At the last Wyoming Downs event in Evanston, 2,500 people attended the Saturday race, and 3,000 went Sunday - and that only included gate figures, according to Evanston Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dawn Darby.
The horsemen and spectators returning after the short hiatus make a big difference to Evanston's economy.
The horsemen generally live in Evanston during the roughly eight-week summer racing season.
"They're spending money at our grocery stores and our feed and tack stores," Darby
said "They're getting gas.
They're shopping and eating at restaurants."
When Wyoming Downs was closed, the Evanston Chamber received 200 to 300 calls per year inquiring about whether live horse racing was still an option.
The interest has translated to the track, where Darby
estimated 85 percent of attendees were from out of town at the last event.
"When they come for the horse races, most of them do spend the night and go both days, Saturday and Sunday," Darby