|Lone Star Park Wraps 2018 Quarter Horse Season with Remarkable Increase to Live Wagering Handle
(Grand Prairie, Texas - Friday, November 16, 2018) - Saturday marked the final day of Lone Star Park's 21st Quarter Horse racing season. The 16-day live racing season was the shortest Quarter Horse season at the track since it opened in 1997.
With 10 less live racing days than the 26-day Quarter Horse meeting held last year, the track saw an impressive increase in live handle of 8%. A total of $9,952,942 was wagered on the live product, compared to the 2017 total of $9,214,859. In fact, it was the most wagered on live racing since 2009
Average daily attendance climbed 25.5%, from a 3,885 per day average in 2017 to a 4,874 per day average this season.
Simulcast of the Breeders' Cup Championships was held November 2 and 3, and attracted a record number of fans. The two day combined attendance total was 13,221, making it the highest turn out for Breeders' Cup simulcast here ever. Also, the all sources handle total of $3,522,855 wagered over the two day period versus the 2017 all sources handle of $2,885,206 wagered over the same two day period was a significant 22.1% increase.
A crowd of 7,106 fans turned out for the final night of racing Saturday, which featured the 26th runnings of the $375,610 Texas Classic Derby (G1) and the $1,014,657 Texas Classic Futurity (G1), the most lucrative horse race in the state. The 17th $53,403 Texas Classic Juvenile Stakes was also featured. It was the largest closing night crowd in 15 years. The final night attendance total back in 2002 was 7,123. The on-track live wagering handle of $288,468 was also the largest since 2002.
"These results just prove that people love to watch and wager on the world's fastest athletes complete at a world class facility," said Lone Star Park President and General Manager, Scott Wells.
Lone Star Park's all-time leading Quarter Horse jockey, Rickey Ramirez, won his record fifth Texas Classic Futurity aboard winner Flying Cowboy 123. It was the first win in the race for trainer Blane Wood and the second win for owner Paragon Farms LLC.
The Sleepy Gilbreath-trained Hotstepper, coming off a win in the All American Derby (G1) scored first in the Texas Classic Derby (G1). It was the third Texas Classic Derby win for Gilbreath, who previously won the race in 2011 and 2012. It was the first Texas Classic Derby victory for jockey Cody Jensen and the owner partnership of Johnny Cope, R. D. Hubbard, Rafter W Stables and Henry Southway. Hotstepper ran second as the beaten favorite in last year's Texas Classic Futurity.
J. R. Ramirez piloted Jess Leaving Fast to victory in the Texas Classic Juvenile for trainer Santiago Riojas, Jr. and owner Double H Racing Investment.
The leading jockey award went to Jesse Levario, who won 18 races from 60 starts. It was the first Lone Star Park riding title for Levario.
Trainer Josue Ponce won his first Lone Star Park training title, winning 17 of 57 races.
J. Fabian Hernandez was awarded his first leading owner title, winning 4 of 17 starts.
Horse of the Meet honors went to Sf Hot Pass, owned by Shannon Fisher and trained by Leon Bard. Sf Hot Pass finished the season with a perfect three-for-three record, all in stakes events. He won the Nevill Stakes, the Refrigerator Stakes (G1) and the B. F. Phillips, Jr. Stakes (RG3) for Texas-breds.
Lone Star Park will hold a 44-day Spring Thoroughbred season in 2019, which will begin April 18 and conclude July 21.