Foundation Class of 14 To Be Recognized in New Lone Star Park Hall of Fame

A foundation class of 14 will be enshrined in the new Lone Star Park Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 21 - one of the numerous highlights during a yearlong celebration of Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie's 10th Anniversary. Lone Star Park's 67-date Spring Thoroughbred Season opens for a 16-week run on Thursday night (April 12) at 6:35 p.m. CT and will continue through Sunday, July 29.

The inaugural Lone Star Park Hall of Fame class includes 1997 Horse of the Meeting Anet; former Lone Star Park all-time win leader and the 1997 leading jockey Ronald Ardoin; Lone Star Park's eight-time leading trainer and all-time win leader Steve Asmussen; legendary Quarter Horse trainer Jack Brooks, who saddled a record six winners in the lucrative Texas Classics; three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Bob Baffert, who has won a dozen Lone Star Park stakes races with major players; popular regular customer and horseplayer J.S. "Ponti" Campagna; original Lone Star Park investors Trammell Crow Family; four-time leading owner Tom Durant; Grand Prairie Mayor Charles England; former Lone Star Park President Corey S. Johnsen; influential Texas Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse owners and breeders Jim and Marilyn Helzer; former Lone Star Park Chairman Robert L. Kaminski; Kool Kue Baby, winner of a record 25 AQHA stakes races; and Mocha Express, the 1998 Horse of the Meet and only two-time Lone Star Park Handicap winner.

The inductees were voted in by the Lone Star Park Hall of Fame panel, which included Randy Galloway of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and ESPN 103.3 FM; Dave Hooper, Executive Director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association; Mary Rampellini of Daily Racing Form; Darren Rogers, Lone Star Park's Director of Communications and Gary West of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

On Saturday, April 21, the foundation class will be permanently enshrined with raised letters above the saddling area in Lone Star Park's paddock. The unveiling will take place at 1 p.m. CT, 35 minutes before the first live race (gates open at 11:30 a.m.). Also, the Hall of Fame class will be honored throughout the day between the 11-live races, complete with video highlights. The first 10,000 customers through Lone Star Park's turnstiles that day will receive a free commemorative Lone Star Park Hall of Fame t-shirt that salutes each member.

"The creation of the new Lone Star Park Hall of Fame is a perfect complement to our yearlong celebration of Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie's 10th anniversary," said Rogers, who chaired the selection committee. "This outstanding foundation class, whose accomplishments and reputations will withstand the test of time, will set the standard for all future inductees."

Lone Star Park Hall of Fame Foundation Class of 2007

Anet - Owned by Donald Dizney and trained by Bob Baffert, the Florida-bred was crowned Lone Star Park's 1997 Horse of the Meeting after winning the inaugural Lone Star Derby by 2 ¼ lengths over Frisk Me Now and Holzmeister. Anet would finish second in the Grade II Illinois Derby and Grade II Ohio Derby before returning to Lone Star for a victory in the USA Stakes under regular rider David Flores. Later in the year, Anet would run second to Touch Gold in the Grade I Haskell Invitational and win the Grade II Del Mar Derby at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Anet would win two of four starts and $287,000 at Lone Star Park in 1997-98.

Ronald Ardoin - Ronald Ardoin, always regarded as a leader in the Lone Star Park jockey's room, retired in 2003 after becoming only the 16th jockey in Thoroughbred racing history to win 5,000 career races. He concluded his outstanding 28-year career with 5,226 trips to the winner's circle, including 281 victories at Lone Star Park. He was Lone Star Park's all-time win leader from 1997-2001 and was the leading rider at the inaugural 1997 meeting with 92 victories, including a track record six victories on July 17, 1997. He also won 12 local stakes races, including a sweep of the TTA Sales Futurity and Middleground Stakes aboard Picture I.D., Lone Star Park's 1999 Champion 2-Year-Old Male.

