They never lie and say "it's not about the money." They never pull a Randy Moss and dog it off the line of scrimmage. They don't spit in umpires' faces, though they've been known to drool on folks. And if they fail a drug test, they can honestly say it wasn't their fault.
Yep, there's lots to love about racing Thoroughbreds, and starting Thursday evening, Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie gives us one more season to express our gratitude for what they ain't: Cowboys, Rangers, Cubans or Joneses. This is Lone Star's fifth season, and while racing conglomerate Magna Entertainment Corp. recently agreed to purchase the track, management assures us that racing fans will see no major changes. That's a good thing, because Lone Star is one of the country's best-run racing venues.
For opening week of the 15-week Thoroughbred racing season, Lone Star has scheduled all kinds of special events, including a post-race Willie Nelson concert Friday night and, oddly enough, a "sparring session" with local boxer Paulie Ayala between races on Sunday. But we go to the track for racing, and there's good reason to show up for the first race on Thursday--the $50,000 Premiere Stakes, with a 6:35 p.m. post time. Dallas native and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey will be riding last year's Texas-bred Horse of the Year Lights On Broadway, and it's a rare opportunity for Texans to see the greatest active rider in the world.
Lone Star Park
One half-mile north of Interstate 30 off Belt Line Road in Grand Prairie
Races this week Thursday through Sunday. Post time for the first race on Thursday and Friday is 6:35 p.m.; racing starts at 1:35 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For a full schedule of opening-week events, see www.lonestarpark.com or call 972-263-RACE.
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Returning this year to Lone Star are trainer Steve Asmussen, who's become one of the nation's top Thoroughbred conditioners; fan favorite T.B. Track Star, winner of several stakes races in Grand Prairie; and jockey Marlon St. Julien, who used to be one of Lone Star's top riders but has struggled the last few years as he tried to break into the Kentucky racing circuit.