Fonner Files: What's Next For Fonner Park? - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Fonner Files: What’s Next For Fonner Park?

Fonner Park

Fonner Park CEO Chris Kotulak shares slices of life from the Grand Island, Neb., racetrack throughout the 2022 meet in the Fonner Files.

This winter, before, during and after the Nebraska legislative session, I've been very outspoken in my efforts to communicate the dire straits that the Nebraska horse racing industry has fallen into.

I'm full of optimism about the future, but in order to protect our Thoroughbred industry racing from bad decisions and reckless behavior, I've needed to blurt out some straight talk about an industry I'm entirely committed to.

Fonner Park had to pick up additional race days in 2022 that we did not plan on. I hoped to offer increased purses this year but couldn't. The hard fact is that there is never a day of mutuel handle at Fonner Park that covers our purses for that day. We get our purses paid over the long haul; over the course of a year.

I remain bent on increased purses and am working all angles to achieve that – whether we have slot reels spinning by our 2023 condition book or not. But there's never a dollar spent, earned or saved here at Fonner Park without the intention of the betterment of the horses or horsemen.

Nebraska HBPA president, Garald “Wally” Wolleson has demonstrated his passion too, and we've both faced some unforeseen twists and turns. Truthfully, without casino operations, it's a weak outlook. However, with the collaborative effort from every track in the state, we're back in the game – big time! Nebraska Thoroughbred racing, and our state agriculture industry that supports it, is at the gate of a worthwhile and genuine rebirth. Let's giddyup!

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