Few Changes Proposed for 2001 Kentucky Calendar

Kentucky's five Thoroughbred racetracks most likely will be awarded their customary dates when the Kentucky Racing Commission issues the 2001 live racing schedule during a meeting Oct. 30. The commission's dates committee met Tuesday to discuss the proposals.

Under the requests submitted to the commission, the 2001 calendar would look like this: Turfway Park (Jan. 1-April 5), Keeneland (April 6-April 27), Churchill Downs (April 28-July 8), Ellis Park (July 2-Sept. 3), Turfway (Sept. 5-Oct. 5), Kentucky Downs (Sept. 15-18, 22, and 24-25), Keeneland (Oct. 5-Oct. 27), Churchill (Oct. 28-Nov. 24), and Turfway (Nov. 25-Dec. 31).

The Oct. 5 overlap between Turfway and Keeneland is expected to be avoided. In addition, The Red Mile, a Lexington harness track, traditionally ends it meet that day. Keeneland president Nick Nicholson said officials from the three tracks would meet to discuss how to best handle the situation.

Turfway wants a 6 p.m. (EST) post time for January, February, and March of 2001. In recent years, it has raced at 5:30 p.m. in January and February, and at 7 p.m. in March and early April.

The proposal met with some resistance from the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, whose executive director, Marty Maline, said about $8,000 a day in purse money was lost this year when Turfway switched from the 5:30 post time in March.

Robert Forbeck, director of marketing and communications for the track, said a 6 p.m. post time will provide continuity and hopefully boost live attendance during the winter meet. The commission doesn't mandate post times, so the 6 p.m. post time is expected to stick unless it creates a financial hardship next winter.

On the Standardbred side, The Red Mile is expected to offer a 4 p.m. post time for its spring meet in the absence of a lighting system that was removed when the hub rail was taken out and the track resurfaced.