12/22/2010 4:12PM

Lone Star Derby moving to grass in 2011

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The $200,000 Lone Star Derby is going green. The race will be run on turf for the first time next year as part of a 19-race, $2.1 million stakes schedule that was released by Lone Star Park officials Wednesday. The meet will begin April 14.

The Lone Star Derby, which lost its Grade 3 status for 2011, will have a fresh look next season. In addition to being moved from dirt to turf, the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds will be run as part of the annual Lone Star Million Day program on May 30. This past meet, the Lone Star Derby – won by Game on Dude – was held May 8.

The Million Day card will include six stakes worth a cumulative $1 million. It is led by the meet’s richest race, the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles. Other top races on the card will include the Grade 3, $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff for fillies and mares at a mile on turf and the $150,000 Dallas Turf Cup for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

There will be local preps for the Million Day races on April 23, when Lone Star puts on a program of three stakes highlighted by the Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile for 3-year-olds and up.

The annual Stars of Texas Day program of four restricted stakes worth $325,000 is set for July 9.

Purses at the 52-date meet are projected to average $175,000 a card, up 16 percent from $150,000 paid out over the 60-date season in 2010.

Lone Star is scheduled to race on a Thursday through Sunday basis through July 10.