Ellis Park fans gear up for the Kentucky Derby


HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – It’s known as the most exciting two minutes in sports. And also for those mint juleps, and those hats. It’s appeal extends all the way to Ellis Park.

“We’ve had about $100,000 in wagers right now, not very surprisingly, Essential Quality is leading that betting at this time,” Jeff Inman, Corporate General Manager of Ellis Park.

Inman says that’s a record level of betting at the Henderson County track.

But there is another reason fans here are paying close attention to a trainer at Churchill when the gates open. Brad Cox is the trainer of the odds on favorite ‘Essential Quality’. He has trained horses at Ellis.

“Brad Cox is a well known name around here. I will add that, although it’s a bit of a long shot, Midnight Bourbon had their maiden here as well. And so there’s another local favorite. And again, some a lot of betting on those few horses,” Inman added.

“I really do think it’s wide open. I personally, I don’t think the favorite will win,” said Mike Utley.

But it’s not just betting on a winning horse that will bring fans to Ellis.

“We want to make money. But for us, it’s just to have a good time and camaraderie for everybody to to play this horse so that we have and enjoy. That’s what we’re here for,” said Jeff Klein.

It’s a great tradition for many who’ve been coming to the park for decades.

“We’ve been picking up tickets over here since was probably five or six-years-old. I mean, we’ve been Ellis Park fans forever,” said Randy Sellars.

(This story was originally published on April 30, 2021)

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