It's Official: Breeders' Cup to Lone Star Park in 2004

The board of directors at Breeders' Cup Ltd. voted unanimously July 13 to pursue a contract with Lone Star Park to host the World Thoroughbred Championships in 2004. If the contract is approved, Lone Star would swap places with Churchill Downs, which is expected to be the host in 2005. Churchill Downs is being moved back a year to accommodate a multi-million dollar major renovation of the Louisville track's facilities.

"This is a significant development in our pursuit to host horse racing's year-end championship event," said Corey Johnsen, president and general manager of Lone Star Park. "We've had numerous conversations with the Breeders' Cup staff and have spent thousands of hours in preparation for this event. I am confident that we meet all of their requirements, so I expect an agreement to be reached in the near future."

Located in Grand Prairie, Texas, Lone Star Park last year was added to a conditional rotation schedule to host the Breeders' Cup in 2005. Final agreement to the 2004 date is scheduled for September, according to a statement from Lone Star.

"This is a great day for Lone Star Park and the City of Grand Prairie, but it's much larger than that," said Grand Prairie mayor Charles England. "This is great for area cities like Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and Irving, as well as the entire state of Texas. It has always been our dream to host a Breeders' Cup, and now it looks like it will become a reality a year earlier than we expected. I guarantee that we'll be ready, rise to the occasion and put on a great show."

The Grand Prairie Sports Facilities Development Corp. last month agreed to grant Lone Star Park $2.9 million for facility improvements in order to host a future Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. Last year, legislation was passed which earmarks up to $2 million from the State of Texas to fund improvements. According to the track, the capital improvement plan will enable Lone Star Park to expand its seating capacity to more than 50,000, with construction beginning possibly this fall.