Tickets for reserved seating for the RUNHAPPY Summer Meet at Ellis Park, conducted from July 2 to Aug. 30, are available at www.ellisparkracing.com. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, racetracks may host up to 50% capacity and general admission seating will not be available to spectators for the meet, with the exception being horse owners. Spectators are required to have a ticketed seat, with food and beverages delivered by servers to designated seating areas. The Dade Park Grill on the first floor of the Clubhouse will be the only concession stand open. Racing will run July 2-5 before taking a week off for the five-day Keeneland meet before resuming its Friday through Sunday format July 17 through Aug. 30.
For opening week, the smoke-free Sky Theatre will have 47 tables available, mostly four-tops, for a total capacity of 196 people, with 62 tables in the Clubhouse (for two, four and six people) for an additional 234 individuals. Clubhouse options include the Terrace Lounge area (racetrack view), the adjacent Thoroughbred Room and the Gardenia Room. Expanded parties of up to 25 people will be accommodated in the The Turf Club. Concession areas at the track will not be open during the meet.
“We are opening seating to the public in a safe and prudent manner that adheres to state protocol,” said Ellis Park general manager Jeff Inman. “With this methodology, we have control over where people are during the races and can make sure they are safely separated. Additionally, protocol dictates that we must have the name and contact information for every guest coming to Ellis this summer. That’s why we can only have reserved seating this meet. If one of our guests should subsequently test positive for COVID-19, we will know who was at the races that day, where they were seated and how to get in touch with them.”
Additional Guidelines for 2020:
Admission to the track for live racing is by reservation only, and race-day reservations will be accepted as space allows.
- An entire table must be purchased, with no partial tables sold due to social-distancing requirements. During the initial week of the meet, the minimum age for reserved seating is 18 years old. Ellis will review plans to allow additional guests and younger race fans later in the summer.
- Access to Historical Horse Racing on the Clubhouse first floor is available on a first-come, first-served basis with gaming terminals adhering to the state’s social-distancing standards.
- Guests with reserved seating, along with Historical Horse Racing players, must enter through the main gate and have a non-invasive thermal screening before being admitted.
- Horse owners licensed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission may watch their horses run from the racetrack apron, where media members will also be allowed. Media members must make arrangements with Ellis Park staff prior to arrival, as there is limited space available each racing day.
- Owners and the media should enter through the paddock pavilion entrance, where they will undergo thermal screening and have their name and contact information recorded.
Ellis Park hopes to add two additional outdoor seating areas in phases as the summer progresses; 40 grandstand box seats opening in July in addition to boxes, which will accommodate four people each, will be sold as reserved seating and also have food and beverage delivered by servers. A third phase could see six-seat picnic tables on the racetrack apron sometime in early August.
The 2020 RUNHAPPY Summer Meet at Ellis Park includes the Kentucky Derby and Oaks qualifying races–the RUNHAPPY Ellis Park Derby and RUNHAPPY Audubon Oaks-in addition to the RUNHAPPY Juvenile and RUNHAPPY Debutante Aug. 9. The winner of the RUNHAPPY Preview Turf Sprint–one of five Kentucky Downs Preview Day stakes races Aug. 2-will receive a fees-paid spot in Kentucky Downs’ GIII RUNHAPPY Turf Sprint the following month. The meet’s 2-year-old open maiden races are also sponsored by RUNHAPPY.