NORTH RANDALL -- With last month's opening of a racino at Thistledown, the crowds came to check out the new slot-style gaming, and stayed.
Purses are growing on the racetrack, as part of the proceeds from the casino are put into the horses. Bigger, better races are already being seen at the North Randall track.
Rock Ohio Caesars invested $88 million into Thistledown, adding a restaurant, bars and entertainment space, plus 1,100 video lottery terminals (like digital slot machines).
"It's exciting. There are definitely more people," said Addison Lancaster, who has come to the track for thirty years.
A few miles away in Northfield Village, a similar transformation is underway at the harness horseracing track, Northfield Park.
Hard Rock is building a racino on the property, adding a restaurant, comedy club and video lottery terminals.
Racing fans are excited to see the energy and atmosphere at the track improve.
"It will bring the big purses back. Big horses back, which means there's going to be momre money in breeding and racing, and more tax dollars," said Dick Rounds.
Rounds' father used to harness race, but over the years, much of the competition has left for bigger purses in other states.
The Hard Rock Racino is set to open in late fall of 2013.
Northfield Park will celebrate the Kentucky Derby all day long Saturday, including deals on food and drinks.
A food truck festival will also be at the harness race track, plus live music and contests.
At Thistledown Racino in North Randall, guests can take part in a free handicapping seminar.
There will be promotions and drawings throughout the day, plus the sounds of a blue grass band in the afternoon.
A derby hat contest will also be part of the fun.