The Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame will once again honor individuals who have enriched the tradition and sport of horse racing in Texas on Saturday, September 12, at Retama Park in Selma, Texas. The celebration will be held before and during the races starting at 5 p.m. and will include hors d’oeuvres, valet parking, cocktails, a gourmet buffet dinner, cigar roller, induction of the honorees, silent auction and live Thoroughbred races.
All proceeds from the gala, which is open to the public, will benefit the Saddle Light Center; Groom Elite; and the Race Track Chaplaincies at Lone Star Park, Sam Houston Race Park and Retama Park.
The 2015 Inductees into the Horse Racing Hall of Fame are:
• Former Texas Senator Ken Armbrister
Armbrister served two terms in the Texas House of Representatives before being elected to the Texas Senate. During his 20-year tenure in the Senate he carried the Texas Racing Commission’s first Sunset legislation that stood in place during the formation of the Commission. In 2001, Armbrister was part of the delegation that went to New York to bring the Breeder’s Cup to Texas. For three legislative sessions, he carried legislation to legalize Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) at race tracks. Armbrister currently works as a lobbyist with the Texas Star Alliance and resides in Round Rock, Texas.
• Stanley Beard (deceased)
Houston-born Stanley Beard purchased his first horse in 1947. He served on the Texas Thoroughbred Association (TTA) board of directors from 1986 to 2000 and served as President of TTA from 1988 to 1989. He has the distinct honor of being one of only three people to receive all three major awards presented by the TTA. Beard also served on the boards of the Breeder’s Cup and Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame, and was president of the Texas Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. In addition to breeding and racing, he was also involved in dairy farming, feed sales, and real estate. Beard’s contributions to Texas horse racing were only surpassed by his knowledge of the sport and the stories he was known to tell about the horsemen involved and the horses he owned.
• Lukin Gilliland, Sr. (deceased)
Lukin Gilliland was a lifelong horse owner, breeder and legal counsel to horse owners and breeders for a wide range of equine matters, including the buying, selling, foal sharing and syndication of Thoroughbreds. Gilliland started breeding Quarter Horses in 1965. The horses that Gilliland bred raced in various futurities and derbies in Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Florida, California and Oklahoma. His most recent win was the $365,000 Texas Quarter Horse Futurity at Retama Park in which Grey Daze, a horse bred by Gilliland, finished first. He was also known for his horse Top Divi, who won multiple futurities and ran in the 1969 All American Futurity, and Si Puede, who received the 2005 AQHA Superior Race Horse award. In 1980 Gilliland co-founded Oak Cliff Thoroughbreds. Under Gilliland’s leadership, Oak Cliff Thoroughbreds bred and raced thoroughbreds in ten states and six other countries. One of the more notable horses produced by Oak Cliff Thoroughbreds was Sunday Silence, who won the 1989 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes with a lifetime winnings of $4,968,554. Oak Cliff’s horse Skywalker won the 1985 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park.
• Sammy Jackson (deceased)
Sammy Jackson was a respected member of the racing community throughout the country. Jackson started his career in the racing industry in an unlikely place–the valet lot of Delta Downs Racetrack at the age of 16. Thirty years later he would end his career as the Texas Racing Commission’s Deputy Director of Finance and Administration. Jackson graduated from McNeese State University with a degree in accounting in 1987 and served as the Delta Downs’ staff accountant until the Louisiana State Racing Commission hired him as an assistant chief auditor and accountant the next year. His skill in horse racing mathematics were renowned and the Texas Racing Commission offered him a job in 1994. The pari-mutuel wagering rules in Texas he developed later became the starting point for the national model rules. He helped form the Texas Pari-Mutuel Advisory Committee and also worked with the Texas Horsemen’s Partnership to develop a centralized bookkeeping system. In 2002, Jackson was promoted to Deputy Director for Pari-Mutuels and Licensing; over the next few years he also oversaw the Finance and Information Technology departments. Known as a loving family member with a deep loyalty to friends, Jackson passed away November 17, 2014.
• Dan (deceased) and Jolene Urschel
Texas ranch owners Dan and Jolene Urschel made a big impression in the horse racing industry in a short period of time. Most famous for the exploits of their horse Pie In The Sky who won the 1979 All American Futurity, the Urschels also owned renowned winners Mighty Deck Three and Special Effort. Dan wasn’t known to let a few dollars stand between him and a winning horse, making some of the most record setting horse purchases of his time. The Urschels were lifetime members of the AQHA. Their great-granddaughter, Kharlottie Grace, continues their legacy to this day as the sixth generation of the Urschel family to be involved in Quarter Horse racing. Dan Urschel passed away September 16, 2014, survived by Jolene and their children.
• No Le Hace
In 1972 a chestnut colt named No Le Hace captured the imagination of San Antonio—partly because of his name but mostly because of what he did on the race track. Many San Antonians still remember him. Both the San Antonio Express-News and the San Antonio Light newspapers sent reporters (including the inimitable Dan Cook and Bob Ostrum) to cover his notable feats such as the Louisiana Derby and the Arkansas Derby, which No Le Hace won handily. The reporters were also in attendance when he ran second in the Kentucky Derby and then the Preakness. Subsequently he was sold to Japanese interests that shipped him to Japan for stud duty.
The JoAnn Weber Distinguished Service Award will be given to Ben Hudson. With more than 40 years of experience in the Quarter Horse business, Ben Hudson has made quite a name for himself. He purchased his first registered American Quarter Horse as a teenager in the 1950s. After attending college at Texas Christian University on a journalism scholarship and spending the next four years serving the Navy during the Vietnam conflict, Hudson was named Associate Editor of The Quarter Racing Record. In 1972, he was involved in the formation of a horse management and reproductive program at Tarleton State University. In 1975 Hudson co-founded Track Magazine that quickly grew into the nation’s leading publication for American Quarter Horse breeders and owners. In the Late 1970s, Hudson became a member of the American Quarter Horse Association’s Racing Committee and helped form the group’s Racing Council. In 1992, he was a founding partner of Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. In 2006 Hudson was named Director at Large of the American Quarter Horse Association. Over the years he has been given many awards for his authoritative excellence pertaining to all Quarter Horse matters. His lifetime of contributions and achievements have made him a historic asset—vital to the success of horse racing throughout the nation and especially Texas.
The Master of Ceremony for the evening will be Australian-bred Dave Appleton, a former superstar on the professional rodeo circuit. In 1988 he became the first Australian and first non-American to win a world rodeo championship when he was named the “World Champion All-Around Cowboy.” Dave has been inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Australian Rodeo Hall of Fame.
TICKETS: For more information or to purchase tickets for the gala at $125 per person, visit www.txhorseracingmuseumandhalloffame.org, or contact Ryan Grammer at 210-651-7045 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Generous sponsorships are available. Retama Park is located at 1 Retama Pkwy, Selma, TX.