10/14/2008 11:00PM

Hoosier awaits influx of casino money


Six weeks into the Hoosier Park meet, it still isn't clear how much the addition of a casino will help purses at the Anderson, Ind., track.

Hoosier used to receive purse supplements from the riverboat casinos in the state, but that arrangement has ended and revenue from the casino hasn't yet begun to supplement overnight purses.

"We are in the process of making the transition" said Butch Cook, the racing secretary at Hoosier Park. "We will have to see what the slots generate over a period of time and go from there. With the economy the way it is everywhere, we have to make sure the numbers are there before we make changes."

According the Cook, field size has ballooned this meet. "We have the highest field sizes we have ever had," he said. "We are averaging 9.6 horses a race now, which is almost full fields when you consider we only run 10 horses in a race, except for stakes."

The purses for all Indiana-bred stakes were increased to $100,000 this meet and the field sizes have increased for those stakes.

"Raising the Indiana Fund money has helped a lot," said Cook. "It is getting more people into the breeding end of it and also increasing the number of runners in those stakes."

The larger fields make it much easier on the racing office, unlike many tracks that have trouble filling races.

"It is great," Cook said. "We can usually draw by 11:15 to 11:30, and the people in the racing office can go by 12:30."