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New image, lower takeout highlight Arapahoe Park Saturday opening

June 9, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Sean D. Beirne

Aurora, Colorado – A new name, lowered takeout rates, a new image and The Thrill You Can Bet On are just a few of the many changes as Arapahoe Park begins it 15th season of horse racing.

Arapahoe Park now falls under the umbrella corporate name of Mile High Racing & Entertainment. A new corporate logo depicts the image of a horse, a greyhound and the scenic Colorado Rocky Mountains, while each of the five individual property logos maintains their specific property name.

The meet marks the first horse meeting conducted under of new ownership BLB Investors, LLC. Takeout rates have been reduced to 18% win-place-show, 23% two horse exotics and 24% three or more horse exotics (previously 28% win-place-show and 30% exotics). A new child-friendly environment has been introduced. The Thrill You Can Bet On has been adopted corporate-wide as a commitment for the season.

“There are a lot of positives I am excited about but the reduction in takeout rate has to be the best,” said Bruce Seymore, Director of Racing Operations – Colorado. “This will keep people in the game and it’s good for the sport. We had the highest takeouts in the country last year and this, coupled with our field sizes should spark interest in our product throughout North America and for that matter the world.

“We have expanded our arcade for the children and will feature a Kid’s Combo Meal every race day. We have even added Horsefries to the menu, delicious fried sweet potatoes covered in parmesan seasoning. All children seventeen and under are admitted free.

“For our Hispanic Guests, we will offer our first Spanish Speaking Only Window. We have hired four new clerks fluent in Spanish to handle wagers during the 2006 season. The Spanish Speaking Only Window is located just outside the lower west grandstand, at the entrance to the apron.”

The promotional calendar (see below) is highlighted by the annual Father’s Day Giveway (June 18th), Super Sundays (beginning June 25th), a 4th of July race card and giveaway, the July 30th AQHA Day at the Races and the Labor Day Closing Weekend Fan Appreciation Day.

“Year in and year out, Father’s Day continues to be one of our top days,” said Seymore. “Dad’s get in for free, get a free gift and can take advantage of a reduced buffet. We started Super Sundays last year and they proved to be very successful, so we brought them back for another year.

“AQHA Day at the races also attracts a good crowd as we showcase the American Quarter Horse.” The Tuesday July 4th program is the only Tuesday the track races in 2006 and features the $25,000 Front Range Stakes. Labor Day weekend showcases the premier racing events at the oval including the $40,000 Gold Rush Futurity on September 4 and the $100,000 Mile High Futurity and $75,000 Mile High Derby on Saturday September 2.

In 2006 Arapahoe Park will heavily utilize direct mail.

“The first mailing went out earlier this month to 36,000 households in four counties,” said Seymore. “The offering is good for $25 in savings from admissions to programs to food and drink at both Arapahoe and Mile High Greyhound Park in the month of June. It even includes four free $2 bets on us to start the year.

“You will see us run ads in the local newspapers as well and they will all have coupons giving our guests added value. Our task is to first, get them in the facility and secondly, show them what a thrilling sport racing is.”

Earlier in the year, the track joined the NTRA (National Thoroughbred Racing Association and has begun running spots frequently on cable television in the Denver-metro area.

On the racing front, the Saturday Program features nine Thoroughbred races, including the $25,000 Inaugural for three-year-olds at the distance of 6 furlongs. The Inaugural drew a field of ten headlined by J. Lloyd Yother’s Corporal Tillman (3-1, morning line). The son of Chanate will make his tenth career start and his fourth of the 2006 campaign.
The Kevin Eikleberry trainee is the high money earner in the field with $48,982 to his credit. He has compiled a record of 2 wins, 3 seconds and a third in his nine starts but will make his first start at Arapahoe Park. The gelding is good form right now, coming off a second place finish in the restricted Arizona Derby at Turf Paradise on April 29. Corporal Tillman will be ridden by Ry Eikleberry, son of the trainer, on Saturday.

Sunday’s card begins with three Quarter Horse events, including the $15,000 Dash For Speed, a three-year-old and up event at 330 yards. A field of eight has been nominated for the Dash For Speed with entries to be taken on Thursday morning. The John Hammes trained You Betcha Can, a winner of $161,491 lifetime and a winner of 11 of 25 career starts headlines the nominee list.

The final six races on the Sunday program will be Thoroughbred races and feature the $25,000 Arapahoe Park Sprint. The sprint is for three-year-olds and up and is contested at the distance of 6 furlongs. Eleven head have been nominated to the Sprint including 2004 Colorado Futurity winner and 2005 Inaugural winner Cajun Pepper. The Jon Arnett trainee has four wins and a second place finish in five livetime starts at Arapahoe Park.

Arapahoe Park will conduct a thirty-nine (39) day race meet beginning on Saturday, June 10. Racing will be conducted on a three-day per week schedule (Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays) and the meet will conclude on Labor Day, September 4.
A special July 4th holiday card will be run on the Tuesday holiday. Post time for all racing days is set for 1:00 p.m. MT.

About BLB Investors, LLC
BLB Investors, LLC (“BLB”) is a Connecticut based company comprised of three partners; Kerzner International Limited (NYSE: KZL), Starwood Capital Group Global, LLC and Waterford Group, LLC. In July 2005, BLB acquired the U.S. holdings of Wembley USA, located in Rhode Island and Colorado; Lincoln Park Greyhound Park (Rhode Island), Arapahoe Park, Mile High Greyhound Park, Havana Park, Post Time Greyhound Park and Pueblo Greyhound Park (Colorado).

For more information contact Arapahoe Park at 303-690-2400 x266.

Events to Remember:

June 10 – Opening Day

June 18 – Fathers Day: Free admission for dads. The first 1,000 dads through the gates will receive an Arapahoe Park souvenir. A special lunch buffet will be featured.

July 4 holiday – Special Tuesday race card provided. The first 1,000 guests through the gates will receive an Arapahoe Park souvenir.

July 30 – AQHA Day: Children are invited to test ride a Quarter Horse. Guests will attend seminars about owning a horse, learning how to handicap races and taking tours of the stable area. Arapahoe Park will feature special guests, provide face painting for children, and offer special discounted prices on food, beverages and souvenirs.

Sept. 4, Labor Day – Fan Appreciation Day: Free general admission as well as discounted food and beverage prices. There will also be drawings for Arapahoe Park souvenirs.

Super Sundays – June 25, July 16, August 6, August 27 and September 3: Guests register for the chance to win $1,000 cash. Names are drawn from the daily registration. One race is chosen and a guest’s name is picked for every horse running in the race. Chosen guests are allowed to enter the paddock and talk with riders and trainers. Then, in the order the names are drawn, each guest makes their pick for who will win the race. The guest who picks the winner receives $1,000. This event is sponsored by the Colorado Horse Racing Association.