Since putting a new marketing plan in place for its Instant Racing games, Ellis Park has seen improvement in the business. The Kentucky track registered record monthly handle for the games at $3,024,776 in May.
With the general manager of Ellis Park saying June 27 that the track is "over the hump" in its efforts to clean up an inordinate amount of rock in its dirt surface, horsemen are hopeful the problem has been corrected.
Training resumed at Ellis Park the morning of June 26 as management at the Henderson, Ky., track continued to deal with an inordinate amount of rock in the main dirt track surface leading up to opening day.
Two weeks before the 29-day Ellis Park meet begins July 4, horsemen are expressing concerns about the condition of the main track and some, including prominent conditioner Larry Jones, have decided not to race at the track.
When Kentucky Downs conducts its short, all-turf meet in September, it will offer some of the most lucrative purses in the Bluegrass State this year, thanks to the success of Instant Racing.
Members of an advisory committee that oversees the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund expressed concern June 8 over diminishing revenue for the program as well as one racetrack's suspension of full-card simulcasts.
Ellis Park director of operations Bob Jackson said in spite of the Kentucky River flooding around the facility a week prior to the Kentucky Derby, simulcast numbers were not significantly affected.
Ellis Park got the official OK to add five days of racing to its current meet, and Keeneland will be permitted to change the way it divvies up purses in each race.
No call at 2 a.m. is good. Rodney Leibring, DVM, received one of those calls on Nov. 6. Leibring, a Thoroughbred racetrack practitioner, was asked by the male caller if he was at Ellis Park yet. Leibring, confused because he wasn't expected there until after 8 a.m., replied, "No why?" The man told Leibring that he needed to get there right away. A tornado had just hit the racetrack's stables, and it didn't look good.
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