Sunday, Aug. 13, is our biggest day, with the Grade 3, $100,000 Groupie Doll for fillies and mares at a mile — Ellis Park’s only graded stakes. Also that day is the $50,000 Cliff Guilliams on turf, named for the late Evansville sports-writer, race-chart caller and racing publicist. Please let me know if you plan to be at Ellis Park for Groupie Doll Day, and if you need a work area and internet – or if you might be covering remotely and have any needs, such as photos ASAP. Just give me a shout at email@example.com or 502-387-0300. Hope to see you there! Jennie Rees, EP publicity
Thursday – Entries taken for Groupie Doll and Cliff Guilliams. I am planning to send out video with racing secretary Dan Bork talking about the Groupie Doll.
Friday — First post 12:50 p.m. If you want to do a story in advance of the Groupie Doll, jockeys Corey Lanerie, Jon Court, Calvin Borel, Brian Hernandez Jr., Joe Rocco Jr., Shaun Bridgmohan and James Graham are all riding Friday at Ellis and are among those with mounts in Sunday’s stakes. I’ll plan on having video of at least a couple of jockeys talking about their mounts to send out.
Saturday — Three-time Kentucky Derby winner and Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel is this week’s featured jockey at Making of a Racehorse: Let’s Get Started, Ellis Park’s family-friendly program that allows fans to see what goes on in the morning to get the horses ready to run in the afternoon. Starts at the starting gate positioned for morning schooling in the mile chute leading into the first turn, with public parking right by the gate in the south end of the parking lot nearest the river. Starter Scott Jordan explains what his crew is doing with horses coming to the gate, and kids of all ages can get in the gate when it’s not otherwise occupied with horses.
After 45 minutes or an hour, we move onto the backstretch. We’re still working on finalizing our destination. Quite possibly Barn 37 where kids can have a supervised spin around the barn on trainer Chris Davis’ pony. Program is collaboration between Ellis Park and its horsemen’s association, the Kentucky HBPA.
The two heats of Wiener Dog qualifiers go off at about 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Central. These are among our most popular events of the season and make great visuals. The top two finishers in each of the four qualifiers (there were two last Saturday) advance to the Aug. 26 Wiener Dog Derby. I’ll be sending out video as with last week.
Jockeys Jon Court, Calvin Borel, Brian Hernandez Jr., Joe Rocco Jr. and Shaun Bridgmohan are all riding Saturday at Ellis and are among those with mounts in Sunday’s stakes. (Lanerie and Graham are riding at Arlington Park Saturday).
Sunday — Groupie Doll Day. Our signature race of the meet. First post: 12:50 p.m. Central. Groupie Doll is expected to be the eighth race, with approximate post time of 4 p.m. Central. Ellis Park is honoring our local elected officials as a tribute to the late Fred Bradley, the co-owner and breeder of Groupie Doll who served many years in the Kentucky State Senate and who grew up in nearby Providence. Groupie Doll glasses to the first 500 fans.
It will be determined Thursday morning which race the Guilliams will be.