Buchanan Loaded For Friday's Opening Night Feature at Lone Star; Gone Celebrating Heads Entry for $30,000 B.F. Phillips Jr. Handicap

(Tuesday, September 27, 2005) - Trainer John Buchanan has a formidable four-horse entry, headed by Grade 1 winner Gone Celebrating, for Friday's $30,000 B.F. Phillips Jr. Handicap at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. The 400-yard dash for Texas-breds tops the opening night program for Lone Star's 33-night Fall Meeting of Champions for American Quarter Horses.

Friday's first of 13 live races is 5 p.m. CT - the new nightly post time for the Fall Meeting of Champions.

The Buchanan trainees - Gone Celebrating, Red Dog Leader, Lil Bit Rowdy and Chipeyed Charlie - will be coupled in the wagering because Buchanan is listed as co-owner of Red Dog Leader. They were made the 9-5 early favorites in the field of 10.

Gone Celebrating, an earner of $362,568, will be seeking his first victory in nearly two years. The 6-year-old Meter Me Gone gelding hasn't won since capturing the prestigious Grade 1 Championship at Sunland Park in December of 2003. He'll be ridden Friday by Juan Vazquez, Lone Star's career leader in Quarter Horse wins (160) and stakes wins (18).

Also entered was the "Sleepy" Gilbreath-trained Sarahs Fast Man, a 4-year-old gelding who finished second in the Grade 3 All American Gold Cup earlier this month. Roy Baldillez, a two-time local riding champ, has the mount.

Here's the complete B.F. Phillips Jr., Handicap field from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, assigned weight and morning line odds): Red Dog Leader (Raul Ramirez Jr., Buchanan, 124, 9-5); Fredericksburg (Gilbert Ortiz, Heath Taylor, 125, 5-1); Gone Celebrating (Vazquez, Buchanan, 125, 9-5); Lil Bit Rowdy (Alex Baldillez Jr., Buchanan, 123, 9-5); Amor Lijero (Larry Payne, Christian Rubalcava, 125, 8-1); Jack Zee Quick (Mark Page, Matt Baker, 125, 7-2); Dazzling Reflection (Manuel Gutierrez, Alfredo Triana, 123, 20-1); Chipeyed Charlie (Jerry Lee Yoakum, Buchanan, 125, 9-5); Sarahs Fast Man (Baldillez, Gilbreath, 123, 3-1); and Kathys Star Quest (Rodrigo Vallejo, Roberto Madrigal, 124, 15-1).

The B.F. Phillips Jr. will run as Friday's Race 11 at approximately 9:30 p.m. CT.

Lone Star doesn't call it the Fall Meeting of Champions for nothing. Since 1997, 24 American Quarter Horse Association champs have raced at Lone Star's Fall Meeting of Champions during their championships campaigns, including World Champions Tailor Fit (1999), Streaking Sin Tacha (2002) and Oak Tree Special (2003).

The B.F. Phillips Jr. Handicap is the first of 24 stakes races to be run at the nine-week stand. Together, they're cumulatively worth more than $2.7 million. The richest race of all is the $1 million Texas Classic Futurity, the state's only million-dollar horse race, scheduled for Nov. 26.

Other major events include the Grade 1, $150,000 Dash For Cash Derby (Oct. 21); the Grade 1, $450,000 Dash For Cash Futurity (Oct. 22); a simulcast of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships from Belmont Park in New York (Oct. 29); and the Grade 1, $100,000 Refrigerator Handicap and Grade 1, $400,000 Texas Classic Derby (Nov. 25).

Racing will be conducted every Wednesday through Saturday at 5 p.m. until Nov. 27. The lone exception is a 1:35 p.m. matinee card on closing day, Sunday, Nov. 27 because there will be no live racing Nov. 23-24 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Lone Star plans to card nine live races on Wednesday and Thursday nights with the final race scheduled around 8:30 p.m. On the busier Friday and Saturday nights, there will be 13 live races with the finale off around 10:30 p.m.

The popular Heineken "Party at the Park" series, featuring live music and drink specials from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the outdoor Courtyard of Champions, will return every Friday and Saturday through Oct. 29. Friday's opening night music will be provided by The Cary Richards Orchestra and The Bart Crow Band performs Saturday.

Other promotional highlights during the meet include a Breeders' Cup Preview Party in the Post Time Pavilion from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Oct. 22; free general admission for military and veterans on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11; Fan Appreciation Day with prize drawings on Nov. 26; and Pepsi Can Months in October and November. Customers who bring a can of Pepsi to Lone Star Park's Grandstand on live race days in October and November will receive $1 general admission and a free large Pepsi.

Also, there will be three Charity Days where two-percent of the on-track dollars wagered will be donated to the Grand Prairie Independent School District (Oct. 26), Race Track Chaplaincy (Nov. 2) and Texas A&M Equine Research Fund (Nov. 16).

General admission is just $3. Grandstand gates will open an hour before the first live race at 4 p.m. Reserved seating is available by calling (972) 263-PONY. Even though there's no live racing on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Nov. 23 and Nov. 24, Lone Star's simulcast center, the 36,000 square-foot Post Time Pavilion, is open seven days a week for simulcast wagering on numerous racetracks across the country.

For more information, call (972) 263-RACE or visit the track's website, lonestarpark.com.

DOWN THE STRETCH - The 37th Oak Tree Meeting at Santa Anita begins Wednesday. Eight graded stakes over the next two weekends will serve as preps for the Oct. 29 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. First post from Oak Tree is 3 p.m. CT on weekdays and 2:30 p.m. CT on weekends...There's still time to sign up for this weekend's Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship Qualifying Tournament at Lone Star Park. Call Keith Moore at (972) 237-5006 to enter or for more details...Lone Star will import four stakes races from Longchamp in France on Sunday, including the historic Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. The Post Time Pavilion will open at 8:30 a.m., 35 minutes before the first simulcast race - the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at 9:05 p.m. CT. The Group 1 Gran Criterium is next at 9:45 a.m. CT, followed by the 1 ½-mile Arc at 10:30 a.m. CT and the Prix du Grand Hotel Barriere at 11:15 a.m. CT. According to European bookmakers, the Arc betting favorites are Hurricane Run (5-2), Shawanda (3-1), Motivator (7-2 to 9-2 range), Bago (6-1) and Scorpion (8-1 to 12-1 range).

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