A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Christmas arrives early as TwinSpires player turns 20 cents into $300K at Churchill Downs on Thanksgiving

Christmas arrived early for one lucky TwinSpires customer who turned 20 cents into a whopping $328,146 playing the races at Churchill Downs on Thanksgiving. The player’s good fortune came from hitting the Pick 6, a bet type that requires the horseplayer to correctly pick the winner of six successive races. The TwinSpires horseplayer spent a total of $2 on Pick 6 tickets, and as luck would have it,...

Ellis Park asks Horse Racing Commission to delay opening to July 2 to ensure health protocols are met

Pending approval by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, live horse racing will return to Ellis Park in Henderson on Thursday, July 2. Originally scheduled for Sunday, June 28, Ellis made the request to move the date four days to ensure all health and safety protocols are met following the COVID-19 pandemic. The summer meet will be highlighted by a pair of stakes-laden programs on Aug. 2 and 9. Ellis...

Keeneland wraps fall meet Saturday with increase in average attendance, record for all-sources wagering

Keeneland closed its 2019 Fall Meet Saturday with increases in on-track attendance and record all-sources wagering. “We remain humbled by the depth of support from our fans, our horsemen and our sponsors,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “The combination this fall of lovely weather and community engagement through events such as Make-A-Wish Day and Heroes Day helped to showcase...

Sen. Thayer is at Royal Ascot, but remains focused on legalization of sports wagering in Kentucky

By Mark Hansel NKyTribune managing editor Kentucky Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, was enjoying the pageantry of the Royal Ascot horse racing meet in England this week, but his mind (or at least part of it) was on sports wagering in the Commonwealth. Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown (left), talks with the Television Games Network at Royal Ascot Thursday about the prospects for sports wagering in Kentucky....

Winchell, Falcone finalize purchase of Kentucky Downs racetrack; terms of sale remain private

Ron Winchell and Marc Falcone officially are the new owners and managing partners in Kentucky Downs, finalizing the purchase of the racetrack and year-round entertainment center from the investment group that purchased the facility in 2007. Winchell and Falcone bought Kentucky Downs’ assets through their new company, Kentucky Racing Acquisition LLC. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. “Kentucky...

Central Bank Thursday Night Live at Keeneland highlights Spring Meet opening day on April 4

Keeneland kicks off its 2019 Spring Meet on April 4 with a community-wide celebration headlined by an afternoon of racing starting at 3 p.m., followed by the popular Central Bank Thursday Night Live, to be held in the track’s scenic Paddock area. “Keeneland is an iconic gathering place for the community – it’s a rite of spring,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “Hosting Central...

Turfway Park’s 48th running of Jeff Ruby Steaks draws 151 nominations for event on March 9

The 48th running of the $200,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park has drawn 151 nominations, Turfway Park racing secretary Tyler Picklesimer announced Tuesday. The 1 1/8 mile race for 3-year-olds is scheduled for March 9 and offers 34 points toward the Kentucky Derby: 20 to the winner, eight to the runner-up, four for third place and two for fourth place. “Scheduling the race a week or two earlier...

Kentucky to test new lottery game — ‘Win Place Show’ — based on horse racing results

The Kentucky Lottery Corporation’s board of directors has approved a trial introduction of “Win Place Show,” a lottery game based on the results of live horse racing. The board has approved a pilot test beginning March 24, 2019. The pilot will consist of the game being offered in limited release at approximately 45 stores in the Louisville, Lexington and Northern Kentucky regions, and is expected...

Keeneland announces record $5.575 million stakes schedule, new Breeders’ Cup Challenge race

Keeneland will award $5.575 million in stakes purses for its 17-day Fall Meet to be held Oct. 5-27. It will mark a record for a season without the Breeders’ Cup World Championships while offering Shadwell Farm’s 20th year of sponsorship of the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1); the addition of the $200,000 Indian Summer as the season’s 10th Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In”...

Keeneland to celebrate Kentucky Oaks, Kentucky Derby days with family-friendly activities

Keeneland invites fans to watch and wager on Friday’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) while enjoying a variety of family-friendly activities and accommodations ranging from a casual picnic in the Paddock to Grandstand seating to tailgating on The Hill. On Oaks and Derby Days, fans may picnic at no charge in the Paddock and Walking Ring and view...

Kentucky by Heart: Former EKU sports information director Karl Park finds new outlet in horse racing

If you live anywhere in the Richmond area or have been a keen observer of college sports in Kentucky for several decades, the name Karl Park is probably familiar. As Eastern Kentucky University’s sports information director from 1970 until he retired from that role in 2004, his dedication to EKU and quality service to the sporting public garnered him a Colonel’s share of awards along the way, not...

Track photographer Pat Lang succumbs to cancer; captured many of horse racing’s historic moments

By John Engelhardt Special to the KyForward Surrounded by his family and longtime friend John Engelhardt, Patrick Lang died peacefully on a late Nov. 17. After more than 30 years of making photos from the finish line, track photographer Pat Lang had hung up his camera three years ago. Pat Lang as many horse racing fans remember him; with his camera, headed toward the finish line at Turfway Park (Provided...

Court is in Session: Six-time Ellis Park champion jockey Court looking for 600th win at track

Jon Court is a six-time Ellis Park champion jockey and the only rider ever to win the meet title five years in a row. The winner of 4,035 North American races (which does not include his victory in the $1 million Japan Cup Dirt in 2003) and more than $100 million in purses, Court remains a force at age 56. The next time Court wins at Ellis Park, it will be his 600th victory at the track. His career...

Record Kentucky Derby Week boosts Churchill Downs Spring Meet overnight purses by 10 percent

Effective Thursday, June 8, Churchill Downs Racetrack will raise overnight race purse offerings 10 percent thanks to record Kentucky Derby week business levels. Purses for overnight races – which include overnight stakes, allowance, maiden special weight, claiming and maiden claiming events – will rise by an approximate blended average of $3,209 per race. The field of 3-year-old Thoroughbreds passed...

Kentucky Derby: Owner, trainer, breeder Cameron expects tight race in Run for the Roses

By Keith Taylor KyForward Senior Sports Writer The first Saturday in May is more than just the first weekend of the month, especially in Kentucky. For more than a century, the Kentucky Derby has been the center of attention in the Bluegrass State and all eyes will be on Churchill Downs Saturday for the 143rd running of the yearly event that attracts visitors from all over the world. Horse owner, trainer...

Year in Review: World of Thoroughbred racing was treated to an array of stars in 2016

By Liane Crossley KyForward correspondent The world of Thoroughbred racing was treated to an array of stars in 2016. Some were adding to past glory, some flickered and faded, and one rocketed from unknown to well known on championship day. Here is a look back on some of the highlights: The first of January is a pivotal day for Thoroughbreds because they officially turn a year older. The rising stars...

Kentucky by Heart: Get your horsey on by sampling some of these excellent equine-related books

By Steve Flarity KyForward columnist Lexington’s Keeneland Racecourse is currently in the midst of its spring meet and soon, on Saturday, May 7, the Kentucky Derby will run its historic race -—likely the most noted one in the world — at Louisville’s Churchill Downs. Both events will bring huge followings from far places, and The Horse as an iconic figure in the state’s attractions,...

Call to the Post: Keeneland Spring Meet opens Friday; Toyota Bluegrass set for Saturday

Racing returns to Keeneland on Friday with the start of the 2016 Spring Meet, headlined by the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1) during an opening weekend that features six graded stakes races worth $2.25 million. The Toyota Blue Grass and $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1) key a Saturday card that features top contenders for the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1), respectively. In all, Keeneland’s...

Legislators hear pitch to bring new lottery game based on horse racing to Kentucky

One man’s quest to get the Kentucky Lottery Corp. to purchase a game of chance he conceived in an effort to promote and create additional revenue for Kentucky’s horse racing tracks has reached the General Assembly.   “I think anything we can do to help the horse racing industry is something we as a General Assembly ought to be interested in,” Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown,...

77th Ashland Stakes ends in dead heat with Rosalind, Room Service sharing the purse

Saturday’s 77th running of the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland was ruled a dead heat. (Photo from Keeneland.)   Landaluce Educe Stables’ Rosalind and Gary and Mary West’s homebred Room Service could not be separated after a stretch duel to win in the 77th running of the $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1) for 3-year-old fillies before a sun-splashed crowd of 27,688 on Saturday afternoon at...