Get in the Game

Ever thought about owning and racing your own Texas Thoroughbred? Now's the time.

Conditions have never been better. Photo courtesy of Texas Thoroughbred Association

If you are a fan of Thoroughbred horse racing at Houston’s Sam Houston Race Park, no doubt you’re excited about the new season of live racing that opens on January 6.

But here’s something you may or may not have ever considered: owning and racing a Texas-bred Thoroughbred.

If you’ve ever pondered the potential or fantasized about the possibilities of getting involved with Texas horse racing, the conditions haven't been this inviting or favorable in many years.

For the first time in nearly two decades, Texas horse racing is moving in a positive direction, and everything indicates a continuation of that progress. Last year, even as the nation grappled with the harsh and sometimes deadly consequences of the COVID pandemic, Texas horse racing showed signs of resilience.

Even as racetracks limited their dates and crowds, the comeback began. Texas racetracks paid $31,052,099 in purses in 2020, according to the annual report by the state racing commission.

For the 89 days of Thoroughbred racing in the state, purses averaged $195,967, which represents a 42-percent increase from 2019, when Thoroughbred purses averaged a mere $137,681. But this was only the beginning.

The purse increase was largely due to House Bill 2463. Passed in 2019, it amended the tax code to require the deposit of state taxes collected on the sale of feed, supplements, and tack into a Horse Industry Escrow Account, capped at $50 million for the biennium. This supplementary source of funds added $17.5 million to purses in 2020, and the purses are still growing.

In 2021, Sam Houston Race Park enjoyed what was arguably the best season in its history. For its 43-day Thoroughbred meeting that concluded on April 3, the Houston racetrack paid $12.6 million in purses, or a record $293,000 a day.

The high purses attracted Letruska, who won the Houston Ladies Classic on her way to what will almost certainly be an Eclipse Award as the nation’s top older female. And all-sources handle increased more than 28 percent, to $2,242,807 a day.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at and inside information on owning and racing a Texas-bred Thoroughbred on January 6, opening night at Sam Houston Race Park.

Join Houston radio personality and horse racing handicapper Fred Faour and former Houston Oiler/Dallas Cowboy NFL star — and now racehorse owner — Mike Renfro for a special owner-preview event. Meet trainers and racehorse owners for valuable information about “getting in the game.”

Space is limited, so RSVP at www.TxRaceHorse.com.

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Building Houston

 
 

Bumble is sponsoring 50 collegiate women athletes in honor of this week’s 50th Anniversary of Title IX. Photo by Kristen Kilpatrick

Bumble is causing a buzz once again, this time for collegiate women athletes. Founded by recent Texas Business Hall of Fame inductee Whitney Wolfe Herd, the Austin-based and female-first dating and social networking app this week announced a new sponsorship for 50 collegiate women athletes with NIL (name, image, and likeness) deals in honor of the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

Established in 1972, the federal law prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or other education program or activity that receives federal money. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, the number of women in collegiate athletics has increased significantly since Title IX, from 15 percent to 44 percent.

That said, equity continues to lag in many ways, specifically for BIPOC women who make up only 14 percent of college athletes. The findings also share that men have approximately 60,000 more collegiate sports opportunities than women, despite the fact that women make up a larger portion of the collegiate population.

With this in mind, Bumble’s new sponsorship seeks to support “a wealth of overlooked women athletes around the country,” according to the beehive’s official 50for50 program page.

“We're embarking on a yearlong sponsorship of 50 remarkable women, with equal pay amounts across all 50 NIL (name, image, and likeness) contracts,” says the website. “The inaugural class of athletes are a small representation of the talented women around the country who diligently — and often without recognition — put in the work on a daily basis.”

To celebrate the launch of the program, Bumble partnered with motion graphic artist Marlene “Motion Mami” Marmolejos to create a custom video and digital trading cards that each athlete will post on their personal social media announcing their sponsorship.

“These sponsorships are an exciting step in empowering and spotlighting a diverse range of some of the most remarkable collegiate women athletes from across the country. Athletes who work just as hard as their male counterparts, and should be seen and heard,” says Christina Hardy, Bumble’s director of talent and influencer, in a separate release. “In honor of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, we are so proud to stand alongside these women and are looking forward to celebrating their many achievements throughout the year.”

“Partnering with Bumble and announcing this campaign on the anniversary of Title IX is very special,” said Alexis Ellis, a track and field athlete. “I am grateful for the progress that has been made for women in sports, and am proud to be part of Bumble’s ’50for50’ to help continue moving the needle and striving for more. I look forward to standing alongside so many incredible athletes for this campaign throughout the year.”

“I am so grateful to team up with Bumble and stand alongside these incredible athletes on this monumental anniversary,” said Haleigh Bryant a gymnast. “Many women continue to be overlooked in the world of sports, and I am excited to be part of something that celebrates, and shines a light on, the hard work, tenacity, and accomplishments of so many great athletes.”

Last year, the NCAA announced an interim policy that all current and incoming student athletes could profit off their name, image, and likeness, according to the law of the state where the school is located, for the first time in collegiate history.

The 50for50 initiative adds to Bumble’s previous multi-year investments in sports. In 2019, Bumble also launched a multi-year partnership with global esports organization Gen.G to create Team Bumble, the all-women professional esports team.

To see the 50for50 athletes, visit the official landing page.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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