Wyoming Downs ends richest season
Evanston – The Wyoming Downs closed its 20-day, 2023 race season on Aug. 6 with the richest horse race in Wyoming history.
The $200,000 plus Wyoming Quarter Horse Futurity, won by Pappas Fame, captured the winnings for owners Andra and Eddie Jensen before a crowd of approximately 2,800 fans. Closing day’s handle was the highest since the mid-80s at $180,000.
Marking another Wyoming state record, the 2023 Wyoming Downs purses came in for a historic high of $1.7 million, with horsemen from approximately six states competing for the winnings.
“It’s hard to beat a quadruple threat like we had this year – the richest race, the highest seasonal purse, the largest crowd and then a closing day with Wyoming’s highest handle in nearly 40 years,” said Frank Lamb, Wyoming Downs director of government affairs.
Track Owner Eric Nelson predicts another record-breaking year next year with 2024 purses at over $2 million.
“Things keep getting better and better for horsemen and fans,” said Nelson. “Over these past years, we’ve increased both the purse size and upped our season’s length. We’ve also eliminated the need for lines by adding a ticket buying options online and by offering our FastBet Mobile phone app option for betting.”
Under Public Relations Director Judy Horton, Wyoming Downs hosted 20 special events throughout the season.
Among the many popular events were Native American Heritage Day, Ladies Day, Wyoming Downs Spirits and Brew Fest, Wyoming Downs Car Show, Special Olympics Wyoming and Wyoming Families of Hands and Voices Day, Kids Stick Horse Races, Wyoming Hunger Initiative and Pink Out Day, which celebrates cancer survivors with the annual “Raysha’s Race.”
This year marks the 11th consecutive race season since Nelson repurchased Wyoming Downs and began racing in 2013. With this purchase, a regional resurgence of live racing began, along with all industries related to racing.
After the races, Wyoming Downs invited those over the age of 18 to its off-track betting (OTB) facility in Evanston, one of 17 OTB locations throughout the state in Evanston, Casper, Cheyenne, Evansville, Gillette, Green River, Laramie, Mills, Sheridan, Rock Springs and Thermopolis.