sam Houston will cancel next year's racing festival

Report: Sam Houston will cancel next year's racing festival
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Sam Houston Race Park will cut its stakes schedule for 2023, including the Houston Racing Festival, its biggest event, HorseRacing.net reported Wednesday.

The decision is related to the Texas Racing Commission's decision to not allow the simulcast signal to be exported from the state, a result of its dispute with the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority.

The commission argues that HISA's control of any aspect of its supervision would conflict with the Texas Racing Act.

As commission chair Robert Pate said at a June meeting: “Wagering on horse racing is a unique regulatory responsibility we have under the Texas Racing Act and Rules of Racing. If the commission is not involved in every aspect of a horse meet and its races, pari-mutuel wagering and simulcast wagering is against the explicit terms of the Texas Racing Act.”

During a commission meeting on Thursday, Sam Houston Park applied for 43 live race dates in 2023 beginning Jan. 6. Sam Houston general manager Dwight Berube told the commission plans for the track's stakes schedule have not been finalized. 

The Houston Racing Festival, which is usually held in late January, includes the Houston Ladies Classic (G3) and the Connally Turf Cup (G3). Last year's event generated $5.98 million in handle, most of which came from the export signal, according to HorseRacing.net.

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