Omaha horse racing returns after the casino’s decision

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – It’s been over a year since we saw this. Live horse racing in Omaha has returned tonight.

Horsemen’s Park canceled live races a year ago when the pandemic started. Months later, the Nebraskans voted to expand gambling and move casinos to six horse racing tracks, including Horsemen’s Park.

Avid fans say they waited 365 long days for the familiar feeling of piling up against a fence to watch the fastest horse cross the finish line.

“Last year it was kind of a mistake not to have it. But I’m so happy to have it back and to get the atmosphere back, ”said Sivana Witt, a horse racing spectator.

Live days are at the heart of the Nebraska Horsemen’s Park event, but the Executive VP is reminding fans that there’s more on the menu this year.

“You can bet on simulcast signals all over the country. We have the Budweiser Clydesdale again this year and for the first time we are racing in Corgy, ”said Lynne McNally, Executive VP of Nebraska Horsemen.

It’s an adrenaline rush for spectators and jockeys alike.

“It’s the funnest job in the world I think.”

The races run every weekend until June 5th, but when it’s over the company is betting on another big win.

“We really hope we have good news on Monday afternoon,” said Lynne.

This good news would mean that WarHorse Casino could break ground in Omaha. A final reading is scheduled on Monday for LB561 in the Nebraska Legislature.

When passed, it fulfills the wishes of the electorate and sets up the gaming commission necessary for the operation of the casinos.

“We’re dead in the water if 561 doesn’t happen,” Lynne said.

Extensive plans for this $ 200 million project have been in the works for years. There would be 500 jobs and an advertised economic upswing.

For horse racing enthusiasts like Sivana Witt, who have enjoyed the sport their entire lives, a neighboring casino will enhance the experience.

“I think it’s going to bring so much more, just for bigger purses, bigger horse fields. I think it’s going to be great for racing in Nebraska, ”said Sivana.

Governor Ricketts has raised concerns that Senators might add keno. He warned them in March, which voters did not approve.

It is not clear if he will sign it with keno which is included on the bill.

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