Juarez Track Also Had A Horse That Won The Derby

 

With so much horse racing in the news lately, I thought you’d like to read an interesting item from the old days. Much has been made out of Mine That Bird from Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino winning the Kentucky Derby last year, and rightfully so. But did you know a horse from Juarez Racetrack won the Kentucky Derby, too? It’s true.

 

Twenty one years ago I wrote the history of horse racing in this area for Password, a publication of the El Paso County Historical Society. The story was titled “The Sport of Kings at The Pass of the North” and included history of the sport from the late 1500s when Spanish explorer Antonio de Espejo introduced the sport to this region and on through 1989. Following is an excerpt from that story that will also appear in a book I’m writing:

 

”A REFORM WAVE concerning gambling hit the United States in the early part of the 1900s. As a result, winter horse racing was outlawed in many states. In 1902, Col. Matt Winn and some associates who had taken over Churchill Downs decided to build a track in Juarez. The track, an elegant, spacious plant, opened on Dec. 1, 1909. It was originally named Terrazas Park in honor of Alberto Terrazas, son of a Mexican cattle king, but soon became known simply as Juarez Racetrack. A thoroughbred by the name of Old Rosebud broke his maiden there as a two year old. The next year, 1914, he won the Kentucky Derby by eight lengths in a time of 2:03 2/5 for the mile and a quarter, setting a record that stood for 16 years.”

 Old Rosebud gained much fame and many articles have been written about him but hardly any include the fact he ran at the old Juarez Racetrack.

 

 

TRIVIA question: Two brothers helped El Paso High School win state basketball championships in different years. Can you name them? Answer at end.

 

BILL IKARD, a legend in El Paso amateur golf, has had some health problems but he still swings a mean golf club.  He’s a member of a world wide seniors group that holds tournaments all over the globe. He recently competed in the International Senior Golf Society tournament in Kiawait Island, South Carolina, and walked away with the super senior division championship.  Ikard, a former winner of the Anthony Invitational, annually hosts the Los Coyote Viejos senior tournament at Santa Teresa Country Club

Another El Pasoan, Gladys La Belle, took first place overall in the women’s division.

 

AND STILL another success story:

Antonio Venegas will be graduating in June from Eastwood High School ranked in the top 10 academically in his class.  He has worked as an intern the past five years for Time Warner Cable Sports channel 24 that telecasts high school football plus boys and girls basketball in El Paso. 

Venegas handled a full range of responsibilities from his first year working with TWC as an eighth grader at St. Raphael's School to now.

A member of the TimeWarner Cable crew issued this statement: “Antonio has demonstrated great enthusiasm towards everything he does and has an excellent rapport with the TWC eight person staff that works the telecast games. We will be sad to see him go, but realize that he is destined for greater things ahead.  He will be attending Ohio State University in the fall on an academic scholarship majoring in International Studies. That university will be fortunate to have him as a student.” 

 

ANSWER to trivia question: Mario Palafox in 1941 and Jose Palafox in 1947. Both later became doctors of medicine.

 

Veteran sports journalist and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column. Contact him at (915) 584-0626, by e-mail at rayf358@yahoo.com or online at www.raysanchezbooks.com