07/04/2012 1:46PM

Lone Star Park: Fasig-Tipton Texas shifting sale start to evening


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Fasig-Tipton Texas has scheduled its Aug. 27 yearling sale at Lone Star Park for the evening hours for the first time. The sale will begin at 4 p.m. Central, as opposed to the usual 10 a.m., and is expected to run to about 9 p.m.

A total of 170 horses have been cataloged to the sale, making the move to a night auction possible, said Tim Boyce, director of sales for Fasig-Tipton Texas. At the corresponding sale a year ago, there were more than 400 horses cataloged in a book that included horses of racing age as part of a dispersal of the Heiligbrodt Racing Stable.

“The number gives us an opportunity to try something a lot of people down here have asked for,” Boyce said. “I think the evening in the summer is going to be a little bit cooler. I’m hoping that will make everybody comfortable. I think it will be an event because of that. I’m expecting a pretty exciting sale.”

In addition to the festive atmosphere night sales create, Boyce said he is encouraged by the quality of horses in the catalog. The book will be online in about 10 days, with catalogs out the latter part of July.

“We have some very nice horses,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of Hard Spuns, Zensationals, and a ton of Valid Expectations, more than last year. We have some other strong Kentucky sires represented, horses that could have easily been sought after for the select sale in [Kentucky in] July.

“We’ve also got a lot of Louisiana-breds, and some of the Texas-breds are really, really well-sired. It will be interesting to see how they all do.”

Among the consignors set to sell are Mark Toothaker, a former partner in Legacy Bloodstock who annually has had one of the largest consignments in the yearling market in Texas. Boyce said with the move to a night format, the pre-sale party that had been held the evening before the sale will now get under way about a half-hour before the first horse goes into the ring. The auction will again be held in the sales pavilion, which is located just inside the stable area at Lone Star.

Friday start considered for 2013

Lone Star is still formulating the 2013 race dates it will ask the Texas Racing Commission for in an application due July 20, but a Friday night start to the meet is being considered, said Drew Shubeck, president and general manager of Lone Star. The track has traditionally opened on a Thursday night. Shubeck said Lone Star is looking at racing Thoroughbreds during a similar time frame as this year’s meet, perhaps from April 12 to July 6.

“We don’t know exactly how many days, but it will be around 50 days, in that general time frame,” he said. “It’s still in open negotiations with the Texas Horsemen’s Partnership.”

Lone Star projects purses for the 2013 meet will average the same as the current 53-date meet, which is about $140,000 a program. This season, which opened April 12, wraps Sunday.

Lone Star is looking at running about 26 dates for Quarter Horses next year, Shubeck said, from Sept. 20 to Nov. 16. The calendar would be similar to this year’s meet, which opens Sept. 14 and runs to Nov. 10.

Bart Lang, director of racing at Lone Star, will be the racing secretary for the upcoming Quarter Horse meet, Shubeck said. Lang takes over from Jeanette Hughes, who left her position to work as an assistant trainer to Allen Milligan. Mike Shamburg, the Thoroughbred racing secretary at Lone Star, will serve in the same capacity at the upcoming Thoroughbred meet at Remington. Lone Star and Remington, which opens Aug. 10, are both owned by Global Gaming Solutions, a subsidiary of Chickasaw Nation.

Skip a Smile returns Saturday

Skip a Smile, the reigning Texas-bred of the year, will make his first start since January in the $50,000 Assault at Lone Star on Saturday. He drew post 3 in a field of seven Texas-breds for the one-mile race, which goes as the sixth. The Assault is part of a package of four restricted stakes Saturday, with the races worth a cumulative $300,000.

◗ Ocean Seven, a half-brother to $7 million earner Goldikova, will be seeking his second win at the meet in Friday night’s sixth race, a $15,000 starter allowance at 1 1/2 miles on turf. Ocean Seven won at the same level last out, in 1 5/16-mile race moved to the main track June 15.

◗ Jay Ellsmore, the bugler at Lone Star, will be the special guest during a free fan education program Saturday morning. It begins at 8:30 a.m. on the apron and will be followed by a barn tour. The program is hosted by track announcer John Lies.

◗ The Josh Abbott Band will play after the races Friday night at Lone Star.