Today we’re putting our opposable thumbs to good use as we review the 2011 Lone Star Park Spring Thoroughbred Meet.
If you build it, they will come [and they will bet]: Lone Star Park ended its 52-day spring meet with a 10 percent increase in daily attendance. Average daily attendance increased to 7,621 from 6,952 despite it being ridiculously hot. And they wagered, too, as on-track handle increased 4%. Thumbs Up!
Simulcast woes: Although the on-track handle increased, total All-Sources handle dropped 7%.
“We continue to be disappointed in the simulcast out number. This decline is a signal that the national simulcast customer is telling us they are not interested in our product offering,” said Lone Star Park President and Snappy Dresser, Drew Shubeck
No kidding. Bettors peppered around the country are not exactly inspired to wager on a race card where the featured race is a Clm 15000nw2 and 25% take-out. Thumbs down!
Star power: On average, perhaps the quality of racing product wasn’t exactly overwhelming. However, Lone Star Park did stage a few spectacular days of racing. Lone Star Million Day gave us notable winners such as Wasted Tears and Awesome Gem. And this past Saturday – a Stars of Texas Showcase Spectacular – we were treated to a couple of very promising 2-year-olds: Sword Trick and Miss Lederhosen. Of note, Sword Trick is trained by Bret Calhoun (winning the training title for the second year in a row … who’s Steve Asmussen???) is owned by the legendary Texas horseman, Clarence Scharbauer Jr. And I, for one, get pretty darn excited every time I see a good lookin’ young horse with the Scharbauer Silks. Thumbs up!
Your NBA Champions, the Dallas Mavericks: THUMBS UP!!!
Saturday morning breakfast routine: The much touted program, Jockeys & Java was once again wildly popular, proving that fans are really interested in talking to industry short people and eating free food. Trainers Dallas and Donna Keen and J.R. Caldwell deserve special recognition – opening up the barns for fans to learn more about the whole backside experience. They are true ambassadors of horse racing! Additionally, I know I’ve said it before but it needs to be said again, track announcer John Lies is exceptional at conducting guest interviews, be it the special guest a jockey or a horse chiropractor. And he handles the Q&A portion of the program with complete ease. Kind of like Oprah. Two Thumbs Up!!
Nowhere man: The Star-Telegram (motto: “Your local news featuring all wire reports all the time!”), in a ridiculously stupid cost saving move because integrity, professionalism, and writing no longer matters in newspapers, handed local turf writer and friend of Post Parade, Gary West, a pink slip in May. Smack dab in the middle of the spring meet. Gone are his impressions of morning workouts, handicapping insights, race selections, and good ol’ fashion racetrack gossip. Two Thumbs WAY WAY DOWN!!
Paradise Lost: The Texas Legislature failed to approve any measure that could expand gaming in the state, instead opting to fund Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico with Texans’ gambling dollars. Thumbs down!
Paradise Found: Pauly, the happy Irish pari-mutuel laddie that sold me my cluster of Derby wagers featuring Animal Kingdom, Nehro, and Mucho Macho Man. Thumbs up!
Overall happiness quotient: Reducing the meet to 52 days was wise. The wilting days of mid-July is unappealing for the hardiest of racing fans. And many of us fans are giddy with anticipation with the impending Saratoga and/or Del Mar meets. The season proved satisfactory, however there is plenty of room for improvement. And the brand new spanking owners, Global Gaming Solutions, are slated to begin a multi-million dollar renovation on the daily simulcast facility, the Post Time Pavilion, in any minute. Ergo, apparently a few of those dollars that are poured into WinStar World Casino at Exit 1, Oklahoma, are finding their way back into North Texas - and for the good of horse racing. Thumbs up!