Elmore replaced former vice president and general manager Paul Kuerzi who retired in December 2005.The Nov. 6, 2005 tornado caused heavy damage to the track's terrace grandstand, paddock, jockeys' quarters, racing office, infield tote board, and stable area. Repairs have either been finished or are nearing completion on all of the areas that were hardest hit by the storm. Construction crews and contractors from across the Tri-State have performed all the repair work.Ellis Park will hold a special ceremony prior to the first race on opening day to remember the 25 Tri-State area residents who lost their lives in the tornado. A gubernatorial proclamation will mark July 19 as "Ellis Park Day in Kentucky," and the track will make a special presentation to Evansville's Habitat for Humanity and its "Operation Home Again," which is working to build 60 homes for families displaced in the storm. Families that lost their homes and loved ones in the storm have been invited to attend opening day at the races and will receive a free picnic lunch."I truly believe our opening will be another step in the healing process for our communities," Elmore said.
As part of the opening day festivities, paid admissions will receive a commemorative CD/DVD that features a newly written song by musician Randy Beard titled "Ellis Park." The song serves as the soundtrack to a slideshow of pictures from Ellis Park's 85-year history.Back for the 2006 racing season is Ellis Park's marquee race day, "Big Four Stakes Saturday" Aug. 5, featuring the track's signature race, the Gardenia Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares. Opening weekend will feature the season's first stakes, the $50,000 HBPA Handicap for fillies and mares, which will be conducted at one mile on turf July 22.