09/06/2006 12:00AM

Lone Star: Return of Championships


Lone Star Park will host the $1 million MBNA America Challenge Championships, a program of 12 major stakes for Quarter Horses, on Nov. 11. The card is part of a 36-race, $3.6 million stakes schedule for the track's Quarter Horse meet, which opens Oct. 6. The season will run for 32 nights, through Dec. 2.

The Challenge Championships is a program of divisional stakes, and it includes five Grade 1 races. The highlight is the $300,000 MBNA America Challenge Championship for 3-year-olds and upward at 440 yards. The traveling program is being held for the fourth time at Lone Star. It was last conducted here in 2002.

Other major stakes during the meet include the Grade 1, $1 million Texas Classic Futurity and the Grade 1, $400,000 Texas Classic Derby. In a change, the futurity and derby will share a card, on Dec. 2. Lone Star has also made a change to the $100,000 Refrigerator Handicap, another Grade 1. The track has moved the race from its traditional closing weekend spot to opening weekend, Oct. 7.

In all there will be 11 Grade 1 races for Quarter Horses this meet at Lone Star.