De Francis group losing Texas race HORSE RACING

July 09, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

Texas should soon have its first of three proposed Grade I racetracks.

But it won't be operated by the Lone Star Jockey Club, the Dallas-Fort Worth group affiliated with Laurel/Pimlico president Joe De Francis.

Speaking at the AmTote International convention yesterday in Baltimore, David Freeman, executive secretary of the Texas Racing Commission, said that financing for Sam Houston Race Park in Houston was completed a couple of days ago and that Maxxam Corp., the company building the facility, will start construction immediately. "Everything has already been bid out," Freeman said.

The scheduled opening is for May 1994. "Salomon Bros. pTC [brokerage firm] offered $70 million worth of bonds and they have been oversubscribed," Freeman said.

Meanwhile, Lone Star is involved in a legal dispute that could indefinitely delay the start of its project.

A Texas judge ruled last week that the racing commission did not follow proper procedures when it granted a license to the Lone Star group last fall and has set aside its permit.

"We still haven't seen the judge's ruling," Freeman said. "We have tried to get him to clarify the order, but that could take another 30 days."

De Francis maintained yesterday that the judge's ruling is "not a major obstacle" and that construction is continuing at the Grand Prairie site.

However, Freeman described the extent of the work activity at the location as "pushing over trees."

The third track is proposed for the San Antonio area.

* Lech, with Mike Smith aboard, took the lead in the stretch and scored a 1 1/4 -length victory yesterday in the $46,000 Majesty's Prince Handicap at Belmont Park.

Share the Glory, the favorite, was runner-up in the six-horse field for 3-year-olds and up. Majesty's Time was a neck behind in third.

The victory was the third in eight starts this year for Lech, who covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:40:4.

Lech returned $7.20, $2.80 and $2.20. Share the Glory paid $2.40 and $2.10 and Majesty's Time showed at $3.20.

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