Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame Gala Returns, Inductees Announced

The Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame will once again honor those that have enriched the tradition of horse racing in Texas at the 12th annual Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame Gala on Saturday, November 10, 2012, at Retama Park Race Track, 1 Retama Pkwy, Selma, TX.

The gala and induction of Hall of Fame honorees will be held before and during the races on that Saturday, beginning at 4 p.m.  The gala includes valet parking, cocktails, a prime rib and grilled salmon gourmet buffet dinner, induction of the honorees, silent auction, and races, of course. All proceeds from the gala, which is open to the public, will benefit the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of the horse racing industry and those individuals who have influenced and contributed to its growth and development.

“We expect this Hall of Fame gala to be our best ever,” says Joe Straus Jr., breeder and owner of Thoroughbred horses, founder of the Texas Horse Racing Association, chairman of Retama Entertainment Group (the management company of Retama Park) and co-founder of Retama Park. “Not only do we have a stellar group of inductees and a great evening of food and entertainment planned, but the positive energy among horse racing advocates is electric.  Everyone is very optimistic about the future of racing at Retama with the commitment from a winning company like Pinnacle.”

Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductees for 2012

Valid Expectations:
Valid Expectations has been one of the Southwest’s most prolific stallions since he came to Lane’s End Texas from Florida in 2001. He was Texas’s leading general sire for the ninth time in 2011. Valid Expectations had 56 winners from 102 runners last year, for progeny earnings of $1,443,279. His chief earner was Miss Lederhosen, a stakes winner of $72,001 trained by Steve Asmussen. Valid Expectations was Asmussen’s first big horse as a trainer; he conditioned Valid Expectations for Ackerley Brothers Farm and won seven stakes with him, including the Grade 3 Derby Trial at Churchill Downs in 1996. In all, Valid Expectations won 12 of 27 starts and $596,092. He began his stud career in Florida, and after siring two crops was brought to Texas by a partnership that included Will Farish of Lane’s End. To date, Valid Expectations has amassed $28,834,339 in progeny earnings.  Among his leading offspring is Saratoga County, who earned $1.6 million, and The Daddy, who won the Grade 2 Super Derby in 2005.

Kool Kue Baby:
The Quarter Horse racing’s all-time leading stakes winner with 25, Kool Kue Baby has a record of 33 wins in 63 races and earnings of $746,019—of which $404,606 has come in Challenge races.  Bred by Donald Gardner of Jacksboro, Texas, the mare earned her unprecedented fifth berth in the Challenge Championships when she ran second in the June 17 Centaur Texas Challenge at Retama Park. Once traded for two pigs, two calves and a dog, Kool Kue Baby is one of only five distaffers to win the title of champion-aged mare more than once. Since the division award began in 1962, only Kool Kue Baby, Charger Bar, Little Blue Sheep and Dash For Speed have accomplished that feat. Her most recent victory came in May 1999, when she won the MBNA America Oklahoma Challenge (G2) at Remington Park. Her other victories include the MBNA America Challenge Championship (G1), which she won in 1996 and ’98; the Sam Houston Classic (G1), which she won in 1995-96 and ’98; and the Eastex Handicap (G2).  She also won the 1998 Refrigerator Handicap at Lone Star Park for her record-breaking 23rd stakes victory.

T.I. “Pops” Harkins:
A Texas Thoroughbred Breeders Association member since the association’s inception and a board member for 16 years, Harkins earned TTBA Breeder of the Year honors on three separate occasions—a singular distinction to date—reflecting the notable racing performances of progeny by Harkins’ eminent stallion, Treasury Note. During 20 years of stud duty for Harkins, Treasury Note amassed more than $1.2 million in earnings.  Harkins raced several other stakes winners by Treasury Note, all out of the dozen or so broodmares he kept at his farm.  Raised and educated in Louisiana, he was a geophysicist by profession, but his passion for Thoroughbreds came from the heart. The unwavering respect of Harkins’ peers was evident when he was named TTBA “Man of the Year” twice; most recently in 1988—in recognition of his tireless efforts in the campaign to resurrect pari-mutuel racing in Texas. Harkins passed away in 1992.

Bill Casner:
Bill Casner grew up in El Paso and embarked on a race training career in the Midwest.  In 1979, Casner temporarily left the Thoroughbred industry, and with partner Kenny Troutt founded Excel Communications. Casner also owns B&R Equipment, which sells and leases heavy earth-moving equipment. Casner re-entered the Thoroughbred industry in the mid-1990s through various racing partnerships.  In early 2000 he and Troutt established WinStar Farm in Versailles, KY.; in 2010 Casner sold his interest in WinStar to Troutt. Casner is currently vice chairman and co-founder of the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), and he serves on the board of trustees for the Thoroughbred Owner Breeders Association and Breeders’ Cup. He was a founding board member for The Race For Education Inc., a national scholarship foundation that provides educational opportunities to children of racing’s backside workers and farm workers.

Allen and Jeanette Moehrig:
Texas natives Allen and Jeanette Moehrig have been making American Quarter Horse history for decades. Owners of a gasoline station when they acquired their first horse some 40 years ago, the Moehrigs raised what is arguably the best racing American quarter horse ever in Special Effort—the Texas-bred horse who in 1981 became the only horse to ever win the fabled Ruidoso Triple Crown as a 2-year-old.  World champion and $1.2 million earner Special Effort—himself a member of the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame—is still the only 2-year-old Triple Crown winner some 31 years later.  Allen and Jeanette Moehrig are so much more than breeders of special effort.  Working side by side on the Texas race tracks and on their Seguin breeding farm, the Moehrigs raised many stakes winners and track record setters. They bred and raised the champion Eyesa Special, an earner of $1.4 million, who won the 2000 All American Futurity on Labor Day and then came home to Lone Star Park to win the $911,000 Texas Classic Futurity.  Allen passed away this past June in 2012.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the gala at $125 per person, please contact Sharolyn Grammer at (210) 651-7000 or retama@flash.net. Generous sponsorship packages are available.