Ellis Park Reduces Purses, Cancels Three Stakes

(from Ellis Park report)
Ellis Park will institute a 5% reduction in all overnight purses, including all Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund supplements, beginning July 28 for the duration of the 54-day meeting.

Ellis Park's summer season ends Sept. 6.

Officials blamed the decision primarily on the recent loss of three days of simulcast wagering revenues from Churchill Downs' Trackside Louisville.

In addition, the meet's final three stakes events have been canceled: the $75,000 Governor's Handicap Aug. 28, the $100,000 Dade Turf Classic Sept. 4, and the $100,000 Tri-State Handicap Sept. 6.

"The loss of wagering revenue during the weather-related power outage at Trackside Louisville during the period of July 14 through 16, and soft on-track wagering totals, have prompted this purse reduction," said Ellis Park general manager Paul Kuerzi. "We have had solid on-track attendance this meet, but the loss of a major wagering source such as the Trackside Louisville for that period is a factor that we will not be able to overcome during this meet.

"We regret the decision to reduce our purses, but we continue to face increasing competition in our home market and rising competitive pressure for both horses and a share of the simulcast wagering market from tracks with purses boosted by slot machine revenues. Those factors make it increasingly difficult for Ellis Park to absorb an unanticipated setback like the weather-related loss of simulcast revenues from Trackside Louisville."

Ellis Park, located in Henderson, KY., got underway on July 7. The track has a six-day weekly racing schedule and is "dark" on Tuesday.