||Lone Star Park Increases Purse for Steve Sexton Mile to $300,000
(Grand Prairie, Texas - Thursday, January 10, 2019) - Lone Star Park has scheduled the Steve Sexton Mile (Gr. III) for Sunday, April 28, and has added another $100,000 to the purse, raising it to $300,000. The Sexton Mile headlines the 13-race stakes schedule for the 2019 Thoroughbred Season, which opens for a 44-day run beginning Thursday, April 18 and runs through Sunday, July 21.
The Sexton Mile ran as the Texas Mile from its inaugural running in 1997 to 2016. It was awarded Grade 3 status in 1999. In 2017 the race was re-named as a tribute to Lone Star Park's former executive vice president and general manager, Steve Sexton, who died in December 2016 at age 57 after battling brain cancer.
Sexton was an integral part of Lone Star's management team that opened the track in 1997, which helped it become one of the most successful track launches in the modern era. Because of his efforts, the track wishes to help raise awareness for the Steven P. Sexton Foundation. The foundation was created in 2017 by the Sexton Family to honor an unfinished bucket list item of his, which was to put a student through college who would not have the opportunity otherwise. The foundation will be awarding the first two recipients at Lone Star Park on Sexton Mile Day.
"The Foundation's Scholarship program sets the Steve Sexton Mile Stakes apart from America's other great races," said Taylor Sexton. "It fulfills the wish of a very special man, my father. We are excited to announce and recognize the first recipients of the Steven P. Sexton Foundation Scholarship at this year's race, which will be awarded to two students committed to furthering their academic education."
Year-after-year, this race continues to draw top horses from around the country and has become, unofficially, in the last two years, a prep race for the $1.2 million Metropolitan Handicap (Gr. I) at Belmont Park. Last year's Sexton Mile winner, Charles Fipke's Bee Jersey, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, went on to win the Metropolitan, and Mor Spirit, winner of the 2017 edition, also won the Metropolitan. Mor Spirit, owned by Michael Lund Peterson and conditioned by Bob Baffert, gave the Hall of Fame and two-time Triple Crown-winning trainer his fourth victory in this event. Baffert's other three victories were: the inaugural running in 1997 with Isitingood, who defeated 1998 Horse of the Year Skip Away (3rd), in 2006 with Preachinatthebar, and with Mythical Power in 2010.
"Steve Sexton was one of the all-time good guys in our sport," said trainer Bob Baffert. "For all the good fortune I've had in the game at Churchill and Santa Anita, Saratoga and Del Mar, Belmont and Pimlico, nothing made me happier than winning the inaugural Steve Sexton Mile with Mor Spirit at Lone Star."
Trainer Steve Asmussen has conditioned the winners of three editions of this race, including Bee Jersey as mentioned previously, Master Rick in 2013, and Thiskyhasnolimit in 2011.
"Steve Sexton and myself shared a great sense of pride in Lone Star Park," said Asmussen. "The Sexton Mile has become a significant event on the racing calendar, with the last two winners using it as a prep for the Metropolitan Handicap."
Lone Star Park and the Sexton Family encourage everyone to continue supporting this great cause. Donations to the Steven P. Sexton Foundation can be made by following this link: Sexton Foundation.