Thistledown's 2002 live season suffered declines in both handle and on-track attendance figures from 2001. Overall daily attendance for the Ohio track in 2002 was 642,918, down 5.3% from the 678,876 that frequented Thistledown in 2001.On-track handle declined 13.7%. The total live handle in 2002 was $28,863,799 compared to $33,455,046 bet in 2001. The out-of-state handle bet on Thistledown also fell in 2002, from $98,586,757 in 2001 to $88,034,042 wagered in 2002, a decrease of 10.7%.
Thistledown concluded its 2002 live racing season Dec. 23.Year-end honors went to leading trainers Gary Johnson and Andrew Konkoly, both with 57 winners. Michael Rowland, who although sidelined since the end of November with a broken leg, collected 145 wins out of 744 trips to the starting gate to capture the top rider award.