Indianapolis Downs Goes Back to Hearing Room

An application to build what would become Indiana's second pari-mutuel racetrack will be heard May 9 during an Indiana Horse Racing Commission hearing. The hearing could last until May 10 depending on testimony.

Developer Paul Estridge Sr. of Indiana has submitted a plan to build a one-mile track off of Interstate 74 southeast of Indianapolis in Shelby County. According to a land survey, the facility would be located about 33 miles from Hoosier Park, Indiana's only pari-mutuel track, and about 21 miles from the Churchill Downs Sports Spectrum, a Hoosier Park-operated betting parlor in downtown Indianapolis.

The plan to open a second track near Indianapolis has been fought by Churchill Downs Inc., the majority owner of Hoosier Park. Company officials believe the Indianapolis market cannot support two racetracks.

Estridge, who lives in Indiana, has attempted for years to win a racetrack license. Previous plans called for a five-eighths-mile track that would be used only for Standardbred racing. It could not be immediately determined whether his plan to offer only harness racing had changed given the switch to a one-mile track.

When he first proposed to build a track, Estridge had picked Shelby County.

Among the "non-party" organizations that will be heard at the hearing are Indiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, the Thoroughbred Development Advisory Committee, the Indiana Standardbred Association, Quarter Horse interests, and some church groups.