Indiana Panel Approves Plan for Second Track

The Indiana Horse Racing Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved plans for Indianapolis Downs, which would become the state's second pari-mutuel racetrack. It did so despite continued objections by Hoosier Park and its majority owner, Churchill Downs Inc. Hoosier Park officials have said the central Indiana market cannot support two racetracks.

Developer Paul Estridge, a minority partner in Indianapolis Downs, according to the Indianapolis Sun, hopes to have the track, to be located southeast of Indianapolis in Shelby County, open by late 2002. Standardbred racing would be offered on a one-mile track.

The commission issued some conditions, one of which mandates that for Indianapolis Downs to open an off-track betting parlor in Marion County, where Indianapolis is located, it must offer Thoroughbred racing and build a turf course inside the dirt track.

A study released by the commission indicated racing is ripe for growth in the state.Hoosier Park is located in Anderson, about 40 minutes from the proposed track. It operates three OTB parlors in the state.