09/14/2011 3:11PM

Lone Star Park lines up lots of classy talent for Quarter Horse meet


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – The Lone Star Park meet for Quarter Horses that opens Friday night will be the first full meet under the ownership of Global Gaming, and the ingredients are in place for a strong season. The track has drawn a long list of prominent stables for the 26-night meet that will run through Nov. 12.

Lone Star also has a strong stakes schedule in place for the meet, led by the Grade 1, $1 million Texas Classic Futurity. The race is the richest in Texas, and it will anchor a closing night card that includes the Grade 1, $400,000 Texas Classic Derby.

Global, the Oklahoma-based entity that also owns Remington Park in Oklahoma City, completed its $47 million purchase of Lone Star’s operating assets in the middle of the Thoroughbred meet in May. The new ownership should get its first full meet off to a rousing start based on the fact that such Grade 1 winners as Llano Teller, Cold Cash 123, Louisiana Senator, Stolis Winner, and Bodacious Dash could all race this meet.

“Our quality is great,” said Jeanette Hughes, the racing secretary at Lone Star. “We have some of the best Quarter Horse trainers in the country here.”

The list is led by Sleepy Gilbreath, who won his third All American Futurity earlier this month with Ochoa. Another top trainer, John Bassett, is back in Grand Prairie after being away for several seasons, said Hughes. Also on the grounds are such noted horsemen as John Buchanan, Heath Taylor, Russell Harris, Heath Reed, Eusevio Huitron and Trey Wood, who won the title last season at Lone Star. The track is also expecting stakes shippers from Paul Jones, who is the leading Quarter Horse trainer in North America.

Purses at the meet are projected to average $125,000 a program, said Hughes. The 17-race stakes schedule is worth $2.5 million. It features four Grade 1 races, the first of which is the $100,000 Refrigerator on Oct. 1. The winner will receive a berth to the Grade 1, $750,000 Champion of Champions at Los Alamitos in December. The Grade 1, $500,000 Dash for Cash Futurity is Oct. 8 at Lone Star, and Hughes is expecting to run 14 trials on Sept. 24.

The stakes schedule begins Friday night, with Grade 1 winner First Klas Fred set to start as the 124-pound highweight in the $25,000 Classic Chevrolet Heartbeat of America Handicap.

All American winner resting in Texas

Ochoa, the nation’s leading 2-year-old Quarter Horse following his dominant win in the Grade 1, $2.4 million All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs, is currently getting a breather at the Brock, Texas, farm of his trainer, Sleepy Gilbreath.

“The horse came back really good,” Gilbreath said Wednesday. “We don’t have him paid into anything else this year. We had him in the Hobbs Futurity [but] they run the trials to it next week and we just didn’t want to run him back that quick. I’m not exactly sure what we’ll do. Those derbies are pretty good out there for next year [at Ruidoso]. We want to keep him around for them.”

Gilbreath said while no decision has been made on Ochoa’s schedule, there is a chance the horse would not race for the remainder of 2011.

“It’s a possibility,” he said. “I haven’t talked to the owners about it. I’m sure pretty soon we’ll talk about it. They might have something else in mind to run him in this year.”

Ochoa was the fastest qualifier to the All American. Gilbreath also had the fastest qualifier to this year’s $1.3 million All American Derby, Cold Cash 123, whom he said is being pointed for the Texas Classic Derby.

◗ Good Luvin will seek her fourth straight win Friday in the $30,000 Gentilly Dash at Fair Grounds.