Ellis Meet Mixed, With Attendance Up and Wagering Down

(Edited track report)
Ellis Park concluded its 41-day race meet with increased attendance and slightly lower total wagering. The totals for the meet, which ended with a Labor Day program on Sept. 2, shohwed a 3.1% increase in on-track attendance and a 2.1% decline in on-track betting. Overall wagering declined 3.6%, when compared to the 2001 meet.

"We are excited by the support of our racing fans and pleased by the success of our efforts to bring people out to the racetrack," said Paul Kuerzi, vice president and general manager of Ellis Park, . "We were able to attract more patrons to the track for the fourth consecutive year despite excessive summer heat, a struggling stock market and economy and heightened competition for racehorses. However, these factors impacted wagering on our product."

Total attendance of 123,688 for the meet was up 3,680 from the 2001 attendance figure of 120,008. Average daily attendance was 3,017.

Total wagering for the Ellis Park meet, which includes on-track, whole-card and off-track wagering, fell to $120,897,602 compared to the 2001 total of $125,608,889. Total off-track wagering fell to $104,478,174, a decrease of 3.9% from the 2001 off-track total of $108,773,178.

On-track wagering, which included whole-card wagering by patrons at Ellis Park, totaled $15,936,288, down $346,869 from the 2001 total of $16,835,711.

Race purses paid in the meet totaled $7,883,098, an increase of 2.0% from the 2001 total of $7,730,375. Daily purses during the meet averaged $192,271. The average number of horses in each Ellis Park race declined from 9.03 in 2001 to 8.59 in the just-concluded meet. Veteran conditioner Bernard Flint earned his tenth Ellis Park training. Flint, who ended the meet with 26 wins, has won eight titles outright and tied for two more.

Jockey Jon Court earned his fifth consecutive riding crown with 69 wins, 32 more than runner-up Willie Martinez. With his latest title, Court now takes the lead in career riding titles at Ellis Park. Valerie Nagle was the meet's leading apprentice rider as she won 26 races. The stable of Richard, Bertram, and Elaine Klein – whose horses scored 11 wins – won the leading owner title.