Retama Park Enjoying Successful Meeting

by Greg Melikov

posted on October 1, 2009 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

Retama Park is enjoying a successful fall thoroughbred season through one-third of the 32-day meeting that began on Aug. 28.

Attendance for three of the first four 50-Cent Saturdays at the South Texas track have been impressive, averaging more than 5,557, bolstered by a crowd of 7,018 on Aug. 29. On-track wagering has averaged more than $105,156.

Both attendance and on-track wagering would have been even more, but the rainy Sept. 12 wasn’t exactly a pleasant evening as the track came up sloppy and there weren’t any turf races.

Special discount nights feature free admission, half-a-buck programs and cokes, $1 hot dogs and $1.50 draft beer. Free children’s activities include pony rides, a petting zoo and face painting.

There is one 50-Cent Friday and three 50-Cent Saturdays remaining through closing day on Nov. 7. The idea was the brainchild of Doug Vair, the publicity and marketing director.

Simulcasting has produced high wagering figures, too. For example, Nov. 18-19 betting averaged more than $680,560.

One reason for the good results may be the fields that have attracted about 1 ½ more horses more than the national average, according to Retama racing secretary James Leatherman.

“Last year, our fields average 9.6 thoroughbreds per race,” Leatherman point out.

Defending riding, training and owner champs from Retama’s winter thoroughbred meeting are on top through Nov. 19.

Jockey Edgar A. Tejera holds a seven-victory lead over Larry Taylor.

Tejera, seeking his fourth consecutive title, scored 13 times in 50 races, boasting the top winning percentage of 26 for riding with at least five triumphs. He also has banked the most earnings: $114,806. Taylor is second with nine victories in 38 outings and is No. 1 with in-the-money finishes, 58 percent.

Jorge Guzman’s eight triumphs earned him third place, two more than Carlos L. Marquez. Tied with five wins each are Jeremy Collier and Kelsi Purcell.

Danny Pish, going for his 11th thoroughbred title, is ahead of four other trainers by two victories. He saddled six winners in 29 starts since opening day on Aug. 28. His horses have earned a leading $52,075.

Four other conditioners share second place with four triumphs each:

Cash Asmussen, sporting 10 of 11 in the money finishes and Andrew Konkoly, sporting a leading 57 percent winners, plus Jerenesto Torrez and Mark Whitton.

Anjo Stable, top owner during the winter meeting, leads seven others by two victories. His four winners and a second give him the lead for most earnings: $38,780.