HENDERSON, Ky. (7/3/14) — Ellis Park was first constructed in Henderson in the early 1920’s and modeled after the famous Saratoga Race Track.
The park still runs a live Thoroughbred horse racing summer meet, in addition to year-round Instant Racing Machine action and simulcast races.
Located just North of the twin bridges in Henderson, Ellis Park Race Course begins opening weekend from July 3 to July 6, where visitors of all ages can join rings of exciting entertainment and delicious food.
“We are always excited about opening day,” said owner Ron Geary. “We have been waiting about 10 months, because our meet goes from July 3 to Sept. 1.”
Geary bought the park from Churchill Downs in September of 2006 and offers more than just horse racing.
“I bought this place eight years ago,” said Geary. “This is a place for fun. Sunday’s we have family day or ‘dollar day,’ where everyone brings the family to enjoy the outdoors.”
Geary said the Instant Racing Machines were added a couple years ago and doing really well.
“We are moving into our second year operating these,” said Geary. “It’s been doing great, it’s based from outcomes of official historical races across the country and we are up 67 percent last month over the prior year.”
Geary said there are some new things the park has added this year, that they didn’t have last year.
“About the second year after I bought the park, I added the camel and ostrich racing,” said Geary. “It’s something you can’t find much of in this country. So, this year, instead of camels and ostriches, we will be doing zebra and ostrich races.”
The zebras have been training for the last four years for the races.
“The zebras have been training with people who specialize in this,” said Geary. “They have done a tremendous job at making sure everything is safe.”
The park also holds a wiener dog race as well.
“We started the wiener dog races about six years ago,” said Geary. “We have two days of wiener dog trials and then we take the top eight dogs and then have a derby two weeks later. These are the first few weeks of our meet. So, anyone has a dog they want to enter, they would need to contact our marketing department as soon as possible.”
Geary encourages families from all around to come out and enjoy what the park has to offer.
Ellis Park is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight and Friday through Saturday from 11 to 2 a.m.For more information, visit http://www.ellisparkracing.com/ or call (812) 435-8905.
SurfKY Lead News Reporter
Photos by Shawn Freels and Michelle Hawkins
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