Belmont Stakes Simulcast Highlights Busy Saturday at Lone Star

(June 7, 2006) - There may not be a Triple Crown sweep on the line, but a talented cast of 3-year-olds will line up for Saturday's 138th running of the Belmont Stakes. Who knows, horse racing's next star could be ready to emerge in the 1 ½-mile classic, long considered to be "The Test of a Champion."

The Belmont Stakes simulcast is the centerpiece of busy day at Lone Star Park. On track, the future equine stars of Texas will show their talents in divisions of the $100,000 Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurities. The 12-race program begins at 1:35 p.m. CT with the Belmont Stakes to be shown between the eighth and ninth races at approximately 5:35 p.m. CT.

Even though Grand Prairie, Texas is almost 1,600 miles away from Belmont Park, the day at Lone Star will have a New York flavor, complete with Manhattans and live music from the Cary Richards Orchestra between 12-4 p.m. It's all part of a "Crown Royal Craze in the Courtyard of Champions" to honor the third and final leg of the Triple Crown.

Kentucky Derby runner-up Bluegrass Cat, once considered the early Derby favorite after winning three straight stakes between October and February, was made the 3-1 morning line favorite for the Belmont. He'll face 11 rivals, including the Kentucky Derby third and fourth-place finishers, Steppenwolfer and Jazil, as well as Wood Memorial champ Bob and John and the promising graded stakes winner Sunriver.

Here's the compete Belmont field from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Platinum Couple (Jose Espinoza, Joseph Lostritto, 30-1), Sunriver (Rafael Bejarano, Todd Pletcher, 4-1), Hemingway's Key (Jeremy Rose, Nick Zito, 15-1), Bob and John (Garrett Gomez, Bob Baffert, 5-1), High Finance (Eibar Coa, Rick Violette Jr, 12-1), Oh So Awesome (Mike Smith, Jimmy Jerkens, 20-1), Deputy Glitters (Edgar Prado, Tom Albertrani, 15-1), Jazil (Fernando Jara, Kiaran McLaughlin, 10-1), Bluegrass Cat (John Velazquez, Pletcher, 3-1), Double Galore (Tyler Baze, Myung Kwon Cho, 30-1), Steppenwolfer (Robby Albarado, Daniel Peitz, 9-2), and Sacred Light (Victor Espinoza, David Hofmans, 15-1).

Lone Star's Grandstand will open at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The Post Time Pavilion, Lone Star's simulcast center, opens its doors at 10 a.m., one hour before the first simulcast race from Belmont Park.

Plenty of Action to Complement Belmont Stakes

The first of 13 simulcast races from Belmont Park on Saturday will be at 11 a.m. CT. The 138th running of the Belmont Stakes will go as Belmont's 11th race at approximately 5:35 p.m. CT. Also on the card will be the Grade I, $400,000 Manhattan Handicap; Grade I, $250,000 Acorn; Grade II, $300,000 Just A Game; Grade II, $250,000 Woody Stephens Breeders' Cup (formerly known as the Riva Ridge); and Grade II, $200,000 True North. The 13th and final race from Belmont will go to post at approximately 6:50 p.m. CT.

Belmont to Feature $1 Million Guaranteed Pick 6, Pick 4

There are a million reasons to wager on Saturday's Belmont Stakes thanks to a pair of guaranteed exotic pools. The New York Racing Association will guaranteed $1 million wagering pools for both the Pick 6 (Races 6-11) and Pick 4 (Races 8-11). The Belmont Stakes is the final leg for both wagers. In addition to the Pick 6 and Pick 4, there will be Win, Place, Show, Exactas and Trifectas on every race, as well as eight Pick 3s, seven Daily Doubles, two Quinellas, three Superfectas and the Grand Slam wager.

Special Drive Thru Wagering Hours for Belmont Stakes

The hours of operation for Drive Thru Wagering off Gate 2 on Saturday will stretch from 8 a.m. until post time of the Belmont Stakes. The race, to be televised live on ABC Sports (WFAA 8 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area) from 4-6 p.m. CT, is set to run at 5:35 p.m. CT. ESPN will broadcast some of Belmont Park's undercard races from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT. Typically, Drive Thru Wagering is offered every live racing day from 8 a.m. to noon.

Advance Belmont Wagering All Day Friday

Those who can't make it to Lone Star Park for a simulcast of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday can place advance wagers all day Friday on the third and final leg of the Triple Crown. In fact, advance wagers will be accepted on Saturday's entire 13-race card from Belmont Park. Advance wagering will begin Friday at Lone Star Park when Drive Thru Wagering windows open off Gate 2 at 8 a.m. Doors to the Post Time Pavilion open at 10:50 a.m. Friday and Grandstand gates open at 5 p.m. - an hour-and-a-half before the first live race at 6:35 p.m.

