Flooding forces Ellis to cancel July 4 card
Clubhouse remains open for simulcasting, Instant Racing
For immediate release
HENDERSON, Ky. (July 4, 2016) – Ellis Park canceled its July 4 card Monday be-cause of flooding on the track and the grandstand’s outdoor areas caused by deluges of rain overnight and in the morning.
The track’s clubhouse remains open Monday for simulcasting from across the country, as well as its Instant Racing gaming.
Ellis owner Ron Geary said the track will work to add the Thursday before Labor Day, Sept. 1, as a make-up day for the cancellation. The meet concludes on Labor Day, Sept. 5.
“We’re going to do everything possible to get additional racing in light of this storm,” Geary said. “We hope our customers aren’t upset with us, but it’s an easy call from a safety perspective.”
As he discussed the track situation with racing secretary Dan Bork and steward Butch Becraft, long-time Ellis track superintendent Glenn Thompson said shortly after 9 a.m. CT that he would need about 75 minutes to get the track in shape once the rain stopped.
“If it lets up, I can float” the track, Thompson said, referring to the machinery that gets water off the surface, akin to a massive squeegee. “If it keeps on pouring down, right now I’ll make it worse to try to work on it.
“At 4 a.m., I had it all looking really good,” said Thompson, who had been working around the clock since 2:30 Sunday morning to try to thwart the inclement weather. “And here it came – again…. It’s rained hard down here before, but I’ve never seen anything like this.”
With the National Weather Service calling for an 80-percent chance of heavy rain, along with flash-flood advisories, the decision was made to cancel.
“The drainage system was completely overwhelmed and couldn’t keep up with the large amount of rain we received in the last 12 hours,” Bork said. “The picnic areas and the beer garden were underwater as well.”
The Ellis Park Independence Day Smackdown, an all-star handicapping panel squaring off for charity, will be rescheduled for Saturday, said track photographer Kurtis Coady, the event sponsor.