Lone Star Park Stages One of Its Best Openings in Track History

The presence of the looming Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships this fall may have already paid off for Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie. The Dallas-Fort Worth area racetrack staged its best opening weekend in the last five years when more than 55,000 patrons passed through the turnstiles and bettors wagered in excess of $12.2 million nationwide on the four days of racing.

"We are ecstatic," said Lone Star Park Vice-President and General Manager Jeff Greco. "Our goal was to start the season fast with high quality racing and exciting entertainment. The Dallas-Fort Worth area and horseplayers across the country responded enthusiastically. It was a mission accomplished and we hope to keep the momentum going over the next 12 weeks."

Opening weekend featured a special appearance by Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone on Thursday night (11,100 in attendance) and post-race concerts by Willie Nelson on Friday (20,300) and The Beach Boys on Saturday (15,200). Sunday (8,900) was Sunday Fun Day with activities for the entire family such as pony rides and a petting zoo.

Attendance rose 13.5% from the 48,900 who attended opening weekend a year ago, and total handle skyrocketed 20.7% compared to $10.1 million in 2003. Handle on Lone Star Park's live races jumped 11.7% on-track from $2.8 million to $3.1 million. Off-track, betting on the local product increased 24.2% from $7.3 million to $9.0 million.

Lone Star Park's Spring Thoroughbred Season continues Wednesdays through Sundays until July 11. The inaugural Fall Breeders' Cup Meeting for Thoroughbreds will take place in October, culminating with the 21st running of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on October 30.

Next Saturday, Lone Star Park will stage its eighth running of the $300,000 Texas Mile (Gr. III), which could offer a preview of top horses with Breeders' Cup aspirations. Fans in attendance that day will receive a free 2004 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships hat with a paid admission while supplies last.

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