Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, Texas, which will host the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on Oct. 30, has revamped its stakes schedule by moving one of its premier events -- the 1 1/16-mile Lone Star Derby (gr. III) -- from the spring meet to the fall meet. The Derby, now a $250,000 race sponsored by Walmac International, will be run on the eve of the Breeders' Cup.
"This will be a very exciting year for everyone involved in the Texas horseracing industry," Lone Star Park president Corey Johnsen said. "To facilitate the Breeders' Cup, we have added a lucrative season of fall racing, which including great stakes races and entertaining events as part of our month-long Breeders' Cup festival."
In addition to the Derby, events moved from the spring to the fall were the $100,000 Alysheba Breeders' Cup Stakes (3-year-olds at six furlongs on Oct. 2), the $100,000 Middleground Breeders' Cup Stakes (2-year-old colts & geldings at a mile on Oct. 3) and $100,000 Silver Spur Breeders' Cup Stakes (2-year-old fillies at a mile on Oct. 1).
Also moved to the fall was Stars of Texas Day. The $100,000 Assault Stakes for older Texas-breds at 1 1/16 miles and the $75,000 Allen Bogan Memorial, a one-mile test for older state-bred fillies and mares, will highlight an Oct. 23 program entirely devoted to Texas-bred runners.
"We have worked closely with officials from the Breeders' Cup to maximize the quality of our racing in the fall," Johnsen said. "For example, our opening weekend will offer three potential Breeders' Cup prep races, and we changed the conditions of the Walmac Lone Star Derby to fit nicely with the Breeders' Cup races. All together, it makes for an exciting year of racing at Lone Star Park."
The spring meeting will run for 63 dates from April 15 through July 11. A 19-date fall Thoroughbred season was added for the month of October (Oct. 1-Oct. 31) for a total of 82 Thoroughbred racing dates in 2004 -- up from 70 in 2003.
The spring meet is highlighted by the grade III, $300,000 Texas Mile for 3-year-olds and up; the grade III, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles; and the grade III, $200,000 WinStar Distaff for older fillies and mares and one mile on turf. The Texas Mile will be run April 24, while the Lone Star Park Handicap and WinStar Distaff are scheduled forthe sixth annual Lone Star Million - seven stakes cumulatively $1 million on Memorial Day, May 31.