Edited from a release
Bucking the current industry trend, Les Bois Park finished up its 2003 live racing season with on-track increases for both attendance and total money wagered. A total of $4,462,732 was pushed through the on-track pari-mutuel windows over the 47 day live racing season versus $4,407,607 registered for the same number of programs a year ago.
On the attendance side of things, total number of fans clicking through the turnstiles in 2003 came to 92,314, while last yearís total for the comparable period was 86,803.
The highlights of the 2003 season included a record-smashing $380,308 wagered opening day with 4,567 fans. Also registering big successes for the season came with two after-the-races concerts by Merle Haggard and the Marshall Tucker Band.
"We are extremely happy with the season ending numbers," said Les Bois Park's Lanae Jones. "With the record-breaking heat wave we were very fortunate to do as well as we did. We look forward to improving the numbers once again in 2004."
Les Bois Park paid out a record $1.7 million dollars in overnight purse money and stakes.
Bret Vickery took home the hardware for leading trainer of the 2003 meet. Vickery started 112 horses and landed in the winner's circle 35 times. He also tallied for 21 seconds and 17 thirds. Vickery's win percentage for the 2003 season was an outstanding 31.2 percent. Dru Hall finished second in the conditioners race with 120 starts and record of 27-17-21, while Steve Duschka nailed down third place with a record of 20-18-17 from 101 starts.
Jockey Berkley Packer had his picture taken 84 times from 322 mounts to capture the riding title. He also had 55 seconds and 43 shows. His win percentage was 26.1 percent. Bob Webb rode 298 mounts and clicked for 51 wins, 52 seconds and 55 thirds. Jay Conklin rode this in the final standings with 45 scores from 145 tries. His win percentage was 31 percent.
Leading owners of the 2003 season went to Homer Thoroughbred, Inc. with a record of 11-11-9 from 57 starts, and Tawnja Elison, who raised plenty of eyebrows with a win percentage of 44 percent. That boils down to 11 victories from 25 starts.
Les Bois Park, with a new five-year horsemen agreement, is slated to hold its 2004 live season beginning the first week of May. Les Bois Park re-opens for full card simulcasting August 27 with wagering on thoroughbreds, quarter horses and greyhounds.
Highlight of the fall simulcast season at Les Bois Park is the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship Saturday October 25. As the curtain fell on the 2003 live horseracing season at Les Bois Park, plenty of smiles appeared when it was announced that $32,682 was raised for the Marta Loveland Benefit Fund.
"We are very pleased that we were able, with all our friends, raise that sum of money for Marta and her family," said Les Bois Park Chief Financial Officer Lanae Jones. "The entire benefit fundraising was a team effort."
The Marta Loveland Benefit Fund consisted of over 212 items donated for the silent auction, two race horses--Need A Shot and Yerevan Express--plus private donations. Among the cash donations, was $2,000 from a special make-up racing day admission deposit by Les Bois Park.
The live racing season at Les Bois Park concluded Sunday with six races from the Idaho Cup stakes day.