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COLLINSVILLE, Ill. – Monday marked the final live racing event of the 96th season at FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing. This year’s return after last season’s halt due to the pandemic gave the track a chance to parlay back into the public eye.

“It’s been awesome,” said President and General Manager Melissa Helton. “We started with restrictions when we opened up back on April 27, and we’ve just grown from there. June 11, we were cleared for 100% capacity. No restrictions on anything and the crowds have proven that that’s what they wanted to see and they came out and showed us.”

The drama that unfolds every 15 minutes was reason enough for a trek to the turf.

“It’s anyone’s game,” said Andrea Rimert of St. Peters. “It’s unpredictable and it’s lots of fun and exciting.”

“We don’t get to see horses living in suburbia,” said Gary Lombardo of Wildwood. So, to be out here and see them run in their natural home is a real hoot.”

Collinsville High School senior Willy Grieb completed his first season as the track’s official bugler and is slotted to return next season.

“Many memories, going up there before every race,” he said. “I loved playing St. Louis songs. ‘St. Louis Blues March’ and ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ was fun to play here. It’s nice to see the crowd react to them too.”

Monday’s capacity crowd proved that the track will be on solid ground when live racing returns next May.

“You know it’s the king of sports,” Helton said. “It’s old history. Everyone loves horse racing. Just hearing those horses come down the track, it’s amazing.”