AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The kiosks were quiet and the betting windows were empty Friday afternoon inside the lower level of the race track where Saturday will be opening day of racing season at Austintown’s Hollywood Gaming.

On a nearby wall hung a photo of the first horses out of the gate of the first race on November 24, 2014.

“The Valley’s really received racing well. It’s a unique part of our business,” said Director of Marketing Kevin Brogan.

Brogan says Saturday will be the first day of racing since Sonny Leon, the winningest jockey last season at Hollywood Gaming, won the Kentucky Derby.

“First of all, I think it did a lot for the region. The national media came out to Youngstown, talked about a phenomenal story, celebrated what an accomplishment that was. All of a sudden, Hollywood Mahoning Valley was a track that bettors were starting to look at,” Brogan continued.

Sonny Leon has continued his success running in Florida. He’s not scheduled to race in Austintown, at least not yet.

“So it’s on the list. Things we’d love to have done and really give him that hero’s welcome back here,” said Brogan.

Saturday will mark the ninth opening day at Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Valley Race Course. There will be nine races, a couple more than normal. There will be food outside, things for the kids and then a free 5 p.m. concert featuring Pittsburgh country singer Michael Christopher.

Then they will race all winter, because winter racing is what this track is known for.

“We work really close with the racing commission, with horse owners to ensure that everything’s safe because that’s all we want. We want to have a really good product. We want to have a lot of fun. But it’s a winter sport for us. No doubt about it,” finished Brogan.

Post time on Saturday is at 12:15 p.m., but that’s just for the first day of racing. They will continue racing at Hollywood Gaming on Monday through Thursday and occasionally on a Saturday all the way through April 15.