08/08/2005 12:00AM

Handle drop hits Ellis purses


Ellis Park announced a 15-percent purse cut late Friday, citing lower-than-anticipated business levels.

Ellis Park's general manager, Paul Kuerzi, said substantial decreases in wagering handle are partly attributable to poor weather and lower field size during the first 20 of 41 days at the Henderson, Ky., track.

Heavy rain and inordinately hot weather plagued the first four weeks of the Ellis meet, which runs through Sept. 5. Moreover, despite having moved from a six-day race week to five days, field size has averaged 8.4 horses, only a marginal increase over last year.

Besides the reduction in overnight purses, the purses for two stakes have been lowered from $75,000 to $50,000: the Aug. 27 Governor's Handicap and Sept. 5 Tri-State Handicap.