Bill Creating Texas Derby Horse Race Approved By State Lawmakers
July 12, 2011
A "premier horse race with one of the richest purses in the country could bolt from the starting gate in Texas in the next few years, thanks to a new state law enacted during the 82nd Legislature," according to John Whisler of the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS. The bill, introduced by state Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, received "overwhelming support in the House and Senate after lawmakers chose not to help the struggling Texas racing industry by advancing measures legalizing slots at the state’s racetracks." The national race for thoroughbreds and another for quarter horses "would be known as the Texas Derby and could offer a purse worth up to $5 million." The Texas Derby "would alternate among the state’s Class 1 racetracks -- Sam Houston Race Park, Retama Park and Lone Star Park -- as early as 2015." Texas Gov. Rick Perry "signed the measure, which established the framework for a race, in June." Hilderbran indicated that purse funds "could be raised through the sale of naming rights, sponsorships and entry fees." He added that the $5M figure "was not part of the final bill" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 7/12).