Despite repeated attempts by Texas horsemen and the Texas Thoroughbred Association to meet with Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick to discuss the future of the horse industry in the state, no such meeting has taken place.
On November 4, 2015, Mr. Patrick wrote a letter to the state’s horsemen and racetracks asking for “recommendations on how we can help preserve and grow your industry.”
In response, the Texas Thoroughbred Association, in letters dated November 16 and December 3, formally requested a meeting through Mr. Patrick’s office. Numerous emails were then exchanged to follow up. To date, all attempts to arrange a meeting have been rebuffed. When told that Mr. Patrick did not have any availability in Austin due to his travel schedule, the TTA also offered to meet at any location outside of Austin that would fit in with his schedule.
“The thousands of people who make their living in the horse racing and breeding industry are worried about their livelihoods and whether they will be forced to relocate to another state,” said TTA Executive Director Mary Ruyle. “They also feel frustrated and betrayed that despite the Lieutenant Governor’s public statements, there is an apparent lack of desire on his part to sit down to discuss the issues facing the industry and find possible solutions.”
The situation for horsemen is especially dire as breeding season is approaching and Sam Houston Race Park is in the midst of its race meet with a possible shutdown of the Texas racing industry in February if funding is not approved for the Texas Racing Commission.
“This is not a political question; it is about the livelihood of Texans,” stated Ruyle. “We ask Mr. Patrick to keep his public promise. We want to assure Texas horsemen that we are diligently pursuing a meeting with Mr. Patrick to take place as soon as possible and will be available at any time and place that works for him.”