Ellis Park concluded its 93rd race meet Monday, Sept. 7 with healthy signs that bode well for its future. Live on-track handle increased 17.4 percent from $4.3 million last year to $5.0 million this season and the average starter per race grew 13.7 percent 7.3 in 2014 to 8.2 in 2015.
Contributing to the higher average field size was increased purses thanks in part to the success of Instant Racing. Handle on Instant Racing grew 33.6 percent from $5.7 million in 2014 to $7.6 million this year.
“It was a very good meet,” said Ellis Park owner Ron Geary. “It’s gratifying to see what we had hoped would happen when we installed Instant Racing coming true and we expect our purses will receive an even more substantial bump in 2016. We greatly appreciate the support we received from the Kentucky horsemen, which is evident by the average number of starters. We are already getting excited for next year’s meet.”
All-source handle increased over last year. Total all source handle was $33 million in 2015 vs. $30.5 million in 2014, an 8.2 percent increase.
The highlight of the 2015 season was Call Pat’s last to first victory in the $100,000 Groupie Doll Stakes (G3) Aug. 8, the first year the race, formerly called the Gardenia Stakes, was run in honor of the 2011 winner and Breeders’ Cup champion Groupie Doll. Call Pat is owned by Miller Racing LLC and trained by Brad Cox, who earned his first Ellis Park leading trainer title with 11 victories.
Jockey Didiel Osorio earned his first leading riding title with 24 wins, one year after a solid top-ten performance in his first meet since arriving in the States from his native Panama. The leading apprentice jockey of the meet was Sebastian Saez with 20 wins. There was a tie for leading owner between Allied Racing Stable (Chester Thomas) and Jack Frost.
The meet concluded with the $50,000 Cliff Guilliams Handicap won by Premier Stables Unlimited’s Key to Power. The A.P. Indy horse, trained by Brendan Walsh and ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., overcame a troubled trip to win by two lengths over One Touch. Evan’s Calling was third. Key to Power returned $9, $4.20 and $4 as the 7-2 third choice in the field of nine.