Live Quarter Horse Racing Returns To LSP on October 3

Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie’s 33-night Fall Meeting of Champions returns Friday, October 3. The lucrative nine-week stand for American Quarter Horses will continue Wednesday through Saturday night at 6:35 p.m. (CT) until Nov. 29.

The meeting, which features 11 graded stakes races, annually plays a role in deciding American Quarter Horse Association champions. In just six years, a total of 21 AQHA champs have raced at Lone Star Park during their championship campaigns, including seven of last year’s 11 honorees. Among the 2002 honor roll was the recently retired Streakin Sin Tacha, who joined Tailor Fit as an AQHA World Champion to have graced the Lone Star Park racing strip.

Janet Van Bebber, a 20-time winner in 2002, will be back to defend her training title, but it won’t be easy in 2003. Each of the top 10 conditioners a year ago are back: “Sleepy” Gilbreath (17 wins in 2002), Anthony Arey (16), Kenny Roberts (15), Rodney Reed (14), Jack Brooks (12), Toby Keeton (11), Benny Pennington (11), Eddie Willis (11), Edward Ross Hardy (9) and Michael Zingelmann (9).

Roy Baldillez, the first-call rider for Gilbreath, seeks his third Lone Star Park riding title after bagging 28 races a year ago. The rest of last year’s top 10 jockeys were John Hamilton (26), “Bubba” Brossette (25), Gilbert Ortiz (25), Randy Wilson (25), Juan Vazquez (23), Mark Page (22), Larry Payne (20), G.R. Carter Jr. (17), Danny Lavergne (16) and Alfonso Lujan (15).

Geral Dewitt is the perennial leading owner. In six seasons, he has never finished anywhere but atop the standings. Last year, he was victorious on a dozen occasions.

General admission to the Fall Meeting of Champions is $3. Grandstand gates will open an hour before the first live race at 5:30 p.m., and a special 10:30 a.m. gate opening is scheduled for Breeders’ Cup Day. Reserved seating is available by calling (972) 263-PONY.

Generally, there will be 11 races on race nights with the final race scheduled just after 10:30 p.m. (CDT). There is no live racing Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thanksgiving Day (November 27), but the Post Time Pavilion will remain open those days for simulcasting.

Each Friday through November 7, Lone Star Park will host its weekly Heineken “Party at the Park,” featuring live music and other specials in the Courtyard of Champions from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Other promotional highlights include a $500 costume contest on Halloween, a Breeders’ Cup Preview Party on October 18 and Pepsi Can Month during October. Customers who bring any can of Pepsi to Lone Star Park on live race days in October will receive $1 general admission, a free beginner’s program and a free large Pepsi.

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