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Final weekend of State Fair Park racing

July 9, 2009     E-mail this page to a friend!

As State Fair Park in Lincoln, Nebraska, opens its final weekend of horseracing, fans and horsemen alike are invited to Friday night's fundraiser for jockey Mike Luark, seriously injured in a spill here on Memorial Day weekend. He is expected to be out of action for a year or more.

The Nebraska Horsemenís Benevolent and Protective Association, State Fair Park, Nebraska Breeders Association, the Nebraska racetracks, and local individuals and businesses will be offering various items.

Two grand prizes will be raffled off, a 37-inch Sony HDTV and a Nebraska Cornhuskers ultimate tailgating package that includes a propane grill, chairs, and many of the accompanying accessories for game day. Director of racing Mike Newlin scored an ultimate auction coup sure to draw intense bidding: a picture of Rachel Alexandra, signed by jockey Calvin Borel.

Other prizes to be offered include gift certificates from local merchants in both Lincoln and Columbus, works donated by artist Bob Jones, and racing memorabilia donated from the state's racetracks. Door prizes will be given out through the evening, with the grand-prize drawings to be done after the feature race.

Friday is also when State Fair Park legally becomes Lincoln Race Course. Omaha Exposition & Racing, which is owned by the Nebraska HBPA and also runs Horsemenís Park in Omaha and Horsemenís Atokad Downs in South Sioux City, will run the final three days of the meet under the new name. By running the track for the final three days of the season, the HBPA will satisfy legal requirements that will enable the facility to continue offering simulcast wagering.

As TRJ—The Racing Journal has previously reported, after this meet concludes, the facility will be run by the state fair board until Omaha Exposition & Racing permanently takes over the operation of the facility, including simulcasting, on January 1, 2010, under a lease agreement with the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. The Nebraska State Fair will move to Grand Island in 2010 and the fairgrounds in Lincoln will be developed into an innovation and technology campus for the university. The racetrack will not be affected during the early stages of UNLís development of the State Fair Park.

Weekend post times are 6:45 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.