The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, on the advice of one of its committees, Oct. 27 approved 2010 racing dates for all three breeds, including a 25% cut in Thoroughbred racing.
Racetracks requested reductions because of economic conditions, a decrease in available purse money, and a smaller horse population as owners and trainers race elsewhere in states where purses are boosted by revenue from alternative gaming.
The schedule approved by the KHRC maintains a year-round circuit for Thoroughbred racing, but there will be fewer racing opportunities. With a reduction of 67 dates, there will be roughly 650 fewer Thoroughbred races in Kentucky next year.
KHRC member Thomas Gaines said the committee decided it was "in the best interest of the industry to preserve the year-round circuit."
Tracks such as Turfway Park, which will race three days a week instead of five in January and February, and four days instead of five in March, hope the condensed schedule allows for a purse increase, perhaps 20%.
Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association president Rick Hiles said horsemen agreed with the 2010 schedule with the understanding if racetrack gaming is approved, tracks would restore dates.
The schedule is as follows:
Turfway Park winter/spring meet: Jan. 1-March 28 (43 days), with racing Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in January and February, and Thursdays through Sundays in March.
Keeneland spring meet: April 2-23 (15 days), with racing Wednesdays through Sundays.
Churchill Downs spring meet: April 24-July 4 (42 days), with racing Thursdays through Sundays.
Ellis Park: July 10-Sept. 6 (27 days), with racing Fridays through Sundays most weeks.
Turfway Park fall meet: Sept. 8-Oct. 3 (20 days), with racing Wednesdays through Sundays.
Kentucky Downs: Sept. 11, 12, 18, and 20 (four days).
Keeneland fall meet: Oct. 8-30 (17 days), with racing Wednesdays through Sundays.
Churchill Downs fall meet: Oct. 31-Nov. 27 (20 days, including Breeders’ Cup), with racing Wednesdays through Sundays.
Turfway Park holiday meet: Dec. 2-31 (18 days), with racing Thursdays through Sundays and the week after Christmas.
There will be two Quarter Horse dates, July 16-17, at The Red Mile in Lexington. Three tracks were awarded a total of 71 Standardbred dates for 2010.