As the 94th season at Fairmount Park arrives, track president Brian Zander wants to be confident.
The park, in Collinsville, opens Tuesday at 1 p.m. and will run through Sept. 14 with a Tuesday and Saturday schedule. Zander has no reason to believe that will change.
An unsuccessful battle to bring slot machines and video gaming to Illinois race tracks continues to make the future tenuous. But Zander, who has been on the job since 1986, has been through this for more years than he’d like to remember. […]
Trips to Springfield, Ill., to work on legislative efforts that could boost the track are now routine. Fairmount continues to offer live simulcasts and wagering on races at other tracks to generate more revenue.
And the track will continue to offer the usual promotions that have been successful, with Tuesday “Horse Hookie” and Saturday “Party in the Park.”
“From that standpoint we’re doing great,” Zander said. “But we’re competing with other tracks in other states that have slots and gaming, and we simply lack that in terms of generating money for purses. That’s what horse owners have to be driven toward. We’re running behind and need to catch up.”
* The Question: When was the last time you were at a horse racing track and, if you’ve been to one, how was the experience?