Churchill Downs, Keeneland joint venture applies for standardbred racing dates
September 10, 2018 9:57 AM
by Robert Mann
The new joint venture between Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI’s) and Keeneland Association Inc. has now formally filed an application to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) requesting live standardbred racing dates at CDI’s old Louisville Downs racing venue located at Derby City Gaming (DCG) in Louisville for 2019 and beginning in 2020 at a proposed track in Christian County at Oak Grove.
The application is for a 10-day standardbred (harness) race meet in 2019 at CDI’s old Louisville Downs racing venue located at Derby City Gaming in Louisville. If approved, CDI and Keeneland say they will fund purses because there has been no prior pari-mutuel activity to generate purse revenue for this meet.
Key aspects of the Oak Grove project are a proposed historical racing machine facility featuring up to 1,500 terminals, a 125-room hotel with event center and food/beverage venues, a 1,200-person capacity grandstand and event space for indoor events, a 3,000-person capacity outdoor amphitheater and stage, and a state-of-the-art equestrian center including indoor and outdoor arenas.
Historical racing machines are slot machine-type devices that use previously run races to determine winning payoffs. A rapid expansion of such machines throughout the state has helped reinvigorate thoroughbred racing statewide by providing additional funds to bolster purses.
Oak Grove is in the southwest portion of the state near the Tennessee border, about an hour’s drive from Nashville, roughly ten miles farther away than the Kentucky Downs’ historical racing machine venue in Franklin, Ky. Kentucky Downs run an abbreviated (five days only), big-money, all-grass thoroughbred meeting in early September. It operates its historical racing gaming venue year round.