Average Daily Attendance Increases Slightly During Lone Star Park 2010 Thoroughbred Meet

(Grand Prairie, Texas - July 18, 2010) - Despite a national trend of diminishing attendance at most other racetracks across the country, Lone Star Park ended its 60-day, 2010 Spring Thoroughbred Meet with a 1-percent increase in average daily attendance.

Average daily attendance increased to 6,952 compared to 6,883 for 65 days in 2009. Overall, 417,096 racing fans came through the turnstiles during the meet, which was run from Thursday, April 8 through Sunday, July 18. Last year, 447,426 attended the 65-day meet.

Despite the increase in attendance, wagering was down across the board. On track, average daily wagering on live racing was $290,569 down 9 percent from last year’s average of $320,709. A total of $17.4 million was wagered on live racing at Lone Star Park this year compared to $20.8 million with five extra days in 2009.

*Average All-Sources wagering slipped 23.3 percent from $1.96 million last year to $1.63 million in 2010. Total All-Sources handle was $97.8 million for the 60 days of racing this year. The 2009 total for 65 days was $127.5 million.

*Average daily wagering on simulcasting into Lone Star Park dropped 4.8 percent from $531,358 in 2009 to $505,889 this year.

(Note: Final simulcast in and All-Sources totals will not be final until the completion of simulcasting in the Post Time Pavilion tonight.)

However, the biggest decline in wagering during 2010 was on Lone Star Park’s outgoing signal. Off-track simulcasts of the track’s live racing decreased by 25 percent from $1.1 million per day to $834,000.

“We are pleased that we were able to attract more fans per day to Lone Star Park at a time that other tracks across the country are seeing lower attendance numbers,” said Lone Star Park President and General Manager Drew Shubeck. “It demonstrates that Lone Star Park continues to be one of the top entertainment venues in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and shows that our marketing plan which emphasizes major event days, including our Lone Star Music Series, Fourth of July Fireworks, Triple Crown Days, Party at the Park, and Dollar Days, are excellent entertainment opportunities and a great value for our fans. We would like to thank our dedicated and loyal horsemen and employees who continue to create winning experiences for our customers.

“Obviously, the decline in our wagering handle is disappointing,” explained Shubeck. “The biggest drop, in our off-track numbers, is consistent with other tracks in the state indicating that the quality of Texas racing has declined to the point where it’s becoming irrelevant on the national level. Racing fans in other states are telling us that they are not interested in wagering on our races. It’s a strong message that we need to improve the quality of racing at Lone Star Park. ”

“The other decreases in on-track wagering and all-sources handle are consistent with what’s happening throughout the country and are largely due to the slow national economic recovery and the continued penetration of Internet wagering into our market despite the fact that it is illegal. At a time when ‘every dollar counts,’ Texas’ prohibition of advanced deposit wagering is costing us jobs and horsemen valuable purse dollars,” added Shubeck.

On the track, there were a total of 4,689 runners in 564 races during the 60-day, 2010 Lone Star Park meet for an average field size of 8.3 per race, a decrease of 0.4 (4.6%) from last year’s average of 8.7 when 5,385 starters ran in 616 races.

Average daily purses decreased by 15 percent from $177,089 last year to $150,871 in 2010.

With 101 wins, last year’s leading jockey Chris Landeros successfully defended his title and fell just one victory shy of tying Lone Star Park’s record of 102 wins in a season, set by Corey Lanerie in 1999 and tied by Cliff Berry in 2006. Landeros was able to ride those 101 winners in just 60 days, while Lanerie won 102 in 72 days and Berry in 66. Junior Chacaltana was second with 60 winners and Lone Star Park all-time leading jockey Cliff Berry was tied with Bryan McNeil for third with 43.

In 2010, trainer Bret Calhoun captured his first-ever Lone Star Park training title with 62 wins, 14 more than Danny Pish’s 48 trips to the winner’s circle. Lone Star Park all-time leading trainer Steve Asmussen finished third with 45 wins.
For the third straight year, the owner’s race was won by Tom Durant, who set a new season record with 37 victories. Durant surpassed the previous mark of 30 set by Heflin and Driver Racing, GP in 2007. This marks the fifth owner’s title at Lone Star Park for Durant, who previously won the award in 2009, 2008, 2005 and tied for leading owner during the 2004 Fall meet. End Zone Athletics Inc. was second with 12 victories and Heiligbrodt Racing Stable finished third with 11 wins.

Redding Colliery, winner of the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap on May 31 was named the Horse of the Meet, as well as Champion Older Male.

Also on the track, Clarence Scharbauer Jr’s Coyote Legend, trained by Bret Calhoun and ridden by Bobby Walker, Jr, won the meet’s opening race, the $50,000 Premiere Stakes then went on to win the $100,000 Texas Stallion Stakes on May 8 and $75,000 Assault Stakes on July 10 to earn the meet’s Champion Texas-Bred Male Award.

In the Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile on April 24, Peachtree Stable’s Mythical Power, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Martin Garcia, became the first horse in Lone Star Park history to win both the Lone Star Derby (2009) and the Texas Mile.

The Baffert-Garcia duo returned on May 8 to claim their second graded stakes of the meet together in the Grade 3, $200,000 Lone Star Derby with Game On Dude. That victory, his first graded stakes win, earned Game on Dude Champion 3-Year-Old Male honors.

Off the racetrack, season highlights included the 87,040 fans that attended seven Lone Star Music Series concerts topped by the 19,367 who saw Eli Young on June 11, the sixth-highest attendance ever for a show at Lone Star Park.

Even with heavy rains during the weekend nearly 40,000 came out to track for the annual Lone Stars & Stripes Fireworks on July 3 and 4, including the season’s highest attendance of 26,677 on the Fourth of July.

Live racing at Lone Star Park will resume on Friday, September 17, 2010 with opening night of the 26-day Fall Meeting of Champions for American Quarter Horses.

Back to News