OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Originally there were only two live racing dates requested for this year at Horsemen's Park, but with COVID-19 restrictions slowly being lifted, they're looking to take advantage of as many racing dates as possible.
"Kentucky Derby day is our biggest day of the year, not only for our wagering but our food and beverage sales. The month of May will be very important to us because the month of May last year, we were in very strict COVID-19 restrictions, so if the weather cooperates we are hoping May will help us get back on even ground,” said Mike Newlin, CEO of Horsemen’s Park.
The upcoming racing dates and being able to get back in the park has fans excited.
"This will be great for horseracing fans, that is why we are here today. With the expanded gambling it will improve horseracing here in Omaha and throughout the state. With Kentucky Derby around the corner, it will be a good time," said Steve Guardiola.
The total racing dates being requested is nine.
"We do have 63 acres here and live racing does take place outside so as far as COVID goes, we can spread people out and we can deal with whatever restrictions are in place at that time," said Newlin.
After being closed down entirely for two months and having limited guests, things are difficult.
A newly-passed amendment that allows casino gambling has Newlin excited for the future and to get back in the saddle.
"Our business has been struggling for years and had this not passed in November, it would have been a tough hall over the course of the next four or five years," said Newlin.
Horsemen's Park has 70% of its staff back at work and is hoping for 100% by May, the first weekend of live racing.