||Lone Star Park Average Daily Attendance
Increases by More Than Five Percent in 2008
Despite the slumping
national economy, record gas prices and two less days of live racing than
in 2007, Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie concluded their 65-day, 2008
Spring Thoroughbred meet on Sunday, July 27, with increases in both average
daily and overall attendance.
Average daily attendance rose just over 5 percent to 7,500 in 2008 compared
with 7,100 last year. Despite having two fewer days of racing in 2008,
65 compared to 67 in a year ago, Lone Star Park's overall attendance increased
by nearly 10,000, from 475,097 in 2007 to 484,879 this year. The 5.2 percent
average daily attendance increase is the largest annual increase in the
history of Lone Star Park. The previous high was 1.5 percent in 2002 from
"We are extremely pleased with the growth in attendance during our
2008 meet and would like to thank all of our loyal customers who came
out to Lone Star Park," said Lone Star Park President and General
Manager Drew Shubeck. "In addition to the live racing, our big event
days and a very successful concert series, as well as Big Brown's exciting
run at the Triple Crown, provided our fans with great entertainment throughout
the meet. The growth in attendance during these difficult economic times
demonstrates that Lone Star Park remains one of the best and most affordable
entertainment values in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area."
Average daily wagering on Lone Star Park's live racing, both on and off
track, slipped 2.3 percent to $1.63 million from $1.67 million in 2007.
In addition, average daily on-track wagering, which includes betting by
on-track customers on both Lone Star Park's live races and simulcast races
imported by the track, was $1.03 million, a 6.1-percent decrease from
$1.09 million last year.
In 2008, the All-Sources average daily handle slipped to $2.25 million
compared to last year's $2.34 million, a 3.7-percent decline.
"While more people attended the races at Lone Star Park this year,
the economy clearly had an negative impact on how much they had to spend
when they were here," added Shubeck. "In addition, the loss
of wagering from the Account Deposit Wagering companies also contributed
to our lower handle figures."
On the track, there were a total of 5,667 runners in 632 races during
the 65-day, 2008 Lone Star Park meet for an average field size of 9.0
per race, an increase of 0.4 from last year's average of 8.6 when 5,517
starters ran in 641 races. In addition, there were only 313 scratches
(4.8 per day) this year compared to 527 (7.8 per day) in 2007.
The biggest factor in those increases was the weather, with far less
rain in 2008 than a year ago. This season there were only nine races over
five different days that were moved off of the turf to the main track
due to wet conditions. Last year, 60 races over 21 different dates had
All-time Lone Star Park leading jockey Cliff Berry, who won titles in
2005 and 2006, topped all riders with 91 victories to increase his career
total to 621 while making it three jockey championships in the last four
years. His streak was interrupted by Ramsey Zimmerman last year. Luis
Quinonez was 20 victories behind with 71 and veteran reinsman Eddie Martin
Jr., the 2004 Spring Meet leader, was third with 56 wins.
Like in 2007, the nation's leading trainer Steve Asmussen led the trainer
standings with 78 wins, while Grand Prairie native Bret Calhoun finished
second behind him with 68. It marks Asmussen's 10th trainer title in the
last 11 years and increases his all-time Lone Star Park career wins to
802. John Locke was third with 46 winners.
The owner's race came down to the final week of the meet with five in
contention. Owner Tom Durant, who previously won the award in 2005 and
tied for leading owner during the 2004 Fall meet, clinched the 2008 title
by two victories with 17 wins during the meet. Jan Haynes finished second
with 15 trips to the Winner's Circle, while three others - Heiligbrodt
Racing Stable, Black Hawk Stable and Carl R. Moore Management LLC - each
tied for third with 14 victories.
Monterey Jazz, winner of the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile on Lone Star
Million Preview Day, April 26, 2008, was voted as the Horse of the Meet.
Other racing highlights of the meet included El Gato Malo's exciting
stretch run to win by half a length over second-place finisher Leonides
in Saturday's Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Derby in front of 9,249 at Lone
Star Park on Saturday, May 10.
On Lone Star Million Day, Monday, May 26, Stronach Stable's Giant Gizmo,
trained by five-time Eclipse Award winner Robert Frankel and ridden by
2007 Eclipse-winning jockey Garrett Gomez, overcame a difficult trip to
win the 12th running of the Grade 3, $400,000 Lone Star Park Handicap
by two lengths. Also that day, Robert Tjosvold's Church Service earned
his first graded stakes victory in capturing the Grade 3, $200,000 Dallas
Turf Cup and Pin Oak Stable's Brownie Points gave trainer Donnie K. Von
Hemel his second career victory in the Grade 3, $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff
Stars of Texas Day on Saturday, July 12 featured the inductions of three
new members into the Lone Star Park Hall of Fame - Owners Clarence and
Dorothy Scharbauer, and L. William (Bill) and Corinne Heiligbrodt, and
Dixie Dot Com, who in 2001, became the only horse in history to sweep
the Grade 3 Texas Mile and Lone Star Handicap in his only two appearances
at Lone Star Park.
Off the track, season highlights included crowds of 15,985 and 26,774
for racing and holiday fireworks on July 3 and 4, respectively. A highly-successful
concert series attracted at total of 53,196 fans for an average of 13,300
fans for the four shows including - 15,132 on April 11 for Gary Allan,
12,125 on April 12 for Miranda Lambert, 13,040 on June 13 for Randy Rogers
and 12,899 for Stoney LaRue on July 11.
Big Brown's run at a Triple Crown was another highlight of the season
as 45,909 fans attended Lone Star Park to watch and wager on his failed
attempt to become the 12th Triple Crown winner in history. The biggest
of the three crowds was 18,689 for the Kentucky Derby on May 3, followed
by 14,914 on Belmont Stakes Day on June 6, and a May 17 Preakness Day
gathering of 12,306,
Live racing at Lone Star Park will resume on Friday, September 26, 2008
with opening night of the 31-day Fall Meeting of Champions for American
Quarter Horses. During that meet, there will be special simulcasts of
the Breeders' Cup World Championships from Santa Anita Park on Friday,
October 24 and Saturday, October 25.