Is Horse Racing Dead? Ellis Park Opening Day 2017 Handle Rises Sharply

Press Release

Total betting on Saturday’s opening card at Ellis Park was $1,789,882 — up 62 percent over the $1,106,508 wagered on last year’s first day of racing. That breaks down to $232,276  bet on Ellis at Ellis (up 14 percent over 2016) and $1,557,715 bet off track on Ellis’ nine-race card (up 72 percent percent over last year’s $903,119). Another $300,993 was bet at Ellis on other racetracks, a number that does not show up in the all-sources total but which was up 10 percent, the track said.

“It was just a delightful and great day,” said track president Ron Geary. “We worked hard the whole year to get to this position. We launched a bunch of new things, the new video and tote board and a lot of interior improvements. We’re very excited. Obviously we got our purse money up, and that helps a lot. But I think our team executed quite well. We thought we’d have a good meet; this is certainly a good indicator. But we’ll see what happens in the next 30 race dates, see if it rains or anything like that.”

AGOS Claimer of the Week: Ben Battles for Win in Lexington, KY

Let’s Go Ben battled for the lead throughout, was headed in the final furlong but came back to win the opening race at Keeneland last Wednesday defeating $32,000 claimers. Let’s Go Ben has been named the agameofskill.com Claimer of the Week. The son of Songandaprayer covered the 6 furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.90 and returned $13.80 to his backers once his fifth career victory was official. Ridden by Julien Leparoux, the gelding has now finished in the money (top three finishers) in 11 of 24 lifetime races. The 7 year old is trained by Charles Lopresti and has earned $156,000 in his career. Marianna and Brandon Chase own Let’s Go Ben.

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