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Ellis Park owner remains hopeful despite setback

28 April 2008

KENTUCKY -- As reported by the Evansville Courier Press: "Ron Geary has a strong track record as a businessman in the state of Kentucky.

"But when he decided to buy Ellis Park, taking his love of horse racing to a high-risk extreme, even some of his colleagues questioned his judgment.

"...His master plan was to reach the break-even point at the 87-year-old facility within his third year of ownership through marketing and sales and by streamlining operations. By then, he was confident he would have the go-ahead to build a casino complex adjacent to the property. The bill that Gov. Steve Beshear was supporting would have placed casinos at the five Kentucky race tracks, where 15 percent of the money could go into improving the purse funds.

"Geary said that would have allowed the state to regain its foothold as a thoroughbred racing mecca despite the gains being made by tracks in Pennsylvania, West Virginia. And soon, Indiana.

"...But now those plans, at best, are on hold.

"...Geary remains confident Ellis Park will move closer to attendance and revenue goals this summer, but he admits the outlook for the 2009 meet suddenly couldn't be worse..."

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