UPDATE: Possibility became reality, as weeks of speculation about Ellis Park 2009 meet came to a head today. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved a 23-day season. It could spell big problems for a Henderson economy that counts on a boost during the meet. Track owner Ron Geary said the seasonal workers at ellis are going to see cutbacks to the number of days of work theyll get this summer. But, a half-season at Ellis will have an economic impact that will ripple far beyond the race track, the back side and the grand stands. The Audobon Tobacco Mart sits just across the Twin Bridges from Ellis Park. Shane Kolle said it is an easy place for smokers to stop before a day at the track. "We usually see a small increase in business as Ellis Park opens up for cigarettes and cigars and stuff. Its a real shame that theyll only be open 20 days," said Kolle. And, Henderson Chamber of Commerce President Brad Schneider said this is hardly the only business that will take a hit - a hit that could total tens of millions of dollars. "Thirty to 35 million dollars this summer, because the live meet - when you count both the money spent by Ellis Park, the amount of money that is paid to people who work there and all the money thats associated with the thoroughbred folks that spend their summer at Ellis Park is somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 to 70 million dolars," Schneider said. "Thats the economic impact Ellis Park has on the Tri-State." A 30 to 35 million-dollar hit is just speculative. Half the season may not mean half the economic impact. And, Schneider adds, unfortunately, theres little businesses can do to make up the difference this year. "Theres not much you can do to force a business to spend money it wont have or doesnt have," he said. "Ron is making some very difficult choices. And, I admire the fact that hes even trying to have a meet this year considering all that hes up against." Admirable or not, theres no denying this is a tough situation for all involved. If someone works in Henderson and spends money in Henderson, thats just the same money going around and around in the local economy. So, its the money coming with people from far away into Kentucky to visit Ellis Park - thats the money thats really important to local businesses. "There are quite a few people that come from all over, from across the country to visit Ellis Park sometimes," said Kolle. Kolle said his shop really doesnt need this news considering the effect the recent jump in the cigarette tax might have. And, schneider said the Chamber of Commerce will be pushing very hard for the legislature to take up and pass an alternative gaming bill during a potential special session this summer. This summers live meet will be 23 days when it starts July 11th. Thats down from 48 days last year.