Ellis Park has big plans for derby weekend - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Ellis Park has big plans for derby weekend

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In Louisville, it's Kentucky Derby Week. At Ellis Park, there are also plans for a big weekend of racing.

Officials at Ellis Park tells 14 News that the day of the Kentucky Derby is always their biggest event outside of live racing.  Some Tri-Staters say the event is an important tradition for many families.

"It's like the Fourth of July in May, just a lot of fun, " Jerry Tenbarge says. 

Tenbarge, and his son Ron, have been enjoying Ellis Park together for years.

"It started when we were kids. Mom and dad brought us over here a lot," Ron Tenbarge says.

The Tenbarges says they've been to the Kentucky Derby in Louisville many times, but they say for those who will be staying in the Tri-State derby weekend, Ellis Park will be the place to be.

"The pagentry and the color and the excitement, especially if your horse is winning," Ron says.

Ellis Park's Director of Operations Robert Jackson tells 14 News that he expects about 1,500 people to gather at Ellis on Friday for the Kentucky Oaks.

"A lot of people come out on Friday and just make their bets, the advanced wager Friday for Saturday," Jackson says.

Jackson says he expects a crowd of 5,000 for derby events on Saturday. He says every year, Ellis Park shows the races on their jumbo-tron screen on the track and takes reservations for meals.  

"It's a big, cheerful atmosphere here," Jackson says.

Whether enjoying the derby in Louisville or here at home, those 14 News have spoken with are just excited for the weekend to arrive.

"It just pulls everybody together. It's really a family atmosphere," says Tom West, who enjoys Ellis Park events. 

Jackson says Ellis Park is also excited for their live racing season which kicks off on the Fourth of July. He says plans for the season's events are in the works with some returning favorites, like camel and ostrich races.

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