Indianapolis Downs Request on Commission Agenda

The Indiana Horse Racing Commission on Tuesday will consider a request to reconsider its denial of an operating license to Indianapolis Downs, a proposed Standardbred track. In August, commission members voted 3-1 to prevent Paul Estridge Sr. from building the track in Lawrence due to its close proximity to Hoosier Park.

Estridge filed a three-part petition Sept. 1 requesting the commission either reconsider its original decision, modify the original decision by limiting its denial based on the Lawrence location alone, or issue a stay of the effectiveness of any order denying the application for a period of 180 days. The petition said Estridge may file a new license application, but would like his current application to be considered without a specific location.

Joe Gorajec, executive director of the commission, said the petition was to be discussed at the Tuesday meeting. "The most pertinent question is if anything can be done with the current (license) application or if a new application must be filed," Gorajec said. "Their petition is all encompassing."

Estridge, a Carmel, Ind., real estate developer, had proposed to construct a live harness racing facility with multi-breed simulcasting on the site of an abandoned drive-in theater in Lawrence. Estridge has attempted to develop a harness track for 10 years -- first in the Shelbyville area, then at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Heavy opposition to the Estridge request came from Kentucky-based Churchill Downs, majority owner of Hoosier Park, and the city of Anderson, which receives tax money from the track. Hoosier Park replied to the petition by requesting the commission issue a stay of the original vote.