2014 pari-mutuel horse racing starts off with a bang

Coming out of the gates to open the 2014 live pari-mutuel horse racing season at the Gillespie County Fair Grounds was this field of horses on Friday afternoon. The July Fourth Racing Fes-tival sponsored by the Gil-lespie County Fair and Fes-tivals Association on Friday and Saturday at the Class III track drew 4,653 people who wagered a total of $335,975 on 23 races. The payout to bettors was $263,405. Three more race weekends remain on the schedule, including July 19-20, Aug. 9-10 and Aug. 23-24 as part of the 126th Gil-lespie County Fair (Aug. 21-24). — Standard-Radio Post/Yvonne Hartmann

Officials with the Gillespie County Fair and Festivals Association are calling the opening weekend of the 2014 live pari-mutuel racing season a “good start.”

The July Fourth Racing Festival on Friday and Saturday at the Gillespie County Fair Grounds drew “good crowds” to the Class III track.

A total of 4,653 fans wagered $335,975 over the two days on 23 races. The total payout to bettors was $263,405.

That number includes 2,450 fans on Friday who wagered $143,327 on 11 races and 2,203 fans on Saturday who wagered $192,648 on 12 races. The payout on Friday was $112,410 while the payout on Saturday was $150,995.

In 2013, a total of 4,393 fans wagered $307,474 on 22 races during the July Fourth Racing Festival on July 6-7. The payout was $240,158.

“It was a successful race meet and a good start to the race season,” said Robert Henry Sagebiel, a fair association director who is serving as general manager of the track this season.

He said that there were the “usual first weekend glitches,” but all-in-all, everything went “pretty smooth.”

Lee DeLong, another fair association director and mutuels manager, said, “We know people had to wait in line. It was the first weekend with new systems, computers and people.” And, he said, everyone seemed to arrive at the fair grounds at the same time after the parade.

Sagebiel said that tying in racing with Scholarship Fest on Saturday night seemed to give the fans more to enjoy. 

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