Record breaking crowds place Derby bets in Northeast Ohio
Saturday was a big day in the world of horse racing and an even bigger day for Northfield Park where a record breaking crowd turned out to place bets on the Derby.
"This is our best Derby Day ever, it's obviously our first Derby since the Rocksino opened, and it's only helped bring people in," exclaimed Dave Bianconi Vice President of Racing at Northfield.
"It's been more and more difficult for not only Northfield but all the tracks in Ohio in the last ten or so years," he continued.
However with the help of their new neighbor, the Hard Rock Rocksino which opened just a few months ago, the historic racetrack has seen a steady boost in business.
"Just since Mid-December when the Rocksino opened we've already increased our purses to horseman by at least about 60 percent," said Bianconi. "The betting on Northfield is up about 25-30 percent this winter despite the polar vortex."
Clair Umholtz has trained and taken care of horses at Northfield for more than 30 years.
"Fortunately now that we got the slot machines things are going very well for us," said Umholtz who is looking forward to racing his filly named Champaign Tonight later this summer.
"She was a really good two year old and she made over $200,000 as a three year old," Umholtz proudly shared.
Both old and new faces alike at Northfield say they hope to see continued success at the racetrack.
"This place needed a shot in the arm, is what it needed, and it got it, and I just hope it continues to roll," said Northfield regular Lenny Prorock.
"This is just very energetic here, there's just so much to do, and it's a good environment," added Kasha Januszewski.