Live Horse Racing Returns To Lone Star Park Thursday Night, April 14

Ever since Ghostzapper posted his electrifying win in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic last October, horse racing fans in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have been eagerly awaiting the return of live Thoroughbred racing to Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie. They'll get their wish Thursday night at 6:35 p.m. CT when Lone Star stages its ninth annual Spring Thoroughbred Season, a 67-date run through July 17.

It's been 5 ½ months since Lone Star staged the 21st Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships before a record crowd of 53,717. Gone are the 39,000 temporary seats that stretched around the final turn, down the stretch and into the first turn. Back is the cozy environment that has made Lone Star one of the nation's most visited racetracks.

The best bet of the upcoming Lone Star Park season? You'll have a good time. Pounding hooves, heart stopping finishes, raucous crowds, big paydays, post-race concerts, fireworks and old-fashioned fun - Lone Star Park will have it all.

Anywhere from nine to a dozen races will be carded daily each Wednesday through Sunday until July 17. The first live race on weeknights is 6:35 p.m. Weekend and holiday action will start at 1:35 p.m. CT (there'll be a special 5 p.m. post time on July 3).

A total of 37 stakes races - the highest level of horse racing, featuring the area's elite horses - are scheduled totaling $4.075 million.

"We plan to capitalize on the success we had and the relationships we built during last year's Breeders' Cup," said Lone Star Park Vice-President and General Manager Jeff Greco. "With that in mind and a well balanced and lucrative stakes schedule in place, we have the makings of an exciting 2005."

The action-packed 14-week meeting features seven multi-stakes days and is once again highlighted by four major events that traditionally attract both local and national interest: Texas Mile Day on Saturday, April 30; Walmac Lone Star Derby Day on Saturday, May 14; Lone Star Million Day on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30; and Dallas Turf Cup Day on Saturday, June 18.

The Grade III, $300,000 Walmac Lone Star Derby, a 1 1/16-mile affair for 3-year-olds, returns to a popular position on the racing calendar - one week after the Kentucky Derby. It was staged there in 2002 and '03, the year Dynever rolled to an impressive 1 ½-length win over a dozen rivals. Last year, it was won by Pollard's Vision when conducted the day before the Breeders' Cup.

The seventh annual Lone Star Million will feature six lucrative stakes this year with purses totaling more than $1 million. The $150,000 Stonerside Stakes for 3-year-old fillies has been added to the special Memorial Day program that already includes the Grade III, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap and Grade III, $200,000 WinStar Distaff.

Four stakes will be held on Texas Mile Day, the first major event of the meeting. The last two winners of the Grade III, $300,000 Texas Mile - a one-mile, two-turn test of speed and stamina - have gone on to finish second in the Breeders' Cup Sprint: Bluesthestandard (2003) and Kela (2004). The day's program also features the $75,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf, as well as $125,000 divisions of the Texas Stallion Stakes for 3-year-olds.

Late in the meet, Stars of Texas Day on Saturday, July 9, will feature 2-year-old divisions of the Texas Stallion Stakes, two of six stakes events that day exclusively for Texas-breds.

A dozen of the stakes events are scheduled on turf, highlighted by the $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup, a 1 1/8-mile race for older horses.

Additional proven favorites will be Kentucky Derby Day (Saturday, May 7), Preakness Stakes Day (Saturday, May 21) and Belmont Stakes Day (Saturday, June 11). Another expected big draw at the meet is the Lone Stars & Stripes Fireworks Celebration on Sunday, July 3, where one of the largest fireworks shows in North Texas follows a special 5 p.m. twilight racing program. The holiday extravaganza annually lures a crowd in excess of 20,000.

One of the most popular promotions is Party At The Park, staged each Friday night (except June 17) with live music and drink specials at the outdoor Courtyard of Champions area. The first Friday of the meet (April 15) will feature a post-race concert by Texas country artist Gary P. Nunn. Then on Saturday, April 16, country music superstar and fiddling phenomenon Charlie Daniels of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" fame will perform after the races. Other opening weekend entertainment includes Icehouse (Thursday, April 14, 7-10 p.m.); Zane Lewis (Friday, April 15, 7-10 p.m.); B & G Band (Saturday, April 16, 12-4 p.m.) and Channel 15 (Sunday, April 17, 12-4 p.m.).

