01/25/2012 12:46PM

Lone Star Park: Three major stakes dropped; owner-trainer bonus added

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Lone Star Park has discontinued its annual Million Day program of stakes for 2012, but that card’s traditional anchor, the Grade 3, $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap, will again be run on Memorial Day. The race will be linked with two other stakes, one at Lone Star and one at Remington Park, by an owner-trainer bonus of $20,000.

Lone Star, located in the Dallas area, was purchased in May 2011 by Global Gaming Solutions, the owner of Remington Park in Oklahoma City. Global Gaming is a subsidiary of the Chickasaw Nation, which is based in Ada, Okla.

Lone Star will race 53 dates from April 12 through July 8. The track has released a 12-race, $1.3 million stakes schedule. Last season, Lone Star’s stakes schedule was comprised of 19 stakes worth $2 million.

Dropped from this year’s schedule are the $200,000 Lone Star Derby, the $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff, which lost its Grade 3 status for 2012, and the $150,000 Dallas Turf Cup. Those races were part of last year’s Million Day program of six stakes worth $1 million.

Lone Star officials said the stakes cuts were made to keep purses at a level similar to last year. Lone Star is projecting purses will average $135,000 to $140,000 a day this meet, compared with $160,000 a day in 2011. The track has added an additional date this year.

“We took a long hard look at our purse structure and felt the best way to support local horsemen was to make some difficult cuts to our stakes program,” said Lone Star president Drew Shubeck. “Eliminating stakes from our calendar was a difficult but necessary decision in order preserve overnight purses as we attempt to remain competitive with tracks in neighboring states that have purses supplemented by gaming.”

The Lone Star Park Handicap, for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles, will again be the richest race of the meet when it is run May 28. The season’s other major stakes is the Grade 3, $200,000 Texas Mile, for 3-year-olds and up April 28.

Both of those races, as well as the $200,000 Governor’s Cup for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles at Remington on Aug. 18, will form the new Global Gaming Triple. The horse that accumulates the most points based on finishes in the three stakes will reward his owner and trainer with a $20,000 bonus to be split equally between the parties. A horse must compete in all three races to be eligible for the bonus. As part of the triple, the purse of the Governor’s Cup has been boosted from last year’s $100,000.