Ellis Park

Ellis Park

Tom LaMarra

Ellis Park Has Successful 2012 Meet

Attendance, ontrack wagering, and all-sources handle increased at 29-day meet.

Despite a closing Labor Day weekend that saw the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac inundate western Kentucky with a deluge of rain, Ellis Park concluded its 29-day meet with increases in attendance and pair-mutuel handle.

The Henderson, Ky., track, which is in the process of selling a 30% interest to an entity of Saratoga Raceway Inc., reported average daily ontrack handle rose 6.5% to $200,349, and average daily all-sources handle of $1,425,838 represented a gain of 12.7%. Last year, ontrack wagering averaged $188,143 per day, and the all-sources handle average was $1,264,276.

Average daily attendance of 3,690 was 2.5% higher than the 3,611 average a year ago.

"We were very pleased," Ellis Park owner Ron Geary said, noting the numbers could have been better had the meet not closed with three consecutive days of rain that resulted in all turf races being moved to the main track. "We were poised to post some truly stellar numbers. But the tremendous amount of rain the area received during the Labor Day weekend held us down those last three days."

Average runners per race increased this year to 8.4, compared with 8.1 during the 31-day meet a year ago.

The track's $4,576,812 purse distribution included $1.2 million from Instant Racing at Kentucky Downs under an agreement worked out between horsemen and the tracks.

Ellis Park also began its Instant Racing gaming during the Labor Day weekend, but Geary did not have numbers on how much revenue was generated from the machines. He labeled the Instant Racing launch a success and said he did not receive any negative feedback from Ellis Park's clientele.

Mike Maker and Tim Glyshaw tied for leading trainer honors with eight wins each, and the jockeys' title was also a tie, with Corey Lanerie and Brian Hernandez aboard 25 winners each. Top apprentice rider with nine wins was Ivan Cruz, while Jack Frost was leading owner with five wins.