07/20/2010 11:36AM

Horsemen's Park meet opens Friday in Omaha

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OMAHA, Neb. – The biggest weekend of racing in Nebraska begins Thursday evening as Horsemen’s Park opens for its 13th annual summer Festival of Racing, a four-day fair meet that draws the largest racing crowds of the year in Nebraska.

Thursday’s card begins at 6 p.m. Central and will consist of four races headlined by the $27,500 Fantango Lady Stakes for 3-year-old Nebraska-bred fillies. Lou Lou Larue will aim for her fourth straight stakes victory in the one-mile Fantango Lady.

New to the Horsemen’s Park grounds this year is the Sky Box, a five-table seating area sponsored by the Omaha Nighthawks , a new franchise member of the United Football League that will begin playing this fall. The Nighthawks will have exclusive use of the area Friday to showcase their prospective players.

T-shirt tosses follow each race, while food and beverage tents are located throughout the grounds, lending to the fair atmosphere that has been so successful here since the first Horemen’s Park season in 1998. The highlight of the meet comes Sunday when older horses will go a mile in the $50,000 Omaha Stakes, which drew 52 nominations including Bosselman/Gus Fonner Stakes and Cornhusker Handicap winner Shadowbdancing.

Thursday’s feature brings out a field of seven fillies, each of whom willbe trying a mile for the first time. Lou Lou Larue, trained by Chuck Turco, is the even-money morning-line favorite. Lou Lou Larue is coming off an under-wraps three-length win at Lincoln in the Breeders’ Special going six furlongs on July 11.

Lou Lou Larue, a daughter of Blumin Affair, has posted 5 wins in her 7 career starts. Turco will also send out Nothingfeared as part of an uncoupled entry.

Doug Anderson will ship in T Jays Affair from Prairie Meadows off a head loss against optional claiming company July 6. Ramsey Zimmerman will be in to ride.