09/04/2012 12:14PM

Ellis Park shows gains in handle and attendance for recent meet


Ellis Park ended its 29-day summer meet Monday with a nearly 13 percent increase in daily all-sources wagering over corresponding 2011 figures while showing a modest gain in ontrack business.

Officials at the Henderson, Ky., track reported Tuesday that all-sources handle averaged $1,425,838, while ontrack handle and attendance averaged $200,349 and 3,690, respectively, for increases of 6.5 and 2.5 percent. Field size averaged 8.4 horses per race, up from 8.1 last year. Track owner Ron Geary expressed disappointment with poor weather conditions on closing weekend, saying the numbers probably would have been even stronger otherwise.

This was something of a landmark summer for 90-year-old Ellis. On opening day, July 4, the track was not in direct competition with Churchill Downs, which had been the case in recent years. Nearly 200 Instant Racing machines were opened to the public late in the meet, and a possible sale of the track by Geary to interests from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., is reported to be in the works. Geary forecast that the Instant Racing revenues will lead to more race dates and higher purses for the 2013 meet.

On the racetrack, Corey Lanerie and Brian Hernandez Jr. finished in a dead heat for leading rider with 25 wins each, with Jon Court just another nose back in third with 24. There also was a tie for leading trainer between Tim Glyshaw and Mike Maker with 8 wins each, with Buff Bradley right behind them with 7. Jack Frost led all owners with 5 wins.