Keeneland Association is apparently delaying its plans to offer historical racing at a new 40,000-square foot facility that was scheduled to open in July 2015.
The delay will mean that the facility will not be open nor will be under construction by the time the Lexington track hosts the 2015 Breeders' Cup World Championships.
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Lexington Board of Adjustment July 25 granted a 60-day postponement for its application for a special permit to build a 61,000-square-foot building for historical racing and simulcasting.
HERALD-LEADER: Keeneland Delays Plans for Instant Racing Building
While Keeneland did not officially announce the change of plans, a spokesman told the Herald-Leader that the original July 2015 date for historical racing was no longer realistic.
"We may be pushing back our timeline considerably (for Instant Racing)," Keeneland spokesman Vince Gabbert said, adding that the track did not want the grounds to be under construction when it hosts the 2015 Breeders' Cup. "We want to do things right. We are still in the planning stages on Instant Racing in terms of both the product and the facility."
Patterned after the Instant Racing form of gaming conceived at Arkansas' Oaklawn Park, historical racing consists of slot machine-like devices in which the outcome of each wager is based on previously run horse races. The state Supreme Court has ruled the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission had the authority to approve the machines, but their legality is still being challenged in court.
ANGST: Keeneland Plans to Add Instant Racing in 2015
Historical racing has been implemented at two Kentucky tracks—Kentucky Downs and Ellis Park—with revenues helping infuse depleted purse funds. Keeneland is the first of the state's major tracks to commit to historical racing, a move that was widely praised within the industry.
Lexington's Red Mile harness track has also been approved for historical racing, with a July 2015 projected start date.