According to reports, there’s to be a kiosk to assist newcomers to horse racing. And dollar beer - $1 Beer! - specials on Friday nights’ Party in the Park. And they hired an “entertainment host”, Ali Dee – she’s cute and perky and her mission is to make it “hip” to be seen at Party in the Park. And they have a cool line up of bands. And there’s 60 days of horse racing, replete with the Lone Star Derby, Lone Star Millions, and two days of fireworks extravaganza for the 4th of July!
Well, this evening I didn’t find any kiosk for newbies but I did run into Drew Shubeck, the President, General Manager, and Best Dressed Executive of Lone Star Park. He in turn, kindly introduced me to his equally dapper companion, Michael Chang of Global Gaming. At that moment, I was happy about three things:
- I was not drinking
- Drew Shubeck thinks that lil’ ol’ blogger me is worthy of an introduction
- I did not use the words “nit wit” and “Frank Stronach” together in a sentence
Anyway, we all had a pleasant albeit brief conversation – Drew Shubeck appreciated the fact that I wrote complimentary things about Lone Star’s bathrooms, and Michael Chang announced that he would be at Oaklawn for the Apple Blossom (“I have a ticket!”).
I also ran into Gary West as he was making his opening day rounds throughout the facility. We both rather groused about the state of Texas racing, lamenting that there had been a wonderful opportunity to do something to captivate North Texas after the track hosted the 2004 Breeders’ Cup. But alas ...
Oh, and I ran into Railbird Roy, who I hadn’t seen all winter. His prediction is trainer Bret Calhoun will win the Training title this year as he’s been putting out some speedy critters.
Traditionally, the first race of the meet is the Premiere Stakes for Texas-breds. The race was won by the talented 3-year-old gelding, Coyote Legend, trained by Bret Calhoun. Coyote Legend had won his last three previous races, most recently the Jim's Orbit Stakes at Sam Houston. And it was fitting to see the Scharbauer silks in the Winner’s Circle at the beginning of the meet.
I'm giddy and optimistic, regardless of the woes that face this region. Be it sagging purses or impending changes in ownership, it's time to get hip to Texas horse racing.