Breeders' Cup president D. G. Van Clief Jr.

Breeders' Cup president D. G. Van Clief Jr.

Skip Dickstein

At 'First Blush,' Lone Star Cup Called Success

Breeders' Cup and Lone Star Park officials said they were pleased with how the Grand Prairie racetrack pulled off its first World Thoroughbred Championships.

In an interview after the Breeders' Cup races were complete, Breeders' Cup president D.G. Van Clief Jr. said his "first blush" reaction was positive, but that he would get feedback from staff and customers in the coming week to better gauge the situation.

"I'm very pleased with the way the venue handled the event and the way it performed," Van Clief said.

Surveys of the facility throughout the day produced mixed results. In some temporary seating areas, the lines at mutuel windows and concession stands were quite long. In other areas, access was readily available. Some patrons reported that concession stands ran out of beer.

There were some traffic jams as patrons passed from the grandstand to the clubhouse on the first floor, and lines at some restrooms were long. In the dining rooms, where the crowd size was greatly limited, things appeared to going smoothly.

The beautiful weather -- sunshine and temperatures in the upper 70s -- certainly aided patrons in temporary seats, most of which appeared full by mid-afternoon. At Arlington Park, which hosted the 2002 Cup, the weather wasn't ideal and many patrons spent the day under tents.

"Even though we had temporary seating and those types of things, the level of customer service was there," Lone Star president Corey Johnsen said.

Van Clief said the racing surfaces at Lone Star were safe and of "championship caliber." He said there is "no reason why Lone Star would not be considered as a future host site," and Johnsen said the track would be happy to host it again.

After the 2002 Cup, officials said Arlington had performed well enough to host the event again, though there were some customer-service problems in the temporary seating areas. The Cup will move to Belmont Park in 2005, Churchill Downs in 2006, and Monmouth Park in 2007. Del Mar is a possible first-time host for 2008.