Holmes received his first training license in 1968, and is one of several “old-timers” at Trinity Meadows. Having raced everywhere from Raton to Louisiana and up to Colorado, he is a wise horsemen who knows what to say and what to leave alone. I asked him if he believes racing will come back to Weatherford.
“Yes,” he said. “I believe racing will come back to Weatherford.”
But if he had a precognition of when, he didn’t share it.
Actually, according to Ferrell, Jim Dunnegan, of Arlington, who purchased the 210-acre property in the 1997 bankruptcy sale and renamed it Trinity Meadows, has taken the request to reopen the track before the Texas Racing Commission three times this year alone. For whatever reason, the commission has denied Dunnegan’s requests. Another mystery it seems, although the horsemen have their theories, none of they would publicly share.
So, the 160,000-square-foot grandstand with its four-level seating capacity of 9,000, which hosted 20,000 people in 1991 on opening day, sits like a jilted lover awaiting a gentle hand to restore her numerous bars, restaurants and private boxes to the glitter and drama they last enjoyed in 1996.
And men like Ferrell, Holmes and the others bide their time, racing in other parks around the country.
Ferrell was another owner-trainer who ran his horses on this track that was the second parimutuel facility to open in Texas.
“Even before that,” he said, “in the 1970s and early 1980s, the track was an American Quarter Horse Association recognized track where they ran a couple of big futurities every year. The old-timers come around here and talk about what a good time they used to have here and how sad it is that it’s closed.”
In the meantime, the track is home to around 25 regular trainers, including a couple of women, but primarily men, like John Tally who breaks and trains racehorses for sale.