This past Sunday was Opening Day at Ellis Park, and while this is rarely a day I mark on my calendar, as someone who loves to follow the major Thoroughbred circuits, I was interested to watch these initial races for the year. This was especially true, given the increased purses that Kentucky put in place, as well as the competition that was set to go that day.
One 2-year-old MSW featured horses trained by such notables as Bill Mott, Ken McPeek, Brian Lynch, Steve Asmussen and Brad Cox. An earlier maiden race on the turf that was won by a Brad Cox-trained colt included a horse trained by Chad Brown. Brown has entries in other races at Ellis this week, so kudos to Ellis for attracting him and other top trainers.
Yet, watching these races was not what I expected, as Ellis ranks with the worst-looking–or certainly the most boring–Thoroughbred tracks in the country. The oval is just plain dull and if you combine that with a video stream that is not as sharp as Churchill, Keeneland, Santa Anita, Belmont, etc, etc, you've got a pretty dismal viewing experience.
A note to the people who manage Ellis Park: how about making just a little effort to beautify the place? Plant some flowers, build a pond or two in the infield, do some serious landscaping. Do something to make your facility seem like a major league race track.