Steve Asmussen - The three-time national win-leader and three-time Eclipse Award Finalist as North America's Champion Trainer has won a record eight Lone Star Park training titles (wins and earnings) and is the racetrack's all-time leader in wins (651), stakes wins (52) and earnings ($15,621,006). In 2004, he crushed Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg's 28-year-old record for races won in a single year when he amassed an astonishing 555 victories. Since 1999, five horses in his care have won Grade I races. He also ranks 13th in career North American wins (3,539 through April 5) and is on pace to be ranked eighth all-time at year's end. At Lone Star, Asmussen holds the record for single season stakes wins (nine in 2004), single season earnings ($2,270,108 in 2001) and wins in a day (seven on July 14, 2002). He has trained 15 Lone Star Park champions, including 1999 Horse of the Meet Heritage of Gold, and won the fillies division of the TTA Sales Futurity an amazing seven times.

Jack Brooks - Hall of Fame Quarter Horse trainer retired at age 71 after Lone Star Park's 2006 Fall Meeting of Champions. The winner of an unprecedented eight All American Futurities excelled at Lone Star, training four Horse of the Meetings and winning all the major Grade 1 events: Texas Classic Futurity (four times), Dash For Cash Futurity (once), Texas Classic Derby (three times), Dash For Cash Derby (four times) and Refrigertor Handicap (twice). In 2006, his stable earned a Lone Star Park Quarter Horse record $726,282.

Bob Baffert - Three-time Eclipse Award and Kentucky Derby-winning trainer has supported Lone Star Park's stakes program with top horses from the outset, winning 12 local stakes events. Baffert stole the show on the grand opening weekend in 1997 with Isitingood, who upset champion Skip Away in the Lone Star Park Handicap, and Anet in the Lone Star Derby. In 2002, Grade I Wood Memorial winner Congaree made a successful 4-year-old debut in the Grade III Lone Star Park Handicap. In 2006, he collected his second Texas Mile and Lone Star Derby wins with Preachinatthebar and Wanna Runner, respectively. A record four-time winner of the Pin Oak Stud USA Stakes, Baffert also brought Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Real Quiet to Lone Star Park for the 1999 Texas Mile, but fell short to multiple stakes winner Littlebitlively, who won the race for the second year in a row.

J.S. "Ponti" Campagna - One of Lone Star Park's most popular and influential regular customers since 1996, Campagna has earned tremendous respect and garnered a reputation as one of the shrewdest and most-disciplined handicappers from his fellow horseplayers. The instant "Ponti" hits his profit goal for the day, he returns to his home in Flower Mound, Texas to prepare for the next day's races - even if his "best bets" of the day have yet to run. The method has proved to be rewarding. An avid student of the "front bandages on- and off" betting angle, "Ponti" is peppered daily by other customers for his picks of the day, especially from the New York circuit.

Trammell Crow Family - Dallas-based real estate developers Trammell Crow and his son, Harlan Crow, were part of the original investors in the Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie project. Lawsuits, legal wrangling and investor frustration stalled the project in the fall of 1994. The Crows brought in Bob Kaminski, who had a wealth of knowledge in real estate and financial investments, to revitalize the struggling project. Based on Kaminski's analysis that the project should move forward, Crow Holdings made a $10 million commitment toward the project in February 1995, which kick-started other financial pledges from the state's horse owners and trainers. Soon thereafter, the City of Grand Prairie sales tax revenue bonds were issued and quickly sold, and financing for the project was complete.

Tom Durant - Tom Durant, a longtime owner and breeder in Texas, made the switch from Quarter Horses to Thoroughbreds in 1997 and became Lone Star Park's most victorious owner with 126 trips to the winner's circle over the first 10 Spring Thoroughbred Seasons. In turn, he is the only owner to have won four titles as Lone Star Park's top owner: 1998 (14 wins), 2000 (13 wins), 2004 Fall (8 wins); and 2005 (18 wins). The native of Granbury, Texas also has won six Lone Star Park stakes races and nearly $2.4 million in local purse money. One of his best horses was Touch Tone, who won the 2001 Alysheba Breeders' Cup Stakes at Lone Star and gave eventual Horse of the Year Point Given one of his toughest races in the Grade I Haskell Invitational.

Mayor Charles England - Mayor Charles England was the visionary who led the effort to bring major league horse racing to Grand Prairie, Texas. On Jan. 10, 1992, citizens of Grand Prairie voted in favor of a half-cent sales tax to assist in financing bonds to build a Class I horse racetrack, which will be paid off 18 years early in September 2007. Shortly after the major financial commitment, the city created a sports authority, which would own the track and lease it to a yet-to-be determined track operator. The project meant jobs, opportunities and economic development for the citizens of Grand Prairie. Receipts from Lone Star Park revenue have contributed to more than $11.3 million for other city projects. Mayor England was also instrumental in bringing the Breeders' Cup World Championships to Lone Star Park.

Corey S. Johnsen - Corey S. Johnsen led the development of Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie and was the driving force behind the Breeders' Cup World Championships coming to Texas in 2004. The Tacoma, Wash. native was Lone Star Park's first employee in February 1994 when he was brought on as Vice-President and General Manager. He was promoted to President in January 2000 and elevated to President of Magna Entertainment Corp. Operations in the Southwest when the racetrack was sold in October 2002. He served in that capacity until February 2007. Under Johnsen's guidance, Lone Star Park grew into a major player on the world's racing stage. After attracting nearly 1.3 million customers during the inaugural 1997 season, Lone Star Park became the first racetrack in modern history to increase attendance in its second year of operation. He also helped create the National All-Star Jockey Championship, which was held at Lone Star Park 1997-2004.

Jim & Marilyn Helzer - In June 1995, Jim Helzer helped convince horsemen to dedicate a portion of their simulcast wagering revenue to assist in the financing of Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie's construction project. The idea came at a critical time in the development of the racetrack and cemented the financing. As owners and breeders, the Helzers, who reside in Arlington and operate JEH Stallion Station in Pilot Point, have long been influential leaders in both the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse industries in Texas.

Robert L. Kaminski - In September 1995, Robert L. Kaminski was appointed President of Lone Star Race Park Management Corporation, the general partner of the partnership that developed and operated Lone Star Park, and was promoted to Chairman in January 2000. He served in that capacity until Lone Star Park was sold to Magna Entertainment Corp. in October 2002. Kaminski was brought into the Lone Star Park project by well-known Dallas-based real estate developers Trammell Crow and his son, Harlan Crow, at a time when there was legal gridlock and investor frustration. Kaminski served as arbitrator and peacemaker, reworked the package and quickly gained credibility and trust with key participants to attain their common goal of opening Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie.

Kool Kue Baby - Acquired by owner Ramiro Lopez for two pigs, two calves and a dog, this 950-pound Quarter Horse mare set and equaled the American Quarter Horse record for career stakes wins at Lone Star Park. Her record-equaling 22nd career stakes triumph came in the Grade 1 MBNA America Challenge Championship on Nov. 14, 1998 - her biggest career win. Two weeks later, she'd break the mark with a dominating one-length win in the Refrigerator Handicap. In the final start of her illustrious 64-race career, she won the Centaur Challenge Championship at Lone Star Park on Oct. 28, 2000 for her 25th career stakes win. Overall, the Texas-bred mare won 34 races and $783,262 and was crowned an AQHA champion three times. At Lone Star, the Cinderella story won five of nine starts and $255,170 under the care of her trainers K.C. Carden and the late Steve Van Bebber, and was named the 1998 Horse of the Meet as well as Champion Older Female in 1997, '98 and 2000.

Mocha Express - Mocha Express, trained by Tim Harder and usually ridden by Marlon St. Julien, sparkled at Lone Star Park between 1997-99, winning seven of 12 starts, including a track record four stakes and $487,796 in local earnings for his owners Don Strate, Roger Harder and Mary Dodd. The Texas-bred is the only repeat winner of the Lone Star Park Handicap, the second of which came in 1999 by a scant nose over graded stakes winner and two-time Texas Mile champ Littlbitlively. In turn, he was recognized as the 1999 Texas-bred Horse of the Year. The year before, he was named Lone Star Park's Horse of the Meeting. Overall, Mocha Express won 16 of 34 starts and $960,216 between 1997-2000.

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