Purses in Texas have fallen 31 percent ...
Texas Thoroughbred foal crop has dropped 48 percent ...
Texas horsemen, in a huff, are storming off to exotic locales such as Shreveport, Louisiana ...
Handle has declined, attendance is down, and they’ve added some sort of questionable ingredient to the frozen margaritas that has turned them an unusual shade of green.
Plenty of gloom and doom in these here parts.
But the newly energized and invigorated Lone Star Park management team (motto: "So long, Frank, sorry to see you go! Long live Global Gaming!") is making an effort to brighten things up; entice new fans and make things warm and fuzzy with their regular railfolk. And beginning this weekend, they’re giving racing fans, curiosity seekers, and the general public an opportunity to spend some quality time at the track during morning workouts – complete with free breakfast burritos.
This Saturday - bright and early at 8:30 a.m. - Lone Star will host “Jockeys & Java”, a free program that enables the public to watch morning workouts with track announcer John Lies along with his “special guests”, all the while enjoying a free breakfast. Following the program, the fans will be invited to attend a behind-the-scenes tour of the backstretch. Saturday’s “special guests” will be renowned jockey Aaron Gryder, and the Star-Telegram’s turf-writing professor, Gary West. Furthermore, everyone in attendance will receive a Lone Star TrackPack with coupons for free general admission and a Lone Star Today racing program.
Dan Leary, Director of Communications at Lone Star Park, said that the program would provide an opportunity to see “what it takes to make a race happen; to get those ten horses to race around the track.” He had been involved with a similar program when he worked for Arlington Park, which grew in popularity. “We started out with only one bus of 25 people for the backstretch tour, but pretty soon it grew to two buses. By the time I left, we had about 5 buses [of fans] going to the backstretch.” He’s hopeful that this program will spark similar interest with racing fans.
Lone Star Park will be hosting six Saturday “Jockeys & Java” during the remainder of the Spring Thoroughbred meet: May 29, June 5, 12, 19, 26 and July 17.
This is definitely a program that brightens any racing fan’s day! Well, other than cashing in on some big fat superfecta.