Nearly 10 million customers have enjoyed elegant Lone Star Park's amenities, which include fine dining, penthouse suites, 1,200 terraced dining seats, luxurious box seating, landscaped outdoor areas and picnic pavilions. Plus, there's the nearby world-class GPX Skate Park and Entertainment Center (separate admission) that features skateboarding, in-line skating, bicycling and roller hockey. Entertainment between the horse races and easy-to-read racing programs help make the day enjoyable for the casual racing fan.

Lone Star Park's world-class entertainment facility includes a seven-level, glass enclosed/climate-controlled Grandstand, sun-shaded Courtyard of Champions and state-of-the-art, Las Vegas-style Post Time Pavilion simulcast center. The track is located approximately 12 miles west of Dallas, 20 miles east of Fort Worth and 10 miles south of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. It is situated a half mile north of Interstate-30 off Belt Line Road in Grand Prairie at 1000 Lone Star Parkway.

TWO STAKES HIGHLIGHT OPENING WEEKEND - Yessirgeneralsir, upset winner of last summer's Grade III, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap, is expected to headline Thursday's $50,000 Premiere Stakes, one of two stakes scheduled for opening week. The other is the $75,000 Irving Distaff for fillies and mares at 7 ½ furlongs on turf on Saturday, April 16. The 5-year-old Patton gelding was sensational at Lone Star last summer, but hasn't been seen in seven months. "We took a chip out of his left knee, and he's responded nicely," said trainer Dallas Keen. "We've had no problems and he's been training great." Lonnie Meche will have the mount. Others that could surface in the race include back-to-back defending champ Agrivating General; Charming Socialite, who shocked Bwana Charlie in last fall's Alysheba Breeders' Cup Stakes; Assault Stakes and Star of Texas winner Goosey Moose; Most Feared, best known for winning the 2002 Arlington-Washington Futurity and his second place effort in the 2003 Lone Star Derby; R B J's Blaze, winner of the Spring Stakes at Sam Houston in his last start; and six-time stakes winner Rare Cure, who defeated open company last summer at Lone Star in the $75,000 Bob Johnson Memorial Stakes. The Irving Distaff closed with 44 nominations and among those under serious consideration are Destiny Calls, Due to Win Again, Homemaker, defending champ Janeian, My Misty Princess, Outright Buck, Queena Corrina, Sister Swank and Topango. Keen, who trains My Misty Princess, is also looking forward to trying Conquistador's Joy against stakes company in the Irving Distaff. "She's really come around," Keen said. "Her last two races at Fair Grounds were two really big races against some pretty nice fillies. We're taking a chance putting her back on turf, but she couldn't be doing any better than she is right now."

THE DEVIL WENT DOWN TO GRAND PRAIRIE? - Country superstar and fiddling phenomenon Charlie Daniels, best known for his classic "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," will perform in concert at Lone Star Park after the races on Saturday, April 16. Admission to the concert, presented by Budweiser, is just $3 before 5 p.m. and $15 thereafter. The first live race that day is 1:35 p.m., with the final race scheduled to go off around 6 p.m. Popular Texas country and western artist Sonny Burgess will take to the concert stage immediately after the last race until it's time for The Charlie Daniels Band to perform at 8 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 served, and there is limited patio table seating in the Courtyard. Blankets and folding chairs are permitted outdoors. Also, revered Texas country and western artist Gary P. Nunn will perform in concert after the races on Friday, April 15 at approximately 11 p.m.


POST TIME: Weeknights, 6:35 p.m. CT; Weekends, May 30 and July 4, 1:35 p.m. CT; and July 3, 5 p.m. CT.

GATES OPEN: Weeknights, 5 p.m. CT; Weekends, May 30 and July 4, 11:30 a.m. CT; April 14, 4:30 p.m. CT; May 7, 10:30 a.m. CT; and July 3, 3 p.m. CT.

ADMISSION: General, $3; Clubhouse (second and fourth floors of Grandstand), $6. Children 3 and under admitted free.

