Grand Island Horse Track Receives Worldwide Attention During Pandemic

May 26, 2020, 12:29 p.m. ·

Chris Kotulak, CEO of Fonner Park, wears a mask at the track facility. Masks are required to be worn by all horsemen and workers at the track. (Photo courtesy of Chris Kotulak)

Up until last week, Fonner Park in Grand Island was one of only six racetracks conducting horse-racing in the country. CEO Chris Kotulak said the track has received attention from all over the world, even though spectators are currently not allowed in the facility.

“Many more eyes were were on our tiny little racetrack then would have ever been previously,” Kotulak said.

He believes some of the increased interest might stem from the fact that people have had very few options to watch any live sports.

“Fonner Park became a major racetrack in the world. We had people start betting on us from England, from Ireland, from France, from South America, Santiago, Chile, to South Africa,” Kotulak said.

Wednesday will mark the last day of the track’s live racing in 2020, and Kotulak said the extra attention helped the racetrack survive lost revenue from the pandemic. There are now currently around a dozen racetracks open countrywide.