Keeneland received approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission May 6 to offer Thoroughbred simulcasts at The Red Mile, the Lexington harness track that is constructing a facility for historical race wagering machines in partnership with Keeneland.
There have been no Thoroughbred full-card simulcasts at The Red Mile since the late 1990s, when it sold its simulcast rights to Keeneland. The Red Mile has regularly offered Standardbred and Quarter Horse simulcasts.
Shannon Arvin, counsel for Keeneland, told the KHRC the "overall goal is to create a premium product for our patrons." The simulasts will move to The Red Mile July 15.
Keeneland will continue to offer full-card simulcasts during its live meets, auctions, and on major racing days such as the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and the Breeders' Cup World Championships. The Red Mile would continue to offer Thoroughbred simulcasts on those days as well.
Statute allows a track to operate pari-mutuel facilities within a 60-mile radius. If there is another track within the radius, it must approve the plan, which The Red Mile did by letter to the KHRC.
Keeneland in effect will be leasing space at The Red Mile for an undisclosed amount. There will be separate mutuel windows for Thoroughbred and Standardbred simulcasts, and Keeneland will supply its own mutuel tellers and wagering security personnel, which apparently means there will be union clerks working for Keeneland and non-union clerks for The Red Mile under one roof.
"It really is a segregated business," Arvin said.
Bets on Quarter Horse races can be made at either Keeneland or Red Mile windows because both are permitted to offer those simulcasts.
The simulcast operation, at about 28,000 feet in size, will be located on the second floor of the The Red Mile in the area that leads out to the track apron. The two parties are spending about $2 million to upgrade the area.
No officials from The Red Mile attended the meeting. The historical race wagering facility will connect to the front of The Red Mile grandstand. It will offer no view of live harness racing at the track, which races from late July through early October.
Keeneland plans to build a Quarter Horse track with historical race wagering machines in Corbin in southeastern Kentucky not far from the Tennessee border. It has purchased the license of the Thunder Ridge Raceway harness track in Eastern Kentucky.