04/07/2015 3:01PM

Lone Star meet kicks off with Premiere Stakes

Coady Photography
F J Uncle Vic wins the Star of Texas Stakes in January at Sam Houston.

Earlier this year, Texas racing lost its bid in court for historical racing – the electronic parimutuel game that plays like a slot machine – but for one night at least, Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, has hit a jackpot. For opening night Thursday, riding at the track is Hall of Famer Russell Baze, the winningest jockey in North American racing history.

Baze rides the first two races, the $50,000 Premiere Stakes aboard He’s a Bling and an optional claimer on Popalicious. Both horses are owned and trained by Henry Dominguez.

Baze riding at Lone Star was something of a marketing gift for the track. In addition to riding the two races, Baze is expected to sign autographs, director of racing Bart Lang said.

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After opening night, reality sets in for the remaining 49 days of the meet. The racing at Lone Star for this spring and summer, its 19th Thoroughbred meet, offers little change from past years. The purses are essentially the same, and the composition of the backstretch barns differs little.

Trainers such as Steve Asmussen and Bret Calhoun, with long ties to Texas racing, will continue to run a large number of horses, and Cliff Berry, the leading rider in Lone Star history, will again head the jockey colony once he finishes the Oaklawn Park meet that ends Saturday.

One of the few deviations from the track’s racing schedule is moving the Texas Mile – one of its two graded stakes – from a Saturday to a Friday night. It will be run April 24.

“Hopefully, it will stand out a little more,” said Lang. “Saturdays are pretty crowded in the marketplace.”

Along with the Texas Mile, the Lone Star Park Handicap is the other graded stakes of the meet, though it will keep its traditional Memorial Day slot May 25.

Those races, along with the $175,000 Governor’s Cup in August at sister track Remington Park, will again be linked to form the Global Gaming Triple. There is no bonus this year, but there are incentives like free start fees for participation in more than one race.

This Friday, Lone Star will host the third annual Remember Me Rescue Celebrity Fundraiser and Gala – a benefit raising money for out-of-service racehorses – with retired jockey Rosie Napravnik the keynote speaker, accompanied by Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg, who will have a string of horses at Lone Star this year, as he did last year.

The Lone Star meet, as always, will be heavily promotion-driven, with its concert series regularly taking place Fridays and Saturdays, and with every Sunday offering free admission to eligible patrons for Senior Citizens/Military Day.

In typical opening-night custom, the 6 1/2-furlong Premiere goes as the first race on the card at 6:35 p.m. Central.


F J Uncle Vic (Last 3 Beyers: 85-41-86)

◗ He ran fourth in the Maxxam Gold Cup to graded stakes winner Albano and is sure to appreciate the class relief of dropping into a Texas-bred stakes.

Texas Air (Last 3 Beyers: 93-82-90)

◗ An Oaklawn Park invader, he owns the strongest recent Beyer Speed Figures in the field but seemingly prefers longer distances and was edged by F J Uncle Vic when they met at Sam Houston on Jan. 17 in the Star of Texas Stakes.

He’s a Bling (Last 3 Beyers: 78-79-77)

◗ Baze comes in to ride this consistent runner, who has been first or second in six consecutive races, with all but one of those races coming in open company at Sunland Park.

Internet Success (Last 3 Beyers: 87-81-75)

◗ He has rattled off three straight victories, all with ascending Beyers, for high-percentage owner Danny Keene; he gets a class test at this stakes level after running in claimers and starter allowances.

tommy More than 1 year ago
I only love playing at Small tracks because bigger payouts!! I take the hole pool!!
Timothy Wheelster More than 1 year ago
Does your vo2 max formula work at lonestar? I bet you win every race you bet with that formula, you must be a genius. Whole not hole!!!!
tommy More than 1 year ago
I remember Lone star very well!!!!! Last summer I had won $500 and then lost all my money plus all my weeks pay check of $1,300. I only had $20 left so I decide to play exacta and trifecta. I played the best available horse!!!! It was the number 1 !!!!! On the form my father said she was a 3 year old filly running against 5 year old geldings!! I told him his filly ran 5 furlong on dirt in 55 seconds flat with kidney wade on board !!! This longshot won by 8 lengths and I told my father I won!!!! Then I thought I won a couple hundred dollars and my father looked at the board and I took the hole pool since I had the only winning trifecta ticket which was $ 10,000 !!! I was so happy !!!!!!
kedrick More than 1 year ago
If lonestar doesn't step up and find a way to get the purses up to bring in some quality horses, the live racing will be in jeopardy there, and that's sad
MulefaceThe More than 1 year ago
Game On Dude, Fiftyshadesofgold, Ivan Fallunovalot, Promise Me Silver, Thegirlinthatsong, and MANY others aren't "quality horses?" Not including the Breeders' Cup there (which drew possibly the best Classic field of all time, rivaling the '98 field), many graded stakes winners or future graded stakes winners raced here. Find the conditions book, and take note of all the two year old races. Chances are you'll see a baby that will make a splash at Saratoga over the summer, or the baby stakes at Churhill and Belmont. The racing is dying, but Texas breeding is having a resurgence.
Chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
You can't get horses OR a Russell Baze from a slot machine.