SEATING: Grandstand apron boxes and Courtyard of Champions patio tables, free; General Admission and Individual Reserved Outdoor Apron Seat, $6; Clubhouse Admission and Individual Reserved Counter Seat on second floor Terrace Level, $11; Clubhouse Admission and Reserved Table for 4 in fourth floor Silks Dining Terraces, $48*; Clubhouse Admission and Reserved Box Seating for 4 on second floor Terrace Level, $60; Clubhouse Admission and Reserved Table for 6 in fourth floor Silks Dining Terraces, $72*; Clubhouse Admission and Reserved Box Seating for 6 on second floor Terrace Level, $90; Clubhouse Admission and Reserved Table for 8 in fourth floor Silks Dining Terraces, $96*; Clubhouse Admission and Reserved Finish Line Box Seating for 4 on second floor Terrace Level, $100; Clubhouse Admission and Reserved Table for 10 in fourth floor Silks Dining Terraces, $120*; Clubhouse Admission and Reserved Box Seating for 10 on second floor Terrace Level, $150 (* plus $12.50 food and beverage minimum per person; dress code applies); Thursday, Friday and Saturday Penthouse Suite Package for 25, $2,150; Wednesday and Sunday Penthouse Suite Package for 25, $1,995. For reserved seating options, call (972) 263-PONY or (800) 795-RACE. For groups of 20 or more, call (972) 237-1197. Pricing subject to change on Big Event Days.

PARKING: General, $2; Preferred, $4; Valet, $9.

OFFICIAL PROGRAMS: Lone Star Today, $2.50; Race Books (simulcasts), $2.50.

STAKES PROGRAM: 37 stakes races cumulatively worth $4.075 million.

AVERAGE DAILY PURSES: Approximately $230,000 daily.

RACING HIGHLIGHTS: Grade III, $300,000 Texas Mile, April 30; Grade III, $300,000 Walmac Lone Star Derby, May 14; Grade III, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap, May 30; Grade III, $200,000 WinStar Distaff, May 30; $200,000 Pin Oak Stud USA Stakes, May 30; $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup, June 18.

TRIPLE CROWN SIMULCAST DATES: Kentucky Derby, May 7; Preakness Stakes, May 21; Belmont Stakes, June 11. Advance wagering offered the day before each race.

HANDICAPPING CONTESTS: NTRA/DRF Handicapper of the Year Qualifying Tournament, June 18-19.

PROMOTIONAL HIGHLIGHTS: Post-race Gary P. Nunn concert, April 15; post-race Charlie Daniels Band concert & Budweiser Magnetic Schedule Giveaway, April 16; Budweiser Magnetic Schedule Giveaway, April 17; Dollar Day, April 30; Jose Cuervo Cinco de Mayo Celebration, May 7; Jose Cuervo Margarita Madness, May 21; post-race Cross Canadian Ragweed concert, June 17; post-race fireworks, July 3; Fan Appreciation Day, July 16.

CONTINUITY PROMOTIONS: Heineken "Party at the Park" with live music and drink specials, every Friday except June 17; Budweiser "True Music" Saturdays April 16, April 30, May 28, June 18 and July 9; Senior Citizens' Days with free general admission for 62 and up, Sundays except July 3; Dr Pepper Can Months in May and June for a $1 general admission, free Dr Pepper and a chance to win American Airline tickets with a redeemed Dr Pepper can.

MAJOR CHARITABLE EVENTS: "Welcome Back Party" for Lone Star Park Charitable Foundation, April 13; "Dallas Symphony Derby" benefiting the Education and Community Outreach Programs of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League, April 17 (call 972-380-7332 for more info); "Stars of Texas" benefiting American Diabetes Association, April 21 (call 972-392-1181 for more info); "Racing for Sight" benefiting the Retina Foundation, April 24 (call 214-363-3911 for more info).

TELEVISION: Live racing, HRTV (Dish Network Ch. 404).

LOCATION: 1000 Lone Star Parkway in Grand Prairie, Texas, 12 miles west of Dallas, 20 miles east of Fort Worth and 10 miles south of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport just a half-mile north of Interstate-30 off Belt Line Road.

PHONE: General information, (972) 263-RACE; reserved seating or reservations, (972) 263-PONY.


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