Asmussen Looks to Have Favorites for Both Divisions of Saturday's TTA Sales Futurities

Trainer Steve Asmussen will likely saddle the favorites for both divisions of the $100,000 TTA Sales Futurity, a pair of five-furlong races for 2-year-olds on Saturday. Graded stakes winner Datrick will headline the colts and geldings division, while Miss Mary Pat is expected to be the fan's choice in the fillies.

Datrick, one of four from the Asmussen barn, comes into Saturday's race with a perfect 3-for-3 record. On Kentucky Derby week at Churchill Downs he dazzled with a 1 ¾-length victory in the Grade III, $150,000, Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes. Among his top rivals will be a four-pronged attack from trainer Bret Calhoun, headed by Be a Resident, Devils Warrior and Austin Lights.

Asmussen and Calhoun have the two horses to beat in the fillies division as well. Asmussen will shoot for his seventh win in the last eight runnings of the race with Miss Mary Pat, who won her trial by a convincing 5 ½ lengths two weeks ago. Calhoun's Lady Be Tru also was impressive, winning by 2 ¼ lengths.

The fields for both races were determined from trial races on May 25-26, and post positions will be drawn Thursday. The top four finishers in each trial race earned the right to run in their division final. All horses in Saturday's finals passed through Texas sales rings earlier in their career.

Qualifiers to the Colts & Geldings Division of the TTA Sales Futurity

Datrick (trained by Steve Asmussen), Be a Resident (Bret Calhoun), Devils Warrior (Calhoun), Sir Five Star (Asmussen), Holy Mission (Mike Stidham), Spoonerism (Danny Pish), Mountain Rivera (Calhoun), Austin Lights (Calhoun), Glass Machine (Asmussen), No Risk No Gain (Pish), Primed Pioneer (J.R. Bustamante), and Jacksonville Road (Asmussen).

Qualifiers to the Fillies Division of the TTA Sales Futurity

Miss Mary Pat (trained by Steve Asmussen), Lady Be True (Bret Calhoun), Sylvania Avenue (Jack Bruner), Touchofreality (Cheryl Asmussen), Comanche Vision (Tommie Morgan), Foolish Girl (Morgan), Wrenice (Randy Mayfield), Stage Stop (Cheryl Asmussen), Expect an Echo (Marvin Hayes), Speedy Diva (Mark Thompson), Lucky Libby (Mike Stidham), and Sister Genevieve (Elmer Carter).

Wheel of Fortune at Lone Star

A crew from the long-running TV game show Wheel of Fortune was at Lone Star Park on Wednesday morning to shoot a picturesque backdrop for upcoming episodes that will originate from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In August, Wheel of Fortune, featuring Pat Sajak and Vanna White, is scheduled to tape episodes of its popular show before a live audience at nearby Nokia Theatre. The show, which airs in 36 foreign territories worldwide, will be broadcast later this year. The show's creator Merv Griffin is a longtime Thoroughbred owner and currently campaigns horse racing's reigning Champion 2-Year-Old Male of 2005, Stevie Wonderboy.

Crowning Victory Tries Turf Against Leaf Trader After Runaway Win

Crowning Victory, the 4-year-old gelding from the Chris Hartman barn who ran away from the field over a "sloppy" track last month, will try turf for the first time Thursday night against nine foes in a $27,000 first level allowance. The five-furlong turf sprint is the featured eighth race on nine-race program that begins at 6:35 p.m. CT. Crowning Victory was made the 7-2 second choice on the morning line behind 3-1 favorite Leaf Trader, who finished second to Hartman's Sweepingly last time out at this class level. Sweepingly moved forward to post a 22-1 upset over Grade III stakes champ Man of Illusion in the $100,000 Beck Auto Group Turf Sprint on Lone Star Million Day.

Mavs Game Shown on TVs Throughout Grandstand

Thursday's nine-race live program at Lone Star coincides with the Dallas Mavericks' first appearance in the NBA Finals. No worries for crazed Mavs fans because Game 1 in the best of seven series with the Miami Heat will air on televisions throughout the Grandstand. It'll also be prominently showcased on the infield JumboTron between live races, and track announcer John Lies will provide in-game updates throughout the night.

Heated Battle For Leading Rider Between Berry, Hamilton

Cliff Berry and Quincy Hamilton remain in a heated battle to be Lone Star's leading rider as both jockeys made six trips to the winner's circle over the abbreviated three-day week (June 2-4). Through the first eight weeks of the 15-week meeting, Berry, last year's champ, maintained a one-win advantage, 53-to-52. Jaime Theriot was third with 31 victories. Meanwhile, Justin Shepherd rode five winners from 21 starters last week, including the $40,000 Nevill/Kyocera Stakes aboard Stalwartly for trainer Steve Asmussen. This season, Shepherd had won 27 races, good for fourth in the jockey standings.

Autrey Regains Second in Trainer Standings; Asmussen Still Clear

Cody Autrey saddled five winners from 12 starters to regain sole possession of second place in the trainer standings. Autrey, winning at a meet-high 36% win-clip, still trailed seven-time local training champ Steve Asmussen, 39-32, and kicked four clear of Bret Calhoun, who was third with 28 wins.

Three-Way Tie Atop Owner Standings

There's a three-way tie atop the Lone Star owner standings between Tom Durant, Charles Fletcher and Sandy and Jerry Heflin. All begin the week with seven wins. Heiligbrodt Racing Stable (Bill and Corrine Heligbrodt), Pin Oak Stable (Josephine Abercrombe) and Wimp Free Racing Stables (Randy Galloway et al) are one behind the leaders with six visits to the winner's circle this season.


Six horses are perfect in three starts at Lone Star this season: Groovy Chief, Peerless Tee, Purely Classic, Silver Thunder, Sleek Flyer and Sweepingly. Durrymane is three-for-four. They are the only three-time winners so far this season. Last year, Saf Link set a track record with five wins in five starts in a single Lone Star Park meeting.

Nominations for the Grade III, $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup Close Wednesday at Midnight

Nominations for the final graded stakes race of Lone Star's Spring Thoroughbred Season close Wednesday at midnight. The $200,000 Dallas Turf Cup was awarded Grade III status for the first time this year. The 1 1/8-mile turf test for 3-year-olds and up will highlight the 11-race program on Saturday, June 17. Also scheduled that day is the $40,000 Carter McGregor Jr. Memorial Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for Texas-breds.

Randy Rogers Band in Concert After Races Friday, June 16

The Randy Rogers Band, one of the hottest acts on the Texas Country music scene, will perform in concert at Lone Star Park after the horse races on Friday, June 16.

General admission is $3 before 9 p.m. and $15 after. The first live race is scheduled to go off at around 6:35 p.m., with the final race scheduled to go off at around 10:47 p.m. Admission gates open at 5 p.m. The Randy Rogers Band will take the stage after the last race at 11 p.m.

The stage will be situated outdoors between the Grandstand and the Post Time Pavilion, adjacent to the main track. Once in the park there will be no additional fee to watch the concert. Seating is first come, first serve lawn-style seating with no reserved seats. Blankets are permitted outdoors.

The Randy Rogers Band is a local Texas talent that has released three albums to date with the most recent being "Rollarcoaster." One single off the album "Tonight's Not the Night" has entered mass rotation on country radio. "USA Today" rated the album three stars out of four.

Randy Rogers got his start while still a student at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos when he played open mic nights at Cheatham Street Warehouse. He became a favorite of the owner who offered him a night if he formed a band. Rogers did and released the band's first album "Live at Cheatham Street Warehouse" in December of 2000.

In 2005 the Randy Rogers Band won "Band of the Year," "Album of the Year," "Song of the Year" and "Songwriter of the Year" at the Gruene with Envy Awards that celebrate Texas musicians.

Father's Day Drawings for Rolex, Calloway Driver & Dinner at Bob's

Men 21 and over in attendance at Lone Star Park on Father's Day (Sunday, June 18) will have a chance to win fabulous prizes throughout the racing program. Among the prizes to be distributed in between-race drawings are a Rolex watch (courtesy of VanPeterson Jewelers in Irving, Texas), a Calloway driver and dinner at Bob's Steak & Chop House.

Down The Stretch - Friday's "Party at the Park" will feature live music from The Silvertones and $1.75 Bud Lights in the Courtyard of Champions from 7-11 p.m...Sunday is Senior Citizen's Day at Lone Star with free admission for patrons 62 and up with proof of identification...Reminder: "Lone Star Park Tonight," a half-hour replay of Lone Star's daily racing, airs on HorseRacing TV (Channel 404 on Dish Network) the following morning at 10:30 a.m. CT...HRTV also is scheduled to broadcast the season finale of "Lone Star Park This Week" on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT (last week's show was preempted by special coverage of the Vodafone Derby from England). The weekly magazine-style show - which will preview divisions of the TTA Sales Futurity and a simulcast of the Belmont Stakes - also will air Saturday at 9 a.m. on KFWD-52 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area..."Across the Board" will debut Wednesday at 8 p.m. on HRTV. It's a new half-hour program hosted by Laffit Pincay III that will offer a comprehensive look at major happenings in Thoroughbred racing and lively discussions on topical issues...In addition to the Belmont Stakes coverage on Saturday, horseracing will be prominent on ESPN and ESPN 2 all week. ESPN2's "Citgo Wire to Wire" will air Thursday from Belmont Park at 12 p.m. CT, and there will be live coverage of Friday's Grade III, $100,000 Hill Prince Stakes on ESPN2 at 4 p.m. CT. Also, a Triple Crown recap will air Saturday on ESPN at 6:30 p.m. CT following the running of the Belmont Stakes on ABC Sports.

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