Ellis Park reopened its clubhouse for simulcast wagering on Wednesday for the first time since a tornado ripped through the Henderson, Ky. track in the early morning hours of Nov. 5. Meanwhile, clean-up efforts continued around the facility, which saw significant tornado damage to its terrace grandstand, paddock, jockey's quarters, racing office and infield tote board.The track also lost 10 barns in the storm and several others were damaged. Efforts to clear away storm debris from the stable area can proceed now that all horses have been moved from the barn area. There were 158 horses stabled for training at Ellis Park when the storm hit and three lost their lives.
Ellis Park's primary business during the off-season is its simulcast operation, which allows patrons to wager on races from tracks around the country. Off-season simulcast operations are in the track's clubhouse, which was spared significant damage from the tornado. The track's clean-up efforts had been focused on repairing the minimal storm damage to the clubhouse and securing the grounds to allow patrons a safe return. Repairs have been made to the clubhouse roof, replacement and repair of fencing and the replacement of blown-out doors."It looks like we've got an above-average Wednesday crowd," said Paul Kuerzi, Ellis Park vice president and general manager. "It's hard to judge just how above average, but based on the crowd and the looks of the parking lot, we basically haven't missed a step as far as simulcasting goes."