Lincoln Race Course

Wagers, mostly on simulcast races, totaled $68 million in Nebraska last year.

Pari-mutuel windows reopened Saturday at Ag Park, a week after the group that manages horse racing in Columbus expressed doubt about its future.

Columbus Exposition and Racing shut down operations at Ag Park on Sept. 6, posting a note on the door saying that simulcasting was suspended until further notice.

Operations resumed following a meeting last week among members of Columbus Exposition and Racing, the Platte County Agricultural Society and local business leaders, including Dennis Hirschbrunner, part owner of the Ramada Hotel and River's Edge Convention Center.

"We had a really good first meeting. It was pretty much an informational meeting, asking questions and trying to figure out where everything is," Hirschbrunner told the Columbus Telegram.

"I think the guys who have the license were looking to see what kind of support they had from the community. I think they went away yesterday with a clear understanding there wasn't anybody in the meeting who wanted horse racing to go away," Hirschbrunner said.

Ag Park General Manager Brian Palmer confirmed that the racing group was seeking to renegotiate its rental agreement with the Ag Society, the newspaper reported.

Columbus Exposition and Racing took over management of live racing and simulcast operations from the Ag Society in 2013.

This year's live racing meet in Columbus included 14 dates between Aug. 3 and Labor Day.

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Meanwhile, Adams County Exposition and Racing and the Adams County Ag Society are working together to bring simulcast wagering to the former Bernardo's Steak House near the fairgrounds in Hastings.

The Hastings Tribune reported plans to launch simulcast wagering once building renovations are complete, possibly in November.

Adams County Exposition and Racing has put on races one day a year at Fairplay Park since 2004, making it eligible for a license to allow betting on horse races simulcast from tracks across the country.

Last year, wagering on live races and races simulcast to the wagering facilities in Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island and Columbus totaled $67.9 million, the lowest total since simulcast wagering was added in Nebraska in the 1980s.


City editor

City editor for the Lincoln Journal Star.

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