2024 Kentucky Race Dates Set

Churchill Downs | Coady

By

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) on Tuesday approved a Thoroughbred racing calendar for 2024 that largely mirrors the template that has been in place for the past three seasons.

The board's unanimous approval included a conditional “optional dates” placeholder for Ellis Park's July and August calendar that has to be solidified into a three-dates-per-week commitment before the end of this year.

The gaming company Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), which owns Ellis, Churchill Downs Racetrack, and Turfway Park, had requested additional time to figure out if swapping Fridays for Mondays will be feasible for 2024.

So Ellis got awarded 18 mandatory dates (which will be run on Saturdays and Sundays) and 30 optional dates. Waqas Ahmed, the KHRC's executive deputy director, told commissioners that he expected Ellis would eventually end up picking up seven more mandatory dates from that optional allotment of 30.

“The obvious goal at Ellis is to run three days a week,” Gary Palmisano, Jr., CDI's  executive director of racing, said during the KHRC meeting. “As we approached the race dates application deadline, the idea was tossed around of potentially running Saturday, Sunday, Monday rather than [this season's] Friday, Saturday, Sunday.”

Leaving that placeholder for now, Palmisano said, “is going to allow our team a little bit more time to conduct some due diligence [and] make sure the horsemen are on board; make sure test barn workers can get there; make sure we can actually cover potential Monday racing.”

CDI must notify the KHRC by Dec. 31 as to how it will satisfy the commission's condition that calls for “at least” three days of racing per week at Ellis in 2024.

Assuming Ellis ends up with 25 mandatory dates, the total number of race dates in Kentucky will rise slightly in 2024 compared to the assigned dates for 2023, up from 211 to 215. The total mandatory dates for the other tracks are Churchill (83), Turfway (67), Keeneland (33) and Kentucky Downs (7).

Here's a chronological look at the state's 2024 Thoroughbred schedule:

Turfway: Jan. 3-Mar. 30 on a Wednesday-Saturday evening schedule.

Keeneland: Apr. 5-26 on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule.

Churchill Downs: Apr. 27-June 30 on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule, with exceptions on GI Kentucky Derby week and the Memorial Day holiday week.

Ellis Park: July 4-Aug. 27 with Saturdays and Sundays anchoring the schedule, plus additional dates to be announced and an opening-day Thursday card on Independence Day.

Kentucky Downs: Aug. 29-Sept. 11 for seven dates with three “optional” dates in case of rainouts.

Churchill: Sep. 12-29 on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule.

Keeneland: Oct. 4-26 on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule.

Churchill: Oct. 27-Dec. 1 on a Wednesday-Sunday schedule.

Turfway: Dec. 4-28  on a Wednesday-Saturday evening schedule with a Christmas Day  exception.

 

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Copy Article Link

Liked this article? Read more like this.

  1. Encino Takes to Dirt, Wires Stonestreet Lexington
  2. Beaute Cachee Delivers For Chad Brown In Jenny Wiley Upset
  3. Kentucky Derby Contenders Catching Freedom, Endlessly, Mystik Dan, Common Defense Work at Churchill Downs
  4. FL Derby Winner Fierceness Continues Derby Prep With Friday Breeze
  5. Master Of The Seas A Convincing Winner of the Maker's Mark Mile
X

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.