Without Funding, Texas Racing Commission Will Stop Live Racing Feb. 16 - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Without Funding, Texas Racing Commission Will Stop Live Racing Feb. 16

Chuck Trout, executive director of the Texas Racing Commission, sent out a letter to various horsemens' associations on Jan. 13 stating that if the Legislative Budget Board does not appropriate funding beyond the end of February, the commission will shut down racing at midnight on Feb. 16. This includes both live racing and simulcast racing at Sam Houston Race Park, which is the only track conducting a live meeting in Texas at the time of the proposed shut down.

The timing will allow for the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory to complete drug testing by the end of February, holding as few purses in limbo as possible should the shutdown actually happen. Trout continued: “This schedule will also allow agency staff to pay any outstanding invoices to vendors, to consolidate and safeguard the agency's equipment and materials, and to coordinate with other state agencies for the subsequent disposition by the State of the agency's resources.”

The Texas Horsemen's Partnership posted a portion of the letter to its Facebook page, along with a response: “There is no cause for horsemen to panic as a result of this letter. We feel confident that funding for the agency will be forthcoming.” The THP is hopeful that it will be successful in an injuction hearing on Feb. 3, which would provide funding to the commission. If that effort is not successful, the THP stated that the Texas Racing Commissioners would meet in early February to discuss the funding issue.

This funding issue is a result of the TRC's approval of historical racing terminals at its race tracks, a step which the state government feels is beyond the scope of the commissioners. By threatening to cease the funding to the TRC, the state is attempting to force the commissioners to repeal their historical racing approval. If the THP is successful in its Feb. 3 injunction hearing, “there would be no compelling reason for the Commissioners to repeal the Historical Racing rules and we would be allowed our day in court on the appeal,” according to the response posted to the THP's Facebook page.

“We wanted to share the information about Trout's letter with our members,” continued the THP, “so that no misunderstandings, misinterpretations or rumors could cause unnecessary harm to horsemen or to the race tracks.”

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