KENTUCKY (WEHT)- A historic day of racing at Ellis Park. For the first time in their 98 year history, Ellis park hosted a qualifying race for the Kentucky Derby. The Derby is set to take place on September 5th.
“Usually because of the way things fall we don’t get a chance to do a Kentucky Derby qualifier,” Jeff Inman the general manager for Ellis Park explains. He says the excitement has been hard to contain. Especially since they expect their bottom line to look appealing also, “revenue of more than double what a normal day would bring in and we’re expecting our all-time record revenue for the day.”
Red seats are usually packed on race day. But this time around. All empty in general admission. But Inman explains the coronavirus pandemic cut the guest list short, “we’re kind of limited this year as far as a crowd. “
Not only are there some empty seats, masks as far as the eye can see and signs reminding people to social distance. At the door, people were asked for a little personal information.
“Just a name and telephone number so if we do have a problem today they can get a hold of everybody,” Phillip Gilson
Understanding why it’s necessary, “like I told the lady when I checked in I hope you don’t call me,” Gilson continues.
“And we’re glad that you’re here to take care of us,” Melanie Gilson adds.
But none of that stopped fans from putting on their derby hats and being apart of the history, “we have gone to the derby together often on for the last 20 years and for this track to have a derby prep race is just incredible,” Gilson says.
Fans are just happy to be apart of this unique race day at Ellis and excited for the real thing in September
“It’s a great day at Ellis Park. That’s all I can say. And the Kentucky Derby is going to be great this year no question about it,” JP Morgan says.