07/16/2008 12:00AM

Handle up at Lincoln State Fair meet


Lincoln State Fair closed out its season last Sunday with handle gains across the board on its live racing, bucking a nationwide downward trend.

“Nebraska racing is showing signs of a comeback,” said Mike Newlin, finishing his first year as director of racing at Lincoln. “With the increases that Fonner and State Fair Park have shown with our live meets this year, I think Nebraskans are proving that they still love racing and that if we put on a good show at an economical price they will return.”

Both the 2007 meet and this year’s season were scheduled for 37 days and were forced to cancel one card.

Ontrack attendance was 84,875 this year, up 18 percent over a year ago. Ontrack handle on the live racing increased 9.7 percent, from $1,944,782 in 2007 to $2,134,332 this year. Simulcast wagering on Lincoln’s live product was up 9.2 percent at $1,377,405 this year compared to $1,261,268 last year.

On the track, trainer David Anderson collected his seventh straight title with 30 wins. Marv Johnson and Kim Veerhusen finished in a tie for second at 16 wins each. Yuri Yaranga won his second riding title at Lincoln with a 53-41 advantage over apprentice Chris Fackler. Yaranga also won the title in 2006.

* Beth Butler appears to have escaped serious injury following a bad spill in last Sunday’s third race. Butler was aboard Here Comes Harley, who was tiring in stretch when he broke down and threw Butler over his head. She was apparently knocked unconscious by the impact. Butler was transported to BryanLGH Medical Center, where she was treated for a concussion. She was expected to get a medical release and resume riding at Horsemen’s Park on Thursday.