Opening day of the Hollywood Gaming circuit this Saturday

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Booths were quiet and betting windows were empty Friday afternoon inside the lower level of the racetrack where Saturday will be the opening day of the racing season at Hollywood Gaming from Austintown.

On a nearby wall hung a photo of the first horses out of the gate of the first race on November 24, 2014.

“The valley has really welcomed the races. It’s a unique part of our business,” said Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Brogan.

Brogan says Saturday will be the first day of racing since Sonny Leon, Hollywood Gaming‘s top-earning jockey last season, won the Kentucky Derby.

“First of all, I think it has done a lot for the region. National media came to Youngstown, talked about a phenomenal story, celebrated what an accomplishment it was. All of a sudden, Hollywood Mahoning Valley was a track bettors were starting to watch,” Brogan continued.

Sonny Leon continued his success by racing in Florida. There are no plans to race in Austintown, at least not yet.

“So it’s on the list. Things that we wish we had done and really welcome him as a hero here,” Brogan said.

Saturday will mark the ninth opening day of the Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Valley Race Course. There will be nine races, two more than normal. There will be food outside, stuff for the kids, and then a free concert at 5 p.m. featuring Pittsburgh country singer Michael Christopher.

Then they’ll race all winter, because winter racing is what this track is known for.

“We work very closely with the racing commission, with the horse owners to make sure everything is safe because that’s all we want. We want to have a very good product. We want to have a lot of fun. But it’s a winter sport for us. No doubt about it,” Brogan concluded.

Start time on Saturday is 12:15 p.m., but that’s only for the first day of racing. They will continue to run at Hollywood Gaming Monday through Thursday and occasionally on a Saturday until April 15.

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