Members of an advisory committee that oversees the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund expressed concern June 8 over diminishing revenue for the program as well as one racetrack's suspension of full-card simulcasts.
Ellis Park director of operations Bob Jackson said in spite of the Kentucky River flooding around the facility a week prior to the Kentucky Derby, simulcast numbers were not significantly affected.
An effort by Kentucky horsemen to keep Turfway Park open for off-season training and stabling has failed, meaning the Northern Kentucky track will close its barn area in mid-April.
After two years of major cutbacks in live racing, Kentucky's Thoroughbred racetracks are hoping for some stability and are maintaining the status quo in their requests for 2011 dates.
Stewards at Ellis Park have suspended trainer James E. Mattingly for 90 days after a horse he trained tested positive for two prohibited substances and he was found in possession of syringes and hypodermic needles.
Unlike 2009, when purses and live racing days were cut, Ellis Park reported solid numbers for its 27-day meet that ended Sept. 6.
Another experimental year continues in Kentucky as Ellis Park wraps up its summer meet and Turfway Park prepares for a scaled-down session with only one stakes.
Larry Richardson's Midway Holiday, a winner of three of six lifetime starts, is one of a pair of 3-year-old fillies entered in a wide-open edition of the $100,000 Gardenia Handicap (gr. III) Aug. 14 at Ellis Park.
On the heels of a successful opening weekend at Ellis Park comes word of a few initiatives that, if they come to fruition, could generate or repurpose revenue for Kentucky racing. But will it be enough?
Ellis Park will offer higher purses for some Kentucky-bred horses under a plan approved by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund advisory committee.
Bobby LaRue, a veteran Kentucky trainer, died Jan. 3 at a Henderson, Ky., hospital.
Ellis Park officials said Oct. 27 the racetrack will shut down after Nov. 8 and suspend simulcast operations until April 1, 2010. The move affects 75 full- and part- time employees at the Western Kentucky track.
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.
The harsh competitive environment in which Kentucky racing finds itself was on displayed in black and white Oct. 26 when a subcommittee of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission considered applications from Thoroughbred racetracks that signal a drastic reduction in live racing dates for 2010.
Ellis Park, the western Kentucky racetrack that's on the fence for 2010, reported healthy gains in on-track business but a big drop in total handle after 20 days were cut from its 2009 meet.
Following the June demise of expanded gambling in the legislature, representatives of Kentucky's horse industry vowed to take a more aggressive role in statehouse campaigns. The industry's involvement in a special state Senate election in eastern Kentucky Aug. 25 is proving the threat wasn't hollow.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will raise purses 12% beginning Aug. 19, citing a "conservative approach" taken with the purse account when the meet began in late July.
With Ellis Park considering closing its doors, the Kentucky Equine Education Project is organizing a "Forever Ellis!" rally Aug. 22 at the racetrack as a way for horse industry enthusiasts to show their support for the nearly 90-year-old facility and the entire equine industry in the state.
Ellis Park got the official OK to add five days of racing to its current meet, and Keeneland will be permitted to change the way it divvies up purses in each race.
The future of Ellis Park beyond this year is questionable, but it appears the Kentucky racetrack's current meet has a good chance of being expanded.
Trainer William Connelly saddled his 1,000th career winner July 17 at Ellis Park when Button Dancer romped to victory in the first race.
Funny Cide, the popular 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner, will greet fans at Ellis Park on opening day, Saturday, July 11.
With the end of the Churchill Downs spring meet July 5, Delaware Park is expecting an influx of Kentucky horsemen who are seeking more opportunities than will be available at Ellis Park.
Ellis Park owner Ron Geary said June 24 it's too soon to say a commitment from the racing industry and legislators to fight for racetrack gaming will keep his track open beyond the 2009 season. Meanwhile, Turfway Park and the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association plan to sit down soon to devise a plan that could include reductions in purses and racing dates for future meets.
The Kentucky House Appropriations and Revenue Committee June 18 sent racetrack gaming legislation to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
Kentucky Sen. Damon Thayer, who sponsored the legislation that resulted in Kentucky's Breeders' Incentive Fund, has inquired about another method of garnering funds for the state's Thoroughbred industry.
Facing the harsh realities posed by a weak economy and stiff competition from racetracks in nearby states with more lucrative purses boosted by alternative gaming, two Kentucky tracks April 7 received permission to cut their live race dates this year.
With the Kentucky General Assembly seemingly headed for a special session this spring or summer to address a substantial revenue deficit, a legislative committee March 12 heard testimony on a bill that would authorize video lottery terminals at racetracks in the state.
Representatives of two Kentucky Thoroughbred tracks said they will be forced to reduce racing dates due to declining economic conditions, with the owner of Ellis Park saying his track would not race in 2010 unless alternative gaming is legalized in the Bluegrass State.
More than 100 people who make their living in the Kentucky horse industry made their case to three Northern Kentucky legislators Feb. 16, and the message was clear: The economics must change or the state will lose a valuable asset.
SPECIAL REPORT: Horsemen who call Kentucky home year-round are taking a beating, and they predict even more owners and horses will leave the state. Whether there will be legislative relief any time soon, however, remains to be seen.
Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day will be a guest speaker at Ellis Park Dec. 13 at noon to present aid and auction a personally autographed saddle with the proceeds benefiting the trainers who lost horses and their equipment in the Nov. 20 Riverside Downs fire.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and Indiana Downs have submitted requests for 2009 schedules that could significantly impact surrounding states.
The Governor's Task Force on Racing in Kentucky is close to preparing and releasing a report pinpointing problems and offering recommendations that ultimately will require a lot of money -- something in short supply given an ongoing budget crunch.
- By Ryan Conley
Ellis Park ended its annual racing meet Sept. 1 with a 3% drop in daily handle, despite broader signal distribution to advance deposit wagering outlets.
A routine closing day at Ellis Park Sept. 1 turned eventful when three men robbed some pari-mutuel clerks following the last race at the Henderson, Ky. racetrack.
Swift Temper, who was 2-for-18 lifetime and had not won since February 2007, pulled off a shocker in the $150,000 Gardenia Handicap (gr. III) Aug. 16 at Ellis Park, romping to a 4 1/2-length victory under Victor Lebron at odds of 21-1.
Fancy Fusaichi, runaway winner while making her stakes debut in the Iowa Distaff, looks to add a graded stakes victory to her resume Aug. 16 when she takes on six challengers in the $150,000 Gardenia Handicap (gr. III) at Ellis Park.
Ellis Park, which nearly closed a month ago due to stalled negotiations with horsemen over a new advance deposit wagering contract, announced it will increase purses by 5% beginning Aug. 13 through the close of the current meet Sept. 1.
Ellis Park has named Bill Downes as the new permanent live race announcer for the Henderson, Ky. track. Downes, who has called races for Presque Isle Downs, Beulah Park, and River Downs, will replace announcer Luke Kruytbosch, who died in Evansville, Ind., July 14.
Turf Paradise has named an opening-day stakes race after longtime track announcer Luke Kruytbosch, who died July 14 in Evansville, Ind.
Luke Kruytbosch, the announcer at Churchill Downs and the "Voice of the Kentucky Derby" since 1999, has died at age 47. His body was found Monday morning in an apartment he was renting in Evansville, Ind. No official cause of death has been announced, but published reports indicate that it appears that he died of natural causes.
Luke Kruytbosch, the track announcer at Churchill Downs and Ellis Park, was found dead July 14 in his Evansville, Ind. apartment, according to published reports. He was 46.
Handle jumped more than 50% in the first three days of the Ellis Park meet, which started a week late due to a disagreement over revenue sharing.
- By Tom LaMarra
The Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group is calling for a meeting with the Thoroughbred Racing Associations to discuss advance deposit wagering revenue given ongoing conflict between horsemen, racetracks, and ADW providers over equitable revenue splits.
Negotiations between Ellis Park and the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association continued July 5 in an effort to resolve a dispute that led the western Kentucky racing to shut down the day before its summer meet was to begin.
- By Tom LaMarra
The TRA and KEEP have weighed in on the announced closure of Ellis Park in western Kentucky. They blame lack of a long-term, industry strategy on advance deposit wagering, and inability to compete with other states, respectively.
Democratic Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear signed an executive order July 3 reorganizing and renaming the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, which is now the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
Ellis Park's owner said the western Kentucky racetrack won't hold its meet this summer, though horsemen want the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority to intervene. Could another track get the dates?
The owner of Ellis Park said he is willing to work with horsemen on revenue-sharing plans for wagering signals, but hasn't ruled out eventually closing the Kentucky track if an equitable long-term agreement isn't reached.
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