Big Jump in Opening Day Business at Fresno

On-track wagering, attendance and all-source handle all jumped by more than 20% on opening day at the Fresno Fair Oct. 6.

A total of $250,467 was wagered on live and imported races at the fair, an increase of 24% from the 2003 meet. On track attendance increased by 21% to 4,235. The amount of money wagered on live and imported races on track, in the Northern California off-track network and from out of state increased 27% to $442,214, CARF said.

In addition, the average Thoroughbred field size on the opening day card increased from 8.8 horses per race in 2003 to 9.6 in 2004. Opening day also featured the simulcast broadcasting debut of Spanish-language announcer George Ortuzar.

"We all worked hard to make the Fresno Fair opening a big success," said Christopher Korby, CARF executive director. "It's great to see such healthy handle figures. We especially want to thank the horsemen who contributed to the strong opening day card."

"You could feel the excitement of the fans," said John Alkire, CEO of the Fresno Fair. "This gets our 2004 racing program off to a great start."