After Kentucky Downs conceded on one date that would have conflicted with Churchill Downs in September, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved a 2014 dates schedule that follows the dates raced in 2013.
The only conflict within the requests was between Kentucky Downs, the all-turf track in Franklin, and Churchill Downs, the Louisville track that is home to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). With purses fueled by revenue from Instant Gaming, Kentucky Downs has huge purses for its limited meet in September. The track raced five days this year and was seeking six in 2014.
However, the additional date would have been Saturday, Sept. 20. Churchill also raced a September meet this year and will do so again in 2014, and that date would have resulted in three overlapping Saturdays between the two tracks. Previously, Turfway Park, which does not have a turf course, shared the September dates with Kentucky Downs.
Kentucky Downs president Corey Johnsen said his track would relent on its request for Sept. 20 and for nine days of host-track status for the month. Being designated the host track means that track gets a favorable split on simulcast revenue at that time.
Now, Kentucky Downs will race five days in September and have six host dates. But Johnsen told regulators the track will continue to seek additional live racing and host-track status in the future because it supports a strong Kentucky circuit.
"We would like to run more days," Johnsen said, but "for the betterment of the industry we're going to go along with it."
Churchill president Kevin Flanery said having two tracks racing on the same days strains the horse population, and that such conflicts should be avoided.
2014 dates for Kentucky Thoroughbred tracks:
Churchill Downs: spring meet, 38 days, April 26-June 29; homecoming meet, 13 days (four optional days), Sept. 1-28; fall meet, 26 days, Oct. 26-Nov. 29.
Ellis Park: 29 days (three optional days), July 3-Sept. 1.
Keeneland: spring meet, 15 days, April 4-25; fall meet, 17 days, Oct. 8-25.
Kentucky Downs: five days, Sept. 6, 10, 13, 17, 24.
Turfway Park: winter/spring meet, 35 days, Jan. 1-March 30; holiday meet, 16 days, Dec. 4-31.
2014 dates requests for Kentucky Standardbred tracks:
Players Bluegrass Downs: 15 days, June 20-July 20.
The Red Mile: 22 days, Aug. 7-Sept. 28.
Thunder Ridge: 21 days, April 23-June 6.