09/04/2008 11:00PM

Ellis Park handle declines


Ellis Park officials said they were pleased with business at the 39-day meet that ended Monday despite a slight decline in daily all-sources handle.

Handle averaged $2,002,042, down 3 percent from what the Henderson, Ky., track averaged during a 46-day meet in 2007. The track's owner, Ron Geary, noted that Ellis missed its first scheduled week of racing, including the July 4 holiday, because of an impasse between management and horsemen over account-wagering revenues. Also, the 2008 figures were compared with a 2007 meet that included a Claiming Crown program that drew a record one-day handle of $4.9 million.

The account-wagering handle averaged $173,688 per day, nearly double the 2007 average.

Daily ontrack attendance was up marginally, to 3,022 per day. That number was aided by what Ellis reported as its biggest turnout in 20 years, when 8,361 attended on Aug. 30 to watch camel and ostrich races as part of a Saturday program.

"In light of all we faced the first of July, I am perfectly content with the outcome of the Ellis Park 2008 live meet," said Geary.

On the track, Victor Lebron easily was the leading rider with 62 winners, while Kelly Ackerman won his first training title with 15 winners. The Circle S Ranch of Mari George was leading owner with 11 wins.