No call at 2 a.m. is good. Rodney Leibring, DVM, received one of those calls on Nov. 6. Leibring, a Thoroughbred racetrack practitioner, was asked by the male caller if he was at Ellis Park yet. Leibring, confused because he wasn't expected there until after 8 a.m., replied, "No why?" The man told Leibring that he needed to get there right away. A tornado had just hit the racetrack's stables, and it didn't look good.
- By James Platz
The Indiana Horse Racing Commission voted unanimously Thursday, Nov. 10 on a proposed 110-day calendar for the state's Thoroughbred horsemen in 2006. The schedule calls for a 61-day meeting at Hoosier Park in the fall and a revised 49-day program at Indiana Downs next spring.
Churchill Downs will be the scene of a charitable fundraising roast and salute to legendary jockey Pat Day this Saturday.
Clean-up efforts were underway at Ellis Park Wednesday to reopen the storm-battered track for simulcasting operations tentatively on Nov. 16.
- By Tom LaMarra
Insurance adjusters were at Ellis Park Nov. 7 assessing the damage wrought by a tornado that struck the western Kentucky racetrack early in the morning the previous day.
Churchill Downs Inc. reported net earnings of $71.6 million for the third quarter of 2005, up from a loss of $3.8 million for the same period last year, thanks to the sale of Hollywood Park in Southern California.
Veteran trainer Bernie Flint is a native of New Orleans who has spent most of his racing career based at Churchill Downs, but the 65-year-old has a soft spot in his heart for Ellis Park.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority granted Ellis Park 36 live racing dates in 2006 during a special meeting Oct. 31, but denied dates to a proposed Quarter Horse and Standardbred track in the southeast region of the state.
Paul Kuerzi, who has served as vice president and general manager of Ellis Park since 1999, has announced plans to leave the Henderson, Ky., track at the end of the year.
Ellis Park is seeking to reduce its number of race days per week in 2006 from five to four, but approval of the change has been stalled by opposition from the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protection Agency.
Weather concerns that ranged from searing heat to torrential rains were a factor in declines in attendance and wagering as Ellis Park concluded its 41-day 2005 meet on Sept. 5.
Jockey Eddie Martin Jr. was transported to St. Mary's Hospital in Evansville, Ind., for medical examination after being unseated by his mount during Monday's eighth race at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky.
California-invader Dream of Summer outshines a field of nine fillies and mares expected to start in Saturday's $150,000 Gardenia Handicap (gr. III), going one mile at Ellis Park. The Gardenia is the lone graded stakes on the Ellis Park calendar.
Stewards at Ellis Park declared the fifth race on Sunday's program a "no contest" due to a starting gate malfunction. All wagers on the race were refunded.
- By Tom LaMarra
The Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has taken issue with an Ellis Park purse reduction that has put the minimum purse to near $5,000 for the first time in recent memory at any Thoroughbred racetrack in Kentucky.
Lower than expected wagering has prompted Ellis Park to reduce overnight purses by 15% for the remainder of the race meet.
Ellis Park's newest wager this summer, the 10-cent superfecta, has accounted for more than half the total amount wagered in those poil during the first three weeks of the season.
Jockey Thomas Pompell, released from the hospital late Friday afternoon following a spill in the first race at Ellis Park, will miss his immediate mounts at Fairmont Park.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has released the quarantine of barn 9 at Ellis Park following a third round of negative test results for the equine bacterial disease known as strangles.
Jockey Rodney Prescott, who is second in wins in the nation this year, will begin riding at Ellis Park today after being banished July 16 from River Downs where he is currently the leading rider.
Results of the initial round of testing of horses quarantined barn at Ellis Park have all come back negative for the equine bacterial disease strangles.
Wet weather didn't keep fans from coming out on opening day at Ellis Park Wednesday to begin the track's 82nd meet. An attendance mark under its current owner was established.
Retired trainer John Veitch, who conditioned famed multiple grade I winner and later notable sire Alydar, has been appointed as the new chief steward for the Kentucky Horseracing Authority and will serve as the presiding steward at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., beginning July 9.
A 4-year-old filly stabled at Ellis Park has been diagnosed with strangles. Rusty Ford, equine programs manager for the office of the state veterinarian, said the filly presented June 30 with an elevated body temperature and has since been removed from the grounds and taken to a private quarantine facility near Lexington.
A 4-year-old filly stabled at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky. has been diagnosed with strangles.
Ellis Park will randomly test horses before every race during its 2005 meet for alkalizing agents known as milkshakes.
Ellis Park has hired Josh Abner to serve as its communications manager. Abner will oversee the media relations and communications efforts of the Henderson, Ky. racetrack.
Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky. will distribute $10,000 in bonus money among trainers who have the highest number of starts during the track's 2005 racing meet that runs from July 13-Sept. 5.
Churchill Downs Inc. has finalized agreements with AIG Insurance to provide $1 million in on-track insurance coverage for jockeys who compete at CDI racetracks located in states where jockeys are not currently covered by workers' compensation programs.
- By Ron Mitchell
Earnings for Churchill Downs Inc. in 2004 and for the fourth quarter were negatively impacted by several one-time expenses, including supporting alternative gaming initiatives, a "non-cash impairment charge" at Ellis Park, and an unrealized loss related to a note, the company reported Wednesday.
A few new changes will highlight the 2005 Ellis Park meeting, which begins July 13 and concludes with a special Labor Day program Sept. 5. The track will feature ten events with $850,000 in total purses and add a special day of racing with four stakes races highlighted by the 24th running of the track's signature event, the $150,000-added Gardenia Handicap (gr. III).
Churchill Downs Inc. has revised its financial statements to reflect reductions in pre-tax earnings for 2002 and 2003 of $2.2 million and $1 million, respectively, because of purse overpayments. The company also noted impairment charges of $6.2 million at Ellis Park because of "poor" live meet results this summer.
Jennifer Ray has been appointed director of marketing at Ellis Park. Ray, who held the same position at Louisiana Downs for the past 17 years, replaces Bob Cunningham, who recently resigned due to relocation.
Horses racing in Kentucky will now be identified the morning of their respective races and before leaving the paddock following a directive from Jim Gallagher, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.
Churchill Downs Inc. announced Monday that it is revising its earnings outlook for the third quarter of 2004 and further lowering its outlook for the full year to reflect increased spending on alternative gaming efforts and special, non-cash impairment charges for Ellis Park due to softness in business at that racetrack.
- By Tom LaMarra
Ellis Park is expected to return to a five-day live racing week next year on the heels of a 2004 meet that produced an increase in total handle but double-digit decreases in average daily handle and on-track business.
The Office of the Inspector General has been called in to investigate a mix-up in a maiden race at Ellis Park, said Kentucky Racing Authority chairman Bill Street. The Kentucky Racing Authority met Aug. 16 at the Kentucky Horse Park.
There was a case of mistaken identity at Ellis Park on Aug. 11 when maiden Boggy Creek ran in place of maiden Parker Valley in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden turf race. Boggy Creek finished fifth.
Iron County Farms' Bare Necessities is looking to repeat her winning performance in Saturday's $200,000 Gardenia Handicap (gr. III) going 1 1/8-miles at Ellis Park. Bare Necessities took the 2003 edition by scoring an impressive 5 1/4-length win and paying just $2.80 to become the shortest price in the race's 22-year history.
Through an agreement with the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, Ellis Park has reinstated three stakes in had canceled in late July, though the purses for two have been reduced.
Ellis Park will institute a 5% reduction in all overnight purses, including all Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund supplements, beginning July 28 for the duration of the 54-day meeting.
When Jarrett won the first race at Ellis Park today, Robert A. "Cowboy" Jones became the oldest jockey to ever win a race at the Western Kentucky track.
It was two years ago that jockey Rafael Bejarano won his first race in the United States at River Downs. Since then, the 22-year-old has won riding titles at Hoosier Park, Ellis Park, and Turfway Park. On July 5, he clinched another accolade when he was named leading rider for the 2004 spring meet at Churchill Downs.
- By Ron Mitchell
Strong storms that rolled through parts of western Kentucky Monday damaged a barn and uprooted a handful of trees at Ellis Park in Henderson. No injuries were reported.
- By Tom LaMarra
A Louisville legislator is prepared to file a bill to authorize a constitutional amendment on casino gambling in Kentucky under a scenario in which gaming wouldn't be limited to racetracks.
The $200,000 Gardenia Handicap (gr. III) highlights the 2004 stakes schedule at Ellis Park, worth a record $1.1 million. Total purses for the 11 stakes races scheduled during the 54-day meet, which opens July 7 and continues through Sept. 6, reflects an overall increase of $25,000 from the track's 2003 stakes calendar.
The Kentucky Racing Commission granted final approval of 2004 race dates Oct. 28 at a contentious meeting at which Ellis Park was granted a six-day racing week, and The Red Mile was awarded Quarter Horse dates despite objections from the Kentucky Quarter Horse Association's attorney.
- By Ron Mitchell
A 10.4% drop in on-track wagering was more than offset by a rise in off-track simulcast betting at Ellis Park. The Henderson, Ky. track reported a 26.9% increase in all-source handle during the 41-day meet that concluded with the Labor Day card Monday.
No horses were injured as a result of a minor stable fire at Ellis Park on U.S. 40-North Friday morning, but the blaze caused about $500 in damage and two security workers who put it out were treated for smoke inhalation, the Henderson Gleaner reported.
Kentucky Off-Track Betting Corp., owned by four of the state's racetracks, celebrated its 10th anniversary with total handle of $313 million through June 30. The corporation was formed in November 1992.
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