05/10/2005 11:00PM

Fairmount Park track report


At most tracks, if attendance spiked and live handle did not, an auditor might pull his hair out. Not so at Fairmount Park, where management is committed to drawing the younger generation to the races whether they bet or not. Fairmount's formula? Cheap liquor, hot wings, and rock and roll.

"When I started doing the marketing eight or nine years ago, our 50-plus age demos were really high," said Greg Smith, Fairmount's marketing director. "What I really wanted to do was lower the demographic. So we developed this whole concept of marketing the track as a sports venue rather than a gaming venue, and the whole idea was to go forward with cheap beer, cheap food, rock and roll. Now, we're getting younger people used to coming to the track and having it become a part of their lives with the liquor and food promotions."

One of the rites of spring at Fairmount - the inaugural appearance of the Coors girls on Horse Hooky Tuesdays - began this past week. While these bikini-clad vendors are a perennial, however, Fairmount is ratcheting up the track's collective blood-alcohol level via the recent unveiling of the Jack Daniels grandstand bar and a schedule of free Top of the Turf wine and liquor "tastings" every other Thursday or so. These tipples coincide with Fairmount's existing "Ultra Thursday" promotion one floor down in the Black Stallion Room, where patrons imbibe dollar beers while various local bands cover everything from Styx to Seger.

* Jockey Gilbert Concha broke his collarbone when his mount in Saturday's first race broke down shortly before the finish line. He is expected to be out of action for a month. The horse, North Creek Slew, was euthanized.