Yesterday was a true showcase of racing at Lone Star Park, Lone Star Million Day, which comprised of six stakes races with purses totaling - I'm just guessing here - $1 million! It's heralded as the richest day of Thoroughbred racing in Texas; its featured races include the $300,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (G3), the $200,000 Ouija Board Distaff (G3) and the formerly-graded-run-on-dirt-but-now-switched-to-turf $200,000 Lone Star Derby!
Under the glorious North Texas sunshine, fans and bettors were treated to some great races and quality horses, albeit no Lone Star Park racing card is ever complete without its usual $4,000 claimer and $7500 maiden claimer races. Regardless, it's a pure delight and real treat to watch and wager on wonderful and talented horses such as Wasted Tears, Irish Gypsy, Game On Dude, Awesome Gem, and two former Kentucky Derby entrants (so duly noted by Kenneth Ramsey) Dean's Kitten and Derby Kitten. Gee, I wish we could be treated to this kind of talent every weekend around here!
Wasted Tears recorded her third consecutive victory in the Ouija Board Distaff (G3), winning by five lengths over Category Seven. FYI: Wasted Tears set a still-standing course record of 1:32.81 for the one-mile distance when she won the 2009 Ouija Board. FYI Part II: Wasted Tears is perfect over the Lone Star Park turf (6-for-6). FYI Part III: Wasted Tears was [obviously] bet down to nothing, paying $2.80 for the Win, ergo she was the only one to make any money, $119,000 first-place prize, increasing her career earnings to $889,598.
Here's Wasted Tears in the paddock ...
And in the Winner's Circle (Okay, I clearly had to edit this photo 'cause there was a bald guy in the way) ...
You know, Lone Star Park should name the Winner's Circle after that mare.
Bob Baffert came to town and brought a trio of horses with him: Irish Gypsy, Uncle Sam, and Game On Dude, with Irish Gypsy being his only Winner's Circle opportunity with the Valid Expectation Stakes. These days, with Texas horse racing toiling away in its troubles, he reminds everyone that it's fun to come to Texas and that Lone Star Park is a great place to race. It was very refreshing for this disheartened Texas racing fan. As far as I'm concerned he can come back any time!
And that goes for Nancy Whatever-her-name-is, West Point Thoroughbreds Western Operation [insert title here]. Her post-race interview following Awesome Gem's Lone Star Park Handicap (G3) victory also included glowing remarks about Lone Star Park facility and hospitality. I should've recorded it and put it on You Tube as a public service to Texas racing.
Another highlight of the day was the Lone Star Derby, the first year it's moved to the turf. A very competitive field, however it was a real joy to see hometown favorite and future PGA-star, Chris Landeros win the race aboard Thirtyfirststreet, who somehow was completely overlooked by bettors and went off an appalling 22-1.
And here's the Lone Star Derby winner with jockey Chris Landeros in the Lone Star Park Wasted Tears Winner's Circle ...
If that little betting oversight wasn't enough to have anybody running for the Pepto-Bismol, there was the 2nd annual Chili Cook-Off competition sanctioned by the Chili Appreciation Society International, Inc., with proceeds benefiting Remember Me Rescue and LOPE Texas. I had the pleasure of judging the competition last year; this year I merely sampled chili from various cooks at my leisure. All for the good causes of taking care of retired racehorses and ensuring my intestinal tract will make it to the next decade.
As much as many of you have enjoyed looking at my Annie-Leibovitz-type high quality photos snapped from my Cannon Sure Shot on Lone Star Million Day, I offer up a few exceptional photos from exceptional photographers with exceptional cameras for your viewing pleasure: