Citing Business Downturn, Lone Star Park Slashes Purses

From track reports
Effective Thursday, June 5, Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, Texas will reduce its purse structure approximately 9 percent due to slower than usual business levels since the start of the year.

"Obviously, the economy has been tough on all businesses, especially to those of us involved in the sports and entertainment industry," said Lone Star Park general manager Jeff Greco. "Our business levels were particularly slow early in the year. This adjustment was not an easy decision; it was a last resort. But during these difficult economic times, it is the prudent business decision."

Since the start of the year, Lone Star Park's attendance has dipped 6.2 percent and on-track wagering is down 7.8 percent from comparative dates in 2002. Also, through the first 37 dates of the current 70-date live meeting, on-track handle (both live and simulcast wagering) is down 6.7 percent to $1.2 million daily, off-track wagering has slipped 9.5 percent to $1.9 million daily and attendance is off 5.8 percent to more than 8,400 daily.

"We think the economy and war have greatly contributed to our decline year to date," Greco said. "We're exhausting our efforts to reverse the trend as we head into the second half of our live season. It was a good sign to see that wagering figures were up slightly on Lone Star Million Day."

On Monday, Lone Star Park staged its fifth annual Lone Star Million racing program, a day which featured seven stakes races cumulatively worth $1 million. Total handle on the 11-race card was $5,382,212, up slightly from the $5,359,211 bet in 2002. Wagers by the on-track crowd of 17,362 totaled $2,468,248 (includes $1,504,131 on live racing and another $964,117 on simulcasts) versus $2,274,580 a year ago. Off-track betting at simulcast outlets across North America reached $3,879,081, up marginally from $3,869,232.

In addition to a reduction in overnight purses, six stakes purses were adjusted as well:
-June 28 Assault Stakes (Texas-bred 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles) - $125,000 to $100,000
-June 28 Allen Bogan Memorial Stakes (Texas-bred fillies and mares at one mile) -- $100,000 to $75,000
-July 4 Walmac Lone Star Oaks (3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on turf) - $125,000 to $100,000
-July 12 Silver Spur Breeders' Cup Stakes (2-year-old fillies at six furlongs) - $100,000 to $75,000
-July 13 Middleground Breeders' Cup Stakes (2-year-old colts and geldings at six furlongs) - $100,000 to $75,000
-July 13 Bob Johnson Memorial Stakes (3-year-olds & up at one mile) - $75,000 to $60,000

Stakes with a purse of $50,000, such as the June 14 Miller Lite Stakes and June 28 Harold V. Goodman Memorial Stakes, were not affected. Also, the $142,930 TTA Sales Futurity for 2-year-old colts and geldings on June 7, the $138,200 TTA Sales Futurity for 2-year-old fillies on June 7 and the $250,000 Dallas Turf Cup for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf were not adjusted due to contractual obligations.