Thoroughbred racing racing returns to Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie today. The spring meet ends July 22.
Because of handle gains, all overnight races will see an increase of at least $2,000 each in purse money. Some overnight race categories will see as much as a 25 percent gain in their purses. No race in the 44-day season will have a purse less than $10,000.
Gates open at 5:30 p.m. on opening night, which includes the $50,000 Bluebonnet Stakes. The first race is at 6:35 p.m. General admission is $5 per person and $3 for ages 4-12. Children 3 and younger are free.
One of the highlights of the stakes schedule is the $200,000 Steve Sexton Mile on May 6. The Grade III race is for 3-year old horses and up.
Here are three things to know about the 2018 thoroughbred season:
Richard Eramia earned his first Lone Star Park riding title in 2017, winning 67 races from 319 starts. He had total earnings of $1,017,923.
Lane Luzzi will be making his debut in Grand Prairie, but not in Texas. He rode at Remington Park and Sam Houston but is making his first trip to Lone Star Park.
Sasha Risenhoover set a track record for most wins in a single season by a female jockey at Lone Star Park with 47, easily erasing the previous mark of 33, set by Deirdra Panas in 2001.
Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen
Steve Asmussen has won a record 13 training titles at Lone Star Park. The National Horse Racing Hall of Famer has won the Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer twice (2008, 2009). His resume includes six Breeders' Cup wins, two Preakness wins, the Belmont Stakes, two Kentucky Oaks, the Dubai World Cup and the Pegasus World Cup.
Bret Calhoun, second in all-time trainer wins at Lone Star Park, has raced horses in Grand Prairie every season since it opened in 1997.
Kentucky Derby Day
One of the biggest crowds of the season usually packs the track for Kentucky Derby Day, which is May 5.
The 144th Derby will be simulcast live from Churchill Downs. Gates open at 10:30 a.m. May 5.
The annual Kentucky Derby Hat contest will have payout of $500. In addition, there will be two grand prize giveaways: One for the most creative hat and one for the most stylish hat. Three hats will earn honorable mention and receive "A Day At the Races" package.
The other legs of the Triple Crown are Preakness Stakes, on May 19, and Belmont Stakes, on June 9. Both will be simulcast live.