Historical Racing Moves Forward in Texas, TTA Members Asked to Help

Texas Thoroughbred Association

Texas Thoroughbred AssociationOn June 10, the Texas Racing Commission considered draft rules for the implementation of pari-mutuel wagering on historical races at licensed Texas racetracks. Those rules will now be published in the Texas Register for a period of 30 days for the purpose of receiving public comment.

It is noteworthy that every horse organization involved in Texas racing, every licensed racetrack in Texas, as well as the Greyhound breeding industry support the proposed rules.

How is historical racing presented for wagering?

Wagers are made on a modified pari-mutuel terminal – not a “slot machine”. Unlike a slot machine, the historical racing terminal does not pick the winner, and one does not “bet against the house.” Races displayed on the terminal are actual horse races previously run at licensed pari-mutuel racetracks, with official handicapping information and results. They are not computerized images of imaginary races or of horses in which a machine selects the winner and determines the outcome.

As in live horse racing, a significant degree of skill or judgment is involved in picking the winning horses, and the outcome of a historical horse race depends on the skill and experience of the trainers, jockeys, and horses involved in that race.

A growing number of states, notably Kentucky and neighboring Arkansas, currently offer pari-mutuel wagering on historical races, where it has increased the fan base for live races, the size of purses, and revenues for the states and their racetracks.

Since Kentucky first allowed it in 2011, historical horse racing has seen about $636 million in wagers, with $5.7 million generated for purses.

Based on what has happened in other states, we anticipate an increase of 30 – 40% in purse levels at Texas tracks if implemented here.

The following information was sent to Texas Thoroughbred Association members on June 11 –

Dear TTA Member,

On June 10, the Texas Racing Commission considered draft rules for the implementation of pari-mutuel wagering on historical races at licensed Texas racetracks, and voted to publish the rules in the Texas Register for receipt of public comments. This type of wagering has been very successful in Arkansas and Kentucky, and can have the same positive results in Texas.

It is extremely important that Commissioners hear from as many horsemen as possible in support of this opportunity.

Below are three sample letters that you may copy or revise and send to the Commissioners in care of TRC Executive Director Chuck Trout  via email to chuck.trout@txrc.texas.gov, fax to 512.833.6907, or mail to Texas Racing Commission, PO Box 12080, Austin, TX 78711.

Also, please send a copy to us at maryr@texasthoroughbred.com, fax to 512-453-5919 or mail to TTA, 4009 Banister Lane, Austin, TX 78704 so that we have record of how many letters have been sent.


June 11, 2014

Texas Racing Commission
Chuck Trout, Executive Director
PO Box 12080
Austin, TX 78711

Dear Commissioners,

As a Texan involved in the Texas horse racing industry, I urge you to approve rules regulating pari-mutuel wagering on historical races.  I believe this is a natural extension of pari-mutuel wagering on live and simulcast horse racing and will be beneficial to our industry, as it has been in other states such as Arkansas and Kentucky.

Thank you,

Your name and address here

Dear Commissioners,

Thank you for considering adopting rules on Historical Racing and following in the footsteps of Arkansas and Kentucky to embrace a technology that will create jobs and generate additional purse money.  It will allow Texas tracks to remain competitive and in-step with the latest advancements in the industry.

As you are keenly aware, the Texas horse industry is in sharp decline and we need our Commission to act and adapt to current technologies and changes in the industry.

Historical Racing allows patrons to wager on previously run races and operate just like current betting terminals used to wager on races at other racetracks – like the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.  We’ve watched as Kentucky and Arkansas purses have grown substantially as a result of allowing historical racing. And just recently, Keeneland has gained approval to conduct historical racing.  They are building a multi-million dollar facility that will create jobs and add significant purse money to their live meet.

We’d like the same opportunity.

As a Texas Horseman, I am grateful for your careful consideration of this matter.  You have our very continued existence in your hands and I trust that you will handle it with care.

Thank you,

Your name and address here

Dear Commissisoners,

I’m a Texas Horseman writing in support of the rules the Commission is considering to allow pari-mutuel wagering on historical races.  Historical Racing will save the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of Texans and small businesses across the state, such as veterinarians, farriers, feed suppliers, farmers, and many more.

Oaklawn Park in Arkansas has increased its purses every year since the installation of Historical Racing terminals, and Kentucky Downs more than doubled purses last year after Historical Racing’s first full year of operation at the track.

The Texas horse industry is relying on your belief that ours is an industry worth preserving.  We thank you in advance for your positive consideration of these rules.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Your name and address here