A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Downs closing for 14 days — no coronavirus instances, but focus is stopping spread

Kentucky Downs is temporarily closing its facility in the best interest of public health and safety due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). In a press release, Kentucky Downs said this was not a decision made lightly, but nothing is more important than the health and safety of guests, employees and its communities. At this time, it will remain closed for 14 days. “We are committed in the fight to...

Zulu Alpha’s connections set sights on return to Kentucky after Pegasus World Cup win at Gulfstream

Zulu Alpha in the Pegasus World Cup Turf. (Photo by Coglianese Photography/Gulfstream Park via Kentucky Downs) Michael Hui called it “almost an out-of-body experience” winning his first Grade 1 stakes as Zulu Alpha kicked off his 7-year-old season Saturday with a two-length victory in Gulfstream Park’s $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf. The gelding had already given Hui his first $1 million win...

Kentucky racetracks applaud KHRC’s adoption of medication reforms in show of unprecedented unity

Kentucky’s Thoroughbred racetracks – Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Turfway Park, Ellis Park and Kentucky Downs – united in their support of the medication reforms adopted Monday by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC). Their passage demonstrates an unprecedented unity among Kentucky’s Thoroughbred racing associations and a commitment to continue moving forward on initiatives that further...

Kentucky Downs steps into new era with groundbreaking for $25 million expansion

Kentucky Downs officially embarked on a new era under the ownership headed by Ron Winchell and Marc Falcone with Thursday’s groundbreaking for the $25 million first phase of the racetrack and year-round gaming and entertainment facility’s expansion and renovation. “Today was starting the process: We’re going to make it bigger and better from top to bottom,” Winchell, a prominent horse owner...

Casino.org reports big increase (85%-plus) in total handle for instant racing at Kentucky’s four venues

The total handle for instant racing in Kentucky jumped more than 85 percent in the 2019 fiscal year ending June 30, reports Steve Bittenbender for Casino.org. Bittenbender attributes the growth in large part to the addition of Churchill Downs-owned Derby City Gaming in Louisville but notes that the Kentucky Downs in Franklin generates the most revenue of the state’s four betting parlors. The...

Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint winner to get $1m bonus if it sweeps Keeneland’s Woodford, Breeders’ Cup

The Grade 3 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint already is America’s most lucrative race for sprinters on grass outside the Breeders’ Cup championship races. Now its winner could earn an additional $1 million. The $700,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint winner will earn a $1 million bonus if the horse goes on to capture Keeneland’s $200,000 Woodford and the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. The Grade...

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...

Richard Nelson: Hold the horses, reign in Oak Grove Casino project; it makes community less stable

Ever hear the saying “hold your horses?” Well, it looks like West Kentucky Development Corp. needs to reign theirs’ in. This is the partnership between Churchill Downs and Keeneland spearheading a new Standardbred track with up to 12 days of horse racing and 365 days of video slot machines in Oak Grove. But the project hit a bump in the road as a competing race track filed a lawsuit...

BloodHorse reports that Kentucky Downs filed suit in Franklin Circuit Court over Oak Grove license

BloodHorse has reported that Kentucky Downs has filed a suit in Franklin Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission in awarding a Standardbred license to a partnership of Churchill Downs and Keeneland. Early rendering of the Oak Grove facility In a report by Frank Agnst, BloodHorse says that Kentucky Downs is asking the court to void a commission decision to award WKY...

Circuit Court upholds legality of Ky. Downs’ gaming operation, says terminals are pari-mutuel in nature

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate has upheld the legality of Kentucky Downs’ historical horse racing operation, determining that the track’s innovative electronic gaming terminals based on the results of previously-run horse races is pari-mutuel in nature and permitted under Kentucky law. The ruling handed down Wednesday came more than nine months after Judge Wingate oversaw a trial stemming...

Kentucky Downs files application to build harness track; plans major expansion to existing facility

The ownership of Kentucky Downs has filed an application with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to build a standardbred track to be named Oak Grove Meadows on 80 acres near the intersection of Interstate 24 and U.S. 41-A in close proximity to Fort Campbell and Clarksville, Tenn. Kentucky Downs is committing $45 million to the Oak Grove project and plans to spend an additional $25 million in a major...

Kentucky Downs celebrating clubhouse renovation with Grand Reopening party on March 23

Kentucky Downs is throwing a party to celebrate completion of its extensive clubhouse renovation.   The track’s Grand Reopening will be Friday, March 23 to show off Kentucky Downs’ remodeling of the year-round entertainment center that also is America’s most unique horse-racing venue. The event is for those at least 21 years old. As always, admission and parking are free at Kentucky Downs. “We...

Kentucky Downs pays out record $8.6 million purses, made possible by the track’s electronic games

Kentucky Downs paid out a record $8,619,000 in purses and Kentucky-bred purse supplements at its meet that concluded Thursday. The average daily purses of $1,723,800 for the five-date meet is the highest average in North America, made possible by the track’s historical horse racing operation that marries the sport’s parimutuel structure with electronic games based on the results of previously-run...

Wagering at Kentucky Downs set new record in 2017, increasing 34 percent to over $30 million

Kentucky Downs concluded a record-shattering five-date session up 34 percent in wagering on the all-grass meet that has stamped itself among the most unique experiences in American races. Even with having to move its opening card from Saturday of Labor Day weekend to the following Wednesday following a 6-inch deluge of rain, Kentucky Downs shattered last year’s betting record. Wagering from all...

All runners at upcoming Kentucky Downs September meet guaranteed a minimum $750 reward

Because of business surpassing projections — including a best-ever July with its historical horse racing operation — every horse running at Kentucky Downs’ highly acclaimed September meet will earn at least $750. The new guaranteed minimum payment is 50 percent more than the previously announced $500 that already was the highest at an American racetrack. July proved Kentucky Downs’ second-best...

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...

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approves transferring $1.65 million in purses to Ellis Park

A Kentucky Horse Racing Commission advisory committee on Tuesday approved transferring $300,000 in state-bred purse supplements from Kentucky Downs to Ellis Park for the Henderson track’s 2017 summer meet. The action of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund advisory committee, which must get final approval from the KHRC, paves the way for a total package of $1.65 million in purses and KTDF...

Kentucky Downs president Johnsen will give keynote address at National HBPA convention

Corey Johnsen, president and part-owner of Kentucky Downs, will give the keynote address at the National HBPA’s 2017 convention March 8-11 at Las Vegas’ South Point Hotel and Casino. Johnsen heads the management team that has taken Kentucky Downs from novelty to industry leader, offering some of the most lucrative purses in America during its boutique all-grass meets. Johnsen, Ray Reid and their...

Kentucky Downs’ Turf Sprint, Ladies Turf among only eight new Grade III stakes in U.S., Canada

Kentucky Downs’ racing program reached another echelon with Friday’s announcement that two more of its stakes races have achieved graded status. The Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint and Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf, both worth $350,000 this year with purse supplements for Kentucky-bred horses, were among only eight stakes in the United States and Canada that received new Grade III rankings for 2017. Kentucky...

Kentucky Downs follows live meet with record historical horse racing month; ‘everybody wins’

By Jennie Reis Kentucky Downs Kentucky Downs started September with a record-setting live race meet and concluded with the track’s best month ever for historical horse racing, topping $42 million in wagering on the innovative gaming technology that adheres to pari-mutuel methodology while patrons wager on previously-run races. Corey Johnsen “September gave us a glimpse of the blue sky ahead for...