Pressure : 29.93 in
Dewpoint : 62.1 °
Wind : South
Crowds turn out for Fonner Park season opening
Sunny skies, temperatures in the mid-40's and a fast track makes Frday a perfect opening day for live racing at Fonner Park in Grand Island.
Fans, jockeys and horses were anxious for the track's 59th season, and Friday is the day.
The horses are ready to race at Fonner Park on the 2012 opening day. One of those horses is Gentry's Gold owned by Grand Island's own Alan Usher. Alan will have several horses here at the meeting and the former Grand Island Islander swimmer is just glad to be involved with horse racing here in his hometown.
"It's a great thrill. You know, for years and years grew up in Grand Island and around Fonner Park and all the people come to town for the live racing meet and to be here today with a horse running in the first rate is special," said Usher.
Gentry's Gold runs in this first race as the #8 horse but this race turns out to be a battle between the #2 horse Archie's Way whose the favorite and the #3 horse, Shot Gun Willie.
With jockey Mike Ziegler aboard, Shot Gun Willie opens up a two length lead and coasts to victory and pays $15 to win
"It's always good to get a win on opening day, but the very first race, I don't know if I've ever. I've been riding here since 1989 and I don't recall if I've ever won the first race of the meet or not. The two looked like he had a lot of speed but there's a lot of young horses who've only run two, three, four times and stuff and my horse he broke good and went right with the two and actually you know got a little ahead on him and come to me around the turn and I just asked him on the top of the lane and he had plenty to finish with and he run a real strong race for me," said Ziegler.
Eight more races ran at Fonner today. Expect a card of at least ten Saturday and probably Sunday as the 2012 season is underway at Fonner Park here in Grand Island.
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