Lucrative Kentucky Downs Meet Opens Sunday

FRANKLIN, Ky. - With huge purses offered during a mighty short season all run over a distinctive European-style turf course, the FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs has emerged as a gem of American racing. It's different, to be sure. Once an obscure little meet quietly contested at a track called Dueling Grounds in a small town on the border with Tennessee, much closer to Nashville than Kentucky's big cities, Louisville and Lexington, it has flourished, gotten noticed and embraced. This year it features six graded stakes, three of them with...

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Taxation Task Force to Look at HHR Rates

A Pari-Mutuel Wagering Taxation Task Force has been established in the Kentucky General Assembly to "study the taxes and rates related to horse racing, the impact that changing the rates would have, and the funds relating to the horse industry which receive historical horse racing tax receipts [and] determine if any changes should be made." The task force will be co-chaired by Kentucky State Senator Damon Thayer and House of Representatives member Adam Koenig. The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) issued a statement in support of the action Tuesday: "The...

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Churchill Abandons $300M On-Track Hotel Project

The gaming corporation that owns Churchill Downs Racetrack is abandoning plans to build a $300 million hotel and historical horse race (HHR) gaming facility on the first turn of the track. Instead, Churchill Downs Inc. (CDI) will focus on a three-phase expansion of its Louisville-area properties, with expected completion dates for each project dovetailing with the runnings of the next three GI Kentucky Derbies. Bill Carstanjen, CDI's chief executive officer, said during a Thursday earnings conference call that he was not at liberty to divulge details about the new projects...

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KY Governor Signs HHR Legislation

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed a bill on Historical Horse Racing (Senate Bill 120) Monday, which would assure that betting on historical machines is legal. The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky's equine economic advocate, released the following statement in response: "We thank Governor Beshear for signing Senate Bill 120 into law, which ensures the future of our equine industry while protecting thousands of local jobs. Kentuckians and the legislators who represent them have made clear that they support historical horse racing and the many benefits it brings to our...

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HHR Passes Ky House 55-38 After Emotional Debate

The bill to legalize historical horse race (HHR) gaming in Kentucky by defining "pari-mutuel wagering" to include previously run races passed in the House of Representatives by a 55-38 vote shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday, with seven legislators not casting votes. Capping an emotional and contentious—but always civil—floor debate that stretched over three hours Feb. 11, the most controversial bill of the 2021 Kentucky legislative session now heads to Governor Andy Beshear, who has previously indicated support for keeping HHR intact in Kentucky. The passage of SB 120 this week...

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HHR Bill Reported Favorably Out of Kentucky Senate Committee

The bill that attempts to legalize historical horse race (HHR) gaming in Kentucky by inserting a one-paragraph definition of "pari-mutuel wagering" into an existing state statute advanced with a favorable recommendation out of the Senate Licensing and Occupations Committee Feb. 4. SB120 will now be scheduled for a hearing before the full Kentucky Senate. Proponents testified that Kentucky's racing industry is in danger of economic devastation without the support of HHR to bolster purses, and that defining "pari-mutuel" for the first time within state laws is the appropriate way to...

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No Handout: Just A Level Playing Field

As the calendar turns to February and the countdown continues towards the adjournment of the Kentucky State Legislature on March 30, 2021, the Kentucky HBPA hosted a media event Tuesday morning at Skylight Training Center to get the word out on what Historical Horse Racing means to Kentucky racing and the impacts that would be felt by citizens across the Commonwealth if it were not protected by state legislature. Certain Historical Horse Racing (HHR) machines, electronic gambling systems that allow people to bet on replays of past horse races, cannot...

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Letter to the Industry: Coolmore Calls on Industry for HHR Support

Dear Friend of Coolmore America, As a valued client and friend of Coolmore America we need your help to take action and keep the Kentucky thoroughbred business strong and vibrant. Due to a recent ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court the future of the horse business in Kentucky along with the more than 60,000 jobs and more than $5.2 billion in economic impact is now at a crossroads and in jeopardy. Over the last decade historical horse racing has helped the horse industry flourish and has created thousands of jobs and...

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Dale Romans Op/Ed: Historical Horse Racing a Game Changer

As a second-generation horse trainer and Kentuckian, my entire life has been spent in Thoroughbred racing. I've seen Kentucky racing at its finest, and I've seen how quickly out-of-state competition can render us increasingly irrelevant. Right now Kentucky is at the top. But it doesn't have to stay that way. I currently have 50 employees and do business with more than 100 vendors in Kentucky alone. Without Historical Horse Racing (HHR) revenue supplementing the purses for which our horses compete, many of those jobs will have to leave the state,...

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Yet Another Horse Racing Bill Filed in Georgia

In what has become a nearly annual long-shot endeavor in Georgia, legislation has been filed to legalize pari-mutuel horse racing. The latest bill, SB30, was introduced Jan. 27 by Senator Brandon Beach, (R-Alpharetta). It shares the same title as the Rural Georgia Jobs and Growth Act that he filed during the 2019-20 legislative session. The 51-page bill would create a state racing commission that would have the power to issue licenses for up to three racetracks situated at least 125 miles apart that would be required to host 60-date minimum...

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HHR Bill With Support of Kentucky Senate President to be Filed Feb. 2

A Kentucky State Senator whose district includes Turfway Park said Thursday that he intends to file legislation and hold a hearing next week to make historical horse race (HHR) gaming legal, "maintaining the status quo" for the revenue flow that annually contributes tens of millions of dollars to purses in the state. "Next week, I will file legislation to keep historical horse racing operational in Kentucky," Senator John Schickel (R-Union) stated in a Jan. 28 press release first published by WTVQ.com. "The bill, which I am pleased to say will...

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Decision to Close HHR has brought Urgency to the Forefront

Two days after Keeneland Association and Red Mile announced they would be shutting their joint historical horse racing (HHR) venture at the Lexington harness racino while imploring the Kentucky legislature to provide "more clarity" regarding the disputed legal status of HHR, Vince Gabbert, Keeneland's vice president and chief operating officer, was called upon during the Jan. 26 Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) teleconference to explain why that decision was made in the absence of any formal order from state officials to cease HHR, which is ongoing at other licensed locations...

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