Hoosier Park Reports Solid Handle, Attendance Gains
2012 Standardbred Meet Attracts New Fans and Shows Encouraging Signs of Growth
Anderson, Ind.; – July 24, 2012– Attendance and wagering at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino produced encouraging gains during the track’s 2012 Standardbred meet. The 80-day race meet concluded Saturday, July 14 and showed measureable improvement from 2011 as a result of new marketing efforts, facility enhancements and an increase in the overall quality of racing.
Hoosier Park’s 19th season of Standardbred racing saw a 6 percent increase in live on-track racing handle and a 10 percent increase in export handle, simulcasted to more than 500 race tracks and racing venues throughout the United States. Current and new racing fans frequented the track in larger numbers producing an on-track attendance increase of 19 percent. The progress is attributed to a renewed focus on showcasing an enhanced racing product and bringing fans back to the track for a multi-faceted entertainment experience. This year’s meet also saw a notable advancement in the quality of racing. Each race card featured fuller fields, averaging 9.4 betting interests per race, adding to the overall competition level in each event.
“During the off-season, we ardently focused on all facets of racing at Hoosier Park and how we could present live racing in the most effective and entertaining manner possible to both new and existing live and simulcast fans of all ages. By measure of our spring meet, these efforts are paying off,” stated Jim Brown, Hoosier Park’s president and COO. “Racing is a glorious sport. In addition to providing an enhanced experience to our core customers, we must continue our commitment of purpose to providing an improved overall entertainment experience to new and casual visitors. If we expect to create new loyal race fans and ask them to return to the track to experience the excitement of horse racing, these efforts will be fundamental to future successes.”
Weekends during the meet encouraged fans to enjoy live racing and numerous entertainment opportunities throughout the venue. Each weekend was highlighted by ‘Fan-tastic Fridays,’ a 14-race card night of racing featuring $1 customer specials including beer, hot dogs, wagers, and racing programs. Saturdays at the track, designated as ‘Family Fun Days,’ featured live entertainment, kid-friendly outdoor games and activities, winner’s circle giveaways, and dining specials. Each family-friendly Saturday was bolstered with a free fireworks show at the conclusion of the night’s race card.
Enhanced promotions, offered weekly, added to the fan experience throughout the meet. There was fun and excitement for both casual and serious racing fans, from the popular ‘I Win, You Win’ giveaway to the various fan-driver interactive promotions featuring Hoosier Park’s most popular drivers. New to the racing meet, Friday’s ‘Beat the Big Guy’ handicapping competition gave handicapper’s an opportunity to out-handicap Centaur Gaming chairman and CEO, Rod Ratcliff, for a chance to win up to $750.
Major racing events also highlighted the meet, including the annual NASCAR themed Thrillyard 200, featuring a car giveaway, and the charity-centric Hoosier Champions Night, complete with a $1 million-purse card. Both events, annually growing in popularity and attendance, were presented in cooperation with the Indiana Standardbred Association. Hoosier Park’s signature Standardbred event, the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational, spotlighted Indiana horse racing on a national level. The 19th installment of the featured event attracted Golden Receiver, the number one ranked horse in harness racing at the time.
“The Indiana Legislature and Indiana Horse Racing Commission should be commended for setting up a system focused on the quality, integrity and competitiveness of racing,” said Brian Elmore, Hoosier Park’s vice president and general manager of racing. “Hoosier Park, and by extension the Indiana horse racing industry, are now in a position to be competitive throughout the country.”
Hoosier Park’s commitment to improve the racing entertainment experience also featured a number of racing enhancements noticeable to on-track guests. Most prominent was the early 2012 installation of a new state-of-the-art infield tote board, standing at over 20 feet tall and extending 140 feet through the homestretch. Easy to read LED lighting, enhanced graphic displays, and a 16 by 27 foot jumbotron video screen offered spectators a birds-eye view of races. Between race activity and fan fun was also emphasized throughout the meet. In addition, live and simulcast races were televised throughout the casino at Hoosier Park with multiple betting stations available to guests.
During the meet, Hoosier Park’s Winner’s Circle Pub, Grille & OTB, located in downtown Indianapolis, launched a new and customer-convenient method to place race wagers through the FastBet Mobile wagering system. The first of its kind in Indiana and granted under a pilot program by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission, FastBet Mobile offers patrons wagering directly through their smartphone or mobile tablet devices.
“Hoosier Park’s renewed marketing efforts, combined with partnerships with horsemen organizations, community groups and new wagering platforms, made this meet one of our most exciting and successful to date,” noted Cliff Fraser, Hoosier Park’s race marketing manager. “Each night of racing was upbeat, energetic, and continually offered guests an entertainment experience typically found at major sporting venues.”
About Centaur Gaming and Hoosier Park Racing & Casino: Indianapolis-based, Centaur Gaming, owns and operates Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino was recently ranked as the Indianapolis Area’s Most Popular Attraction for the second year in a row by the Indianapolis Business Journal and holds multiple awards from industry publications for customer service, entertainment, gaming and dining. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, a fully integrated gaming and racing facility, features 2,000 of the latest slots and electronic table games and a 7/8 mile oval horse track offering live and simulcast Standardbred, Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing each year. Simulcast wagering is also offered year-round at the Winner’s Circle Pub, Grille & OTB in Indianapolis and two off-track betting properties located in Fort Wayne and Merrillville, Indiana.