Training resumed at Ellis Park the morning of June 26 as management at the Henderson, Ky., track continued to deal with an inordinate amount of rock in the main dirt track surface leading up to opening day.
Two weeks before the 29-day Ellis Park meet begins July 4, horsemen are expressing concerns about the condition of the main track and some, including prominent conditioner Larry Jones, have decided not to race at the track.
Ron Geary, owner and president of Ellis Park, has been named the 25th winner of the Warner L. Jones Jr. Horseman of the Year Award given by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners Association.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has given unanimous approval for the sale of a 30% interest in Ellis Park racetrack to an entity controlled by Saratoga Raceway and Casino for $4 million.
Despite a closing Labor Day weekend that saw the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac inundate western Kentucky with a deluge of rain, Ellis Park concluded its 29-day meet with increases in attendance and handle.
Instant Racing is set to expand in Kentucky Aug. 31 when 177 of the electronic machines will begin operation at Ellis Park in Henderson.
The owner of Ellis Park said June 27 he is hoping to have Instant Racing implemented before the track's summer meet ends on Labor Day. The 29-day meet at the Henderson, Ky., track begins July 4.
The president of Ellis Park said Oct. 24 he believes implementation of Instant Racing could attract some of the customers in the area who have been whetting their gambling appetite at a nearby Indiana casino.
Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., has submitted an application for regulatory approval to conduct Instant Racing, stipulating that it would use more than 13,200 square feet of its facility to house 252 gaming terminals.
With Instant Racing off to a successful start at Kentucky Downs, other tracks in the Bluegrass state are making plans to usher in the form of electronic gaming.
During Ellis Park's 31-day day race meet July 2-Sept. 5, the Henderson, Ky. track saw declines in all-source handle that were in line with the overall decrease in 2011 U.S. betting on Thoroughbred racing.
Ellis Park Race Course, Inc., has launched HorseTourneys.com, an affiliate website that will operate a year-round, continuous online contest program to handicapping tournament players offering awards and prizes.
Talkin' Horses is hosted by Ron Mitchell and Greg DePalma. This week's guests are Donna Barton Brothers, Ron Geary and Tom LaMarra for our new Handicapping segment. Listen Now!
The president of Kentucky Downs says action by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission July 14 approving a new form of exotic wagering that uses electronic machines will provide an economic and morale boost to the industry.
A Scottsdale, Ariz., handicapper won the $500,000 first prize Jan. 29 on the final day of the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship held at Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas.
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.
Unlike 2009, when purses and live racing days were cut, Ellis Park reported solid numbers for its 27-day meet that ended Sept. 6.
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 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 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.
The owner of Ellis Park said Sept. 29 the struggling Kentucky racetrack will apply for racing dates in 2010, while the president of Turfway Park said the track would seek fewer racing dates next year.
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.
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.
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.
Nearly a thousand people traveled to Kentucky's state capitol in Frankfort June 17 to rally for a cause they have stood behind for years: to boost the horse racing industry by way of expanded casino gaming.
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.
An 11-member advisory panel has been named by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association to help formulate grass roots lobbying and assist the NTRA's Horseplayers' Coalition address issues that affect players at the federal level.
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.
In response to the horse industry's cries for more effective ways of regulating racehorse medications, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission chairman Robert Beck reported the possibility of the state obtaining its own laboratory facility.
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.
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.
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.
Ron Geary said he is facing a myriad of economic pressures in making Ellis Park a viable operation, but the owner of the Henderson, Ky., racetrack vows to fight the challenges with every resource before he considers closing the facility.
An experiment by which the blended pari-mutuel takeout rate at Laurel Park was cut in half proved popular in theory but not at the betting windows. But was it a bust?
The president of a Louisiana horsemen's group has promised legal and legislative action if a solution isn't soon realized in the fractured advance deposit wagering industry.
- By Jon Forbes
Ellis Park will become the first Kentucky racetrack to host the Claiming Crown when it conducts the ninth renewal of the event Aug. 4. Only once before has the race been held away from Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn.
Organizers of the Claiming Crown hope its 2007 edition at Ellis Park Aug. 4 goes a long way toward strengthening the foundation of the event that was inaugurated in 1999.
Saying it was responding to the pleas of horsemen, TrackNet Media Group will offer Aug. 4 Claiming Crown racing at Ellis Park to arch-rivals TVG and Youbet.com, though a company executive said the move doesn't indicate a softening of the hard lines drawn by the parties.
After Alpena Magic scratched from Wednesday's entries at Ellis Park, track president Ron Geary announced he had privately purchased the 17-year-old from his owner, Kenneth Robinette.
Kentucky tracks would get a tax break for one major racing event per year under legislation introduced in the state General Assembly.
The Claiming Crown, to be held for the first time at Ellis Park in western Kentucky, has been scheduled for Aug. 4, officials said.
Expanded gambling in Kentucky isn't a front-burner topic right now, but it will be next year when the state holds elections for governor and other top posts, a racetrack official said Nov. 3 during the "Thoroughbred Industry Forum" at Churchill Downs on the eve of the Breeders' Cup World Championships.
Churchill Downs' anticipated sale of Ellis Park to a company headed by Kentucky businessman Ron Geary is complete, finalizing a deal that was announced in July.
Ron Geary, who is expected to close on his purchase of Ellis Park in late September, will discuss his vision for the western Kentucky racetrack at an Oct. 2 meeting of the Louisville Thoroughbred Club.
Kentucky will host its first Claiming Crown in 2007 when the event moves to Ellis Park, the western Kentucky racetrack whose sale to businessman Ron Geary is expected to close in late September.
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