Kentucky Downs

Grass is Greener at Kentucky Downs

The most savvy European horse people have long had autumn dates annually etched onto their calendars at courses like Woodbine, Arlington, Keeneland and Belmont, where sizable purses are up for the taking for those enterprising enough to travel. As the tempo begins to climb toward those fall features, however, there is another American racecourse that has gotten first run, and it is possible you have never even heard of it. Beginning on Sept. 7 through Sept. 16, The Runhappy Meet at Kentucky Downs-situated 2 1/2 hours southwest of Lexington on...

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Ky Downs Set to Open The Mint Gaming Hall in September

Kentucky Downs will open its Mint Gaming Hall, a new 30,000 square-foot historical horse racing (HHR) in early September, and will coincide with the track's live six-day racing meet. The hall, which will add more than 600 historical horse racing terminals, will also include a new multi-media Center Bar, entertainment stage and a new high-limit betting area. The addition of The Mint Gaming Hall is the first of a multi-phase expansion and growth plan that began last year since it was sold in March 2019. "We are always seeking ways...

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Kentucky Downs Stakes Schedule Released

Kentucky Downs' six-day live meet in September will include 16 stakes, headlined by the Runhappy Meet at Kentucky Downs. The all-turf festival, which will be contested Sept. 7, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 16, includes five graded stakes, four of those are showcased on the Sept. 12 card--the $1-million GIII Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup; GIII Runhappy Turf Sprint (a Breeders' Cup 'Win and You're In' for the BC Turf Sprint Nov. 7); GIII Three Chimneys Ladies Turf; and GIII Spendthrift Farm Ladies Sprint. The card will also feature the...

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Beshear: KY Historical Racing Facilities Can Reopen Monday

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced on Thursday that the state's four historical horse racing (HHR) facilities can re-open Monday, June 8 after having been shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) released the following statement in response: "KEEP applauds Governor Beshear's announcement that historical horse racing (HHR) facilities can reopen on June 8, 2020. KEEP commends the Governor and the horse industry for working together on this solution, which will allow the facilities to operate at one-third capacity and provide a safe environment for the...

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KTDF in ‘Fragile’ State; Ellis ‘Moving Heaven and Earth’ to Have Race Meet

As the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) closes in on the three-month mark without being able to generate money via historical horse race (HHR) gaming and on-track wagering, Bill Landes III, the chairman of the fund's advisory committee, warