Lone Star Park Kicks Off 10th Anniversary Year Thursday Night

Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie will kick off a yearlong celebration of its 10th anniversary Thursday night at 6:35 p.m. CT as the 67-date Spring Thoroughbred Season commences a 16-week run through July 29.

As usual, the first race of the season will be the $50,000 Premiere Stakes. Ten years ago, the inaugural running of the one-mile race for Texas-breds was taken by 49-1 longshot I Are Sharp on April 17, 1997 - the very first race in Lone Star Park history. I Are Sharp's trainer K.C. Wojciechowski, now retired and living in Tarpley, Texas (about 70 miles west of San Antonio), will be making her first trip to Lone Star Park in seven years to present the Premiere Stakes trophy to this year's winner.

Sandburr, winner of the $75,000 Louisiana Breeders' Cup Handicap at Fair Grounds and $100,000 Star of Texas Stakes at Sam Houston, scared off most of the nominees and is odds-on 4-5 morning line favorite in the compact field of six. A shrewd $20,000 claim by trainer Mike Stidham a year ago, Sandburr has since won four of 10 starts and earned $176,840 for Marty Nixon's Feel The Thunder Stable. When he won the Louisiana Breeders' Cup Handicap in January, Sandburr beat graded stakes winner Jonesboro and graded stakes-placed Patriot Act.

The 8-year-old gelding's two most recent starts came against graded stakes company at Fair Grounds - a fourth in the Grade III Mineshaft Handicap and a fifth in the Grade II New Orleans Handicap. As a result, he'll have to carry nine additional pounds in the Premiere, from 114 to 123. "It's just part of the game," Stidham said. "Sandburr is a real warrior and he'll deal with it."

Sandburr will break from post position No. 4 with Cliff Berry in the saddle. Berry has been the leading rider at Lone Star Park each of the last two seasons, including a single-season record 103 trips to the winner's circle last year.

Trainer Danny Pish will saddle two local favorites in the race: Goosey Moose, the 9-5 second choice who finished second in last month's $45,000 Spring Stakes at Sam Houston, and 2003-04 Premiere Stakes champ Agrivating General, who will make an unprecedented fifth straight appearance in the race.

"Goosey Moose is coming up to the race ideally, but he always seems to a catch another horse that will have a big day," Pish said. "If it happens again Thursday, I just hope the horse is Agriviating General and not Sandburr, who looks tough. As for Agrivating General, I take great pride that he's been able to make this race for five straight years. A lot of people think of me as a trainer good with two-year-olds and maidens, but I've had my share of horses that last quite a long time."

Goose Moose has finished among the Top 3 in six of his seven starts on the Lone Star Park main track, while Agrivating General has finished first or second in nine of 13 starts over the Lone Star Park oval.

The complete Premiere Stakes field, from the rail out (with jockeys and morning line odds): Tru Dancing (Carlos Marquez, 20-1); Super Itron (Filemon Rodriguez, 20-1); Goosey Moose (Quincy Hamilton, 9-5); Sandburr (Cliff Berry, 4-5); Andanight (Iram Diego, 12-1); and Agrivating General (Don Simington, 6-1).

While the Premiere only lured six entries, the majority of the 10-race program has large fields with a total of 99 horses entered to compete. The ninth race, a $34,000 allowance for fillies and mares at one mile on turf, attracted a classy field of 11, including stakes winners D Fine Okie, Beau Happy and Palace Rumor.

Opening Week at Lone Star Park will be filled with plenty of fan-fare: season-opening ceremonies before the $50,000 Premiere Stakes (Thursday); post-race concerts from Foreigner (Friday) and Robert Earl Keen (Saturday); and "Family Fun Day," complete with bounce houses, pony rides, a petting zoo, free passes to Six Flags Over Texas to the first 500 kids age 12 and under and prize drawings for iPods (Sunday).

Lone Star Park will race four days a week in 2007 with live racing on Thursday and Friday nights at 6:35 p.m. CT and Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 1:35 p.m. CT. Special holiday programs are also scheduled for Monday, May 28 (1:35 p.m. CT), Tuesday, July 3 (5 p.m. CT) and Wednesday, July 4 (5 p.m. CT).

The Premiere Stakes kicks off a 32-race stakes schedule worth $3.4 million. Highlights include Lone Star Million Preview Day, featuring the Grade III, $300,000 Texas Mile and three other stakes that are steppingstones to Lone Star Million Day (Saturday, April 28); the Grade III, $300,000 Lone Star Derby (Saturday, May 12); and Lone Star Million Day, Texas' richest day of racing with six stakes races totaling more than $1 million (Memorial Day, Monday, May 28). Three of the races on Lone Star Million Day are the Grade III, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap; Grade III, $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup Handicap; and Grade III, $200,000 Ouija Board Handicap (formerly known as the WinStar Distaff).

If the past is any indication, the biggest draw of the meet will be the Lone Stars & Stripes Fireworks Celebration (Tuesday, July 3 and Wednesday, July 4) where one of the largest fireworks shows in North Texas follows special 5 p.m. twilight racing. Last year's two-night holiday extravaganza lured more than 38,000 people.

Lone Star has several giveaways planned to commemorate its 10th anniversary, including magnetic schedules (Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15), Lone Star Park Hall of Fame t-shirt (Saturday, April 21), Lone Star Derby glassware set (Saturday, May 12), Lone Star Million folding quad lawn chair (Monday, May, 28), 10th Anniversary 12-pack cooler (Saturday, June 16), Stars of Texas tumbler (Saturday, July 7) and 10th Anniversary sports bag (Saturday, July 28).

Other promotions include two "Dollar Days" featuring beer, soft drinks, hot dogs, popcorn, general admission, parking and programs for just $1 each (Saturday, April 28 and Saturday, July 14); a Ford vehicle giveaway (Wednesday, July 4); the Mother's Day Diamond Dig (Mother's Day, Sunday, May 13); Father's Day Fishing Contest (Father's Day, Sunday, June 17). Most Friday nights will feature live music and drink specials from 7-11 p.m. in conjunction with the "Party at the Park" series. There also will be live music between races on most Saturdays. Sundays are "Senior Citizens' Day" with free general admission for seniors 62 and up.

General admission is $3 (or just $1 for members of Lone Star's free "Star Player Rewards" program) and clubhouse admission is $6. Grandstand gates open most weeknights at 5 p.m. and 11:30 a.m. on weekends. Reserved seating is available by calling (972) 263-PONY. For more information, call (972) 263-RACE or visit lonestarpark.com.

Opening Night Ceremonies

Opening night ceremonies to kick off Lone Star Park's 10th anniversary year will commence Thursday at approximately 5:45 p.m. Grandstand gates will open early at 4:30 p.m., and oddsmaker Rick Lee and track announcer John Lies will provide a handicapping seminar on the first floor of the Grandstand between 5:15-5:45 p.m.

The opening ceremonies will include Premiere Stakes jockey introductions, the unfurling of a giant Texas flag on the main track, a color guard presentation, the National Anthem performed by Nicki Hale and a massive balloon release.

Also, there will be Dixieland bands performing at the East Gate Entrance between 4:30-7:30 p.m., face painters and temporary tattoo artists in the Courtyard of Champions between 5:30-9:30 p.m. and a "butt-sketch" artist in the Saddling Paddock between 5:30-9:30 p.m.

Foreigner in Concert Friday Night After the Races

Classic arena rock band Foreigner, who emerged in the late 1970s to produce nine Top 10 hits and five Top 5 albums, will perform Friday night at Lone Star Park after the horse races. The outdoor concert - part of the Grand Prairie racetrack's 10th Anniversary Opening Weekend festivities - is expected to begin at 11 p.m.

Led by British journeyman rocker Mick Jones, Foreigner is best known for their memorable hits "Feels Like the First Time" (#4 on the U.S. Hot 100 Chart in 1977); "Cold As Ice" (#6 in 1977); "Hot Blooded" (#3 in 1978); "Double Vision" (#2 in 1978); "Urgent" (#4 in 1981); "Waiting for a Girl Like You" (#2 in 1981); "Juke Box Hero" (#26 in 1982); "I Want to Know What Love Is" (#1 in 1984); "Say You Will" (#6 in 1987); and "I Don't Want to Live Without You" (#5 in 1988). Their 1981 chart-topper 4 sold nearly 10 million copies, making it one of the most successful rock albums of all time.

General admission to Lone Star Park on Friday is $3 before 9 p.m. and $15 thereafter. Grandstand gates open at 5 p.m. and the first of 10 live races is 6:35 p.m. CT. Johnnie Blanco will entertain the crowd with music between live races in the sun-shaded Courtyard of Champions from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The stage for the Foreigner concert will be situated outdoors just outside the racing surface in front of the Courtyard. The lawn area is first-come, first serve, and there is limited patio table seating in the Courtyard. Blankets and folding chairs are permitted outdoors.

Robert Earl Keen in Concert Saturday Night After the Races

Legendary Texas singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen, best known for his live performances and signature sing-along anthem "The Road Goes On Forever (And The Party Never Ends)," will appear in concert Saturday night at Lone Star Park after the horse races.

Keen is famous for his story-telling narrative, catchy melodies and quality musicianship. Since 1984, the Texas A&M grad has successfully melded roots-rock, honky-tonk, blues, funk and folk to form his own unique blend of Texas music. Last year, Live at the Ryman was the Houston native's 13th commercial release, featuring live performances of his classics.

He blends barroom sing-alongs like "Merry Christmas from the Family" and "Five Pound Bass" with poetic and critically acclaimed tracks from works like 1993's A Bigger Piece of Sky, 2003's Fresh Farm Onions and 2005's What I Really Mean - just to name a few. Nationally known with fans of traditional country, folk, alt-country and college radio, Keen's Texas Uprising Shows have drawn as many as 25,000 people, proving "the party never ends."

General admission to Lone Star Park on Saturday is $3 before 5 p.m. and $15 thereafter. Grandstand gates open at 11:35 a.m. and the first of 11 live races is 1:35 p.m. CT. After the last scheduled race (approximately 6:15 p.m.), country rockers Eli Young Band will perform favorites from their releases Level and Live At The Jolly Fox. Keen is expected to take the stage between 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

The stage for the concert will be situated outdoors just outside the racing surface in front of the sun-shaded Courtyard of Champions. The lawn area is first-come, first serve, and there is limited patio table seating in the Courtyard. Blankets and folding chairs are permitted outdoors. Between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m., King Cone & The Tailgate Philharmonic will entertain the crowd between live races with music in the Courtyard.

Sunday is Family Fun Day; Free Six Flags Over Texas Passes & Prize Drawings for iPods

Sunday is "Family Fun Day" at Lone Star Park, complete with bounce houses, pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids in the Family Fun Park located near the top of the stretch. Also, the first 500 children age 12 and under will receive a free pass to Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington (a $34.99 value). There also will be a prize drawing for children age 15 and under to win 30 iPods, iPod Shuffles and iPod Nanos.

Grandstand gates will open at 11:30 a.m. and the first of nine live races is 1:35 p.m. CT.

Lone Star Park plans to have special activities for the entire family (i.e. bounce houses, etc.) on several dates this season: Saturday, April 21 (Lone Star Park Hall of Fame Day); Saturday, April 28 (Lone Star Million Preview/Dollar Day); Saturday, May 5 (Kentucky Derby Day); Saturday, May 12 (Lone Star Derby Day); Monday, May 28 (Lone Star Million Day); Saturday, June 16 (Summer Fun Day); Tuesday, July 3 (Lone Stars & Stripes Fireworks Celebration); Wednesday, July 4 (Lone Stars & Stripes Fireworks Celebration); Saturday, July 7 (Stars of Texas Day); Saturday, July 14 (Dollar Day); and Saturday, July 28 (Fan Appreciation Day).

Also, Lone Star Park's popular "Goggle Toss" will return on Saturdays and Sundays. The tradition, where the winning jockey of each weekend and holiday race throws autographed goggles to the crowd, has proven to be a real fan-favorite over the years as youngsters flock to the winner's circle after each race to vie for the prized goggles.

Free Lone Star Park Magnetic Schedules on Saturday and Sunday; Record Number of Premium Item Giveaways for 10th Anniversary Year

All customers who attend the live races at Lone Star Park on Saturday and Sunday will receive a free 2007 Lone Star Park Spring Thoroughbred Season magnetic schedule, courtesy of Budweiser, while supplies last.

The giveaway is a prelude to a record number of premium item giveaways in conjunction with Lone Star Park's 10th anniversary year: a Lone Star Park Hall of Fame t-shirt (Saturday, April 21), Lone Star Derby glassware set (Saturday, May 12), Lone Star Million folding quad lawn chair (Monday, May, 28), 10th Anniversary 12-pack cooler (Saturday, June 16), Stars of Texas tumbler (Saturday, July 7) and 10th Anniversary sports bag (Saturday, July 28).

Other promotions include two "Dollar Days" featuring beer, soft drinks, hot dogs, popcorn, general admission, parking and programs for just $1 each (Saturday, April 28 and Saturday, July 14); a Ford vehicle giveaway (Wednesday, July 4); Mother's Day Diamond Dig (Sunday, May 13); and an opportunity for men to fish for a custom barbeque grill (Father's Day, Sunday, June 17).

Starting on April 20, Friday nights will feature live music and drink specials from 7-11 p.m. in conjunction with the "Party at the Park" series. There also will be live music between races on most Saturdays.

All Sundays are "Senior Citizens' Day" with free general admission for seniors 62 and up.

10th Anniversary Park on Tuesday, April 17

Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie is hosting a lavish 10th Anniversary Party on Tuesday, April 17 that will benefit the Lone Park Charitable Foundation for Grand Prairie. The celebration will take place in Champions on the second floor of the Grandstand from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., complete with a buffet dinner, cash bar, live music, video highlights, live and silent auction items and a raffle for a wine basket. There will even be a giant cake that replicates Lone Star Park's Grandstand.

Some of the numerous auction items include:

  • Autographed jersey from the Indianapolis Colts' regular season and Super Bowl MVP quarterback Peyton Manning
  • VIP Tour of the 2007 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp in San Antonio from former NFL wide receiver Mike Renfro and a chance to meet new head coach Wade Phillips (includes airfare, hotel and food and beverage)
  • One-of-a-kind dinner with actor Robert Knepper (a.k.a. T-Bag from FOX's hit TV drama "Prison Break")
  • Norman Rockwell's print "Weighing In," autographed by the late Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro
  • Set of four limited edition Kentucky Derby prints from renowned equine artist Peter Williams: "The Fighting Finish," "The First Turn," "The Winner's Circle," and "First Saturday in May."
  • Football autographed by Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman
  • Miniature basketball autographed by NBA legend Julius Irving
  • Dallas Mavericks playoff tickets
  • Suite for 25 to Lone Star Park (includes food and beverage)
  • Six suite tickets to the NASCAR's Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 4 (includes pit passes and food and beverage)
  • Suite for 16 to a Texas Rangers game

Tickets are $60 each. To attend, please contact Sharon McClung at (972) 237-1188. Everyone in attendance will receive a limited edition commemorative Lone Star Park 10th Anniversary DVD.

Ramsey Zimmerman New to Lone Star Jockey Colony

Ramsey Zimmerman, the Chicago circuit staple who finished eighth in the Fair Grounds jockey standings with 41 wins, plans to ride at Lone Star Park throughout the 2007 Spring Thoroughbred Season. Zimmerman will join a colony that was led last year by Cliff Berry and Quincy Hamilton.

His mounts will be booked by jockey agent Scott Hare, who also handles business for jockey Justin Shepherd.
In 2004, Zimmerman won a career-high 326 races to finish fourth nationally behind Rafael Bejarano, Ramon Dominguez and John Velazquez. He also won seven stakes that year and $2.5 million.

"He's a good rider," Hare said. "On opening night, we've got calls for [trainers] Steve Asmussen, Bret Calhoun, Cody Autrey and Donnie K. Von Hemel."

Last fall, Zimmerman finished second to seven-time leading rider Chris Emigh in the Hawthorne jockey standings before moving his tack to New Orleans. At Fair Grounds, his successes included a victory aboard the Jimmy McMullen-trained Cloudy's Knight in the Grade III Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap in a stakes record 1:49 2/5 for 1 1/8 miles on turf. Cloudy's Knight would finish second to Einstein in the Grade II Mervin Muniz Jr. Handicap in his next start.

"He also won nine races at Fair Grounds on the final week," Hare said.

In 1999, Zimmerman won his first graded stakes race aboard Minor Wisdom in the Grade III, $250,000 Hawthorne Derby for trainer Richard Scherer. However, the 25-year-old native of Palm Beach, Fla. has had his share of ups and downs on and off the racetrack since he won his first race in 1998 at the age of 16.

"He's turned his life around now and he's getting to the track and working hard every day at 4:30 a.m.," Hare said. "I think he'll have a good meet."

Down The Stretch: ESPN 103.3 FM's Galloway & Company - a.k.a. GAC, headed by The Fort Worth Star-Telegram sports columnist and horse owner Randy Galloway - will broadcast live inside Lone Star Park's East Gate Entrance on Thursday night from 3-6 p.m. . . . Lone Star Park has added 16 manned wagering terminals on the first floor of the Grandstand that will be available for events that attract large crowds. Also, there will be additional walk-around tellers with hand-held wagering terminals . . . A new Lone Star Park Hall of Fame will inaugurate and honor a foundation class of 14 on Saturday, April 21. The group will be enshrined with raised lettering in the Saddling Paddock and saluted throughout the day . . . Four stakes races, including the Grade III, $300,000 Texas Mile, comprise the new Lone Star Million Preview Day on Saturday, April 28. Instead of running stakes events on select Saturdays in April, they have been moved to one day to make for a great day of top-class horseracing . . . There's a new electronic sign that greets patrons at the Gate 3, 4 & 5 entrance off Belt Line Road and Lone Star Parkway . . . One year after Director of Track Maintenance George McDermott helped reduce main track injuries by 50-percent, he and his crew decided to try something new with the turf course. As a result, the 7/8-mile oval looks to be in its best shape ever. "Last August, we removed one inch of the top layer of grass and the organic layer," McDermott said. "The process improved the root system and essentially made the grass more healthy. We've also implemented a very aggressive fertilization and nutrient program, and I'm very pleased with where we're at. I've had to cut the turf almost every day because it's growing so much." . . . The East Trackside Patio is currently under construction to glass-enclose the area for groups of about 300 . . . New food items at Lone Star Park include fried chicken at the new Finish Line Fowl concession stand and strawberry shortcakes at the Pie Stand on the first floor of the Grandstand. There's a new $15 buffet in the second floor box seat section featuring a Ham & Havarti Panini and a Southwest Chicken Panini. New offerings in the Silks Dining Terraces include a Chopped Salad, 10-ounce Silks Filet, Texas Sliced Filet, Chicken & Angel Hair Pasta, Fish Tacos, New York Deli Sandwich and Strawberry Shortcake.

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