Jockeys, signaled by the Call to Post, returned to work atop the mammal beasts at Lone Star Park on Thursday evening for the start of the track’s spring meeting, which opened with nary a glitch.
When all the formal ceremonies marking the track’s 17th thoroughbred season were complete, Triumph and Song darted from the gates, turning each and every would-be rival in the $50,000 Premiere Stakes into instant long shots.
Guided by veteran jockey Jamie Theriot and trainer Bret Calhoun, the colt made owner Victoria Ashford a first-time stakes winner at Lone Star.
“The track was great and the horse felt fine,” said Theriot, who made Triumph and Song a winner for the third time in three 2013 starts.
His first time in stakes company was no different than easy victories in January and February at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.
Triumph and Song, whom oddsmakers made an even-money bet, paid out $2.60 on the win, $2.20 on the place and a $2.10 show.
Texas Air, who went off at 6-1, paid $5.60 on the place. Solar Charge, under jockey Roman Chapa, paid $2.10 on the show.
Trifecta bettors earned $29.20 on a $2 wager. The $2 superfecta on the collection of Triumph and Song, Texas Air, Solar Charge and Tahoka paid out $175.80.
Triumph and Song has earned $80,400 in 2013, including $30,000 on Thursday night in what turned out to be more workout than race.
“I kind of asked him to run the last eighth of a mile to try to get something out of the race,” Theriot said. “And he finished strong.”
Lone Star Park officials were feeling like winners, too, on the first of 50 dates this meet.
A day after rainfall drenched Dallas-Fort Worth, the horse gods stepped in, parted the clouds, and said, “Let there be racing.”
A bearer procession of a large Texas flag preceded renditions of God Bless America and the national anthem as part of the opening ceremonies.
“The racing gods were shining down on us,” said G.W. Hail, the track’s vice president and assistant general manager. “Perfect weather. If it would have happened [Wednesday], it would have been all bets off.”
Spectators were greeted with $11 million worth of renovations to the park and Bar and Book simulcast pub, including a new large video screen on the infield and a new track surface.
“Hope springs eternal,” Hail said. “Everybody is undefeated. Everybody is a winner, nobody has lost anything yet.
“If you do lose, the great thing about our game, is 20 minutes later you can come back and fire again.”