A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

KHRC unanimously approves CDI request to purchase Turfway Park; details, renderings revealed

By Mark Hansel KyForward managing editor The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) Tuesday unanimously approved a Change of Control Request that will allow Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) to purchase Turfway Park. The request was supported by Jack Ohio LLC, an affiliate of JACK Entertainment LLC (“JACK”) and Hard Rock International. The Turfway Park Grandstand as it exists today is seen in the top...

Churchill Downs Incorporated to acquire Turfway Park, will build $150m state-of-the-art facility onsite

*This story has been updated Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI” or “the Company”) (Nasdaq: CHDN) announced today that, through its wholly-owned subsidiary NKYRG, LLC (“NKYRG”), it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky from Jack Ohio LLC, an affiliate of JACK Entertainment LLC (“JACK”) and Hard Rock International for total consideration of $46...

JACK fires back, calls Churchill Downs’ plan to build race track in NKY an attack on Turfway Park

KyForward staff JACK Entertainment has responded to the announcement by Churchill Downs Thursday that it plans to build a $200 million race track in Northern Kentucky. Churchill Downs also announced that it has requested the dates traditionally allotted to Turfway Park on the 2020 Thoroughbred racing schedule from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC), beginning in January of next year. The...

New buyers of Henderson’s Ellis Park Racetrack plan historical racing games, $55 million investment

Ellis Entertainment, LLC (Ellis), a subsidiary of Laguna Development Corporation (LDC) based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, confirmed the purchase of Ellis Park Racetrack in Henderson for $11 million. Current owners, Saratoga Casino and Hospitality Group, Saratoga Springs, New York are selling the property to Ellis. The transaction was confirmed by both parties following approval for the issuance of...

Amye Bensenhaver: How to succeed in open records by refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer

Al Cross, director of the University of Kentucky’s Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, has succeeded where other open records disputants often fail. He did this by simply refusing to take “no” for an answer. Cross is no stranger to the open records law, and his reputation for tenacity no doubt precedes him. On March 20, Cross submitted a request to the Kentucky Horse Racing...

Bevin appoints Gail Russell as PPC Secretary, David Dickerson as Labor Secretary

Gov. Matt Bevin has announced the appointment of two top administration officials to permanent leadership posts — Gail Russell as Secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet (PPC), and David Dickerson as Secretary of the Labor Cabinet. Both Russell and Dickerson have served their respective cabinets as acting secretaries during the past several months. “The Commonwealth is extremely blessed...

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission awards $14.2 million from state’s Breeder’s Incentive Fund in 2018

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) today announced payment of more than $14.2 million in breeder awards from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Breeders’ Incentive Fund (KTBIF). Kentucky-bred horses won over 4,000 races across the globe in 2018, which made breeders eligible for these incentive payments. KTBIF horses won in 33 states and four countries – including the Kentucky Derby. “As the...

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...

Equibase, Keeneland announce partnership to conduct pilot test for workout data using GPS

Equibase Company, in partnership with Keeneland and at the request of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, conducted a test at the Lexington track to collect workout data using global positioning satellite technology. Equibase currently has GPS systems at Woodbine Racetrack, Golden Gate Fields, Laurel Park, and Pimlico, and is the official timer at those tracks. Equibase’s GPS technology partner,...

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 Horse Racing Commission funds catastrophic injury study at UK Gluck Center

By Jenny Evans University of Kentucky The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission recently voted unanimously to fund a project at the University of Kentucky Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center examining inflammatory and anti-inflammatory markers as early indicators for potential catastrophic (life-ending) injury in racehorses. The occurrence of injuries in horses and jockeys during training and racing...

Kentucky awards more than $12 million to Breeders through Thoroughbred Breeders’ Incentive Fund

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) has announced the release of the 2017 Kentucky Thoroughbred Breeders’ Incentive Funds (KBIF). The awards total more than $12 million for Kentucky breeders, which is a seven-year high for the program. The incentive fund encourages Thoroughbred horse owners and breeders to conduct business in Kentucky, which benefits the state’s economy and helps guarantee...

Kentucky Equine Education Project welcomes Elisabeth Jensen as new executive vice president

The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) has tapped lifelong horse enthusiast and Race for Education co-founder Elisabeth Jensen as its new executive vice president. Joe Clabes, KEEP’s executive director since April 2015, is leaving KEEP to become a senior consultant and strategist with the business-management consulting firm Loch Harbour Group and to pursue other business opportunities in...

Churchill Downs breaks ground on new $60 million ‘Derby City Gaming’ facility, sets fall 2018 opening

Churchill Downs Racetrack broke ground Wednesday on its new $60 million historical racing machine facility in Louisville. Derby City Gaming, a state-of-the-art 85,000-square-foot facility, will open in fall 2018 at 4520 Poplar Level Road, Churchill Downs’ former Trackside location, also known previously as Sports Spectrum. The location is less than half a mile from the Poplar Level Road exit off...

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, others object to Keeneland-Churchill Downs plan for new tracks

Staff report The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and other groups are pushing back on the plan announced by Churchill Downs and Keeneland to build two new racetrack facilities in Oak Grove and Corbin. A statement released by Franklin S. Kling Jr., president of the racing commission and Vice Chairman John C. Roach said the commission has said repeatedly it would not consider “any applications...

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...

Bevin appoints Lexington’s Marcus Cheney to Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council

Gov. Matt Bevin has made the following appointment to Kentucky Boards and Commissions: Dr. Marcus W. Cheney has been appointed to the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council. Cheney, of Lexington, is a veterinarian. Cheney will represent the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. He shall serve for a term expiring Aug. 1, 2020. The Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council makes recommendations...

KEEP Day gives legislators a chance to discuss the importance of the horse industry to state economy

Kentucky equine-industry participants and supporters got the chance to emphasize the important impact horses have on the state and local economies during visits with state legislators on KEEP Day in Frankfort, organized by the Kentucky Equine Education Project. Several dozen stakeholders in Kentucky’s $4 billion horse industry told an array of lawmakers their individual stories and advocated for...

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission reaches agreement in out-of-competition sample violation

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) has reached an agreement with horse trainer and owner Otabek Umarov for a five-year suspension and $5,000 fine following his refusal to comply with equine drug testing regulations. On April 30, 2016, Umarov prevented Commission personnel from collecting an out-of-competition sample from his horse, Looks to Spare, at Churchill Downs. State regulations permit...

State’s Thoroughbred Breeders’ Incentive Fund awards nearly $10.8 million to Kentucky breeders

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) announced Tuesday the release of the 2016 Kentucky Thoroughbred Breeders’ Incentive Funds (KBIF). The 2016 awards total approximately $10.8 million for Kentucky breeders. The KBIF was implemented in 2005 to ensure the strength of Kentucky’s equine industry by awarding funds to individuals that choose to breed a thoroughbred in Kentucky. In order to qualify,...