Races coming to Ellis Park potentially good for the local economy

More races at Ellis Park good news for local economy
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 7:29 PM CDT
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HENDERSON, Ky. - After 12 horses died in a short span over at Churchill Downs, the horse racing powerhouse has shifted the remainder of its Spring Meet to Ellis Park.

[READ: Trainers and Tri-State natives react to unprecedented Churchill Downs move]

Now, the transition falls on Ellis Park and local officials here in Henderson and Evansville.

With the races coming to town, so will the people.

It’s something Visit Evansville President and CEO Alexis Berggren says they’re preparing for.

On such short notice, she knows it can be stressful, but they’re choosing to look at it as an opportunity.

“Right now, it’s just a lot of strategizing around, making sure that the hotels have as much information as we can provide to them, making sure that we’re putting that collateral together that we talked about so we can circulate that to the folks who are coming,” explains Berggren, “again, it kind of changes the focus and pace of your day, but that’s why we do what we do. Never a dull moment!”

When the news came down about the shift in venue, she and her team got to work.

“We know that they’re already making the calls. We know they’re already making the reservations,” says Berggren.

Berggren says over at Visit Evansville, they’re looking for the people to start arriving on Wednesday.

“A lot of the accommodations are offering discounts for folks that are with the horse racing commission which is really tremendous. I can’t speak for Henderson hotels. I’m sure they’ve seen a similar pickup, but certainly on this side, we know that they’re already making plans to be here,” says Berggren.

Berggren says Tuesday afternoon, Visit Evansville will be meeting with race officials to get a better grasp on what the first weekend and subsequent month is going to look like, especially on a local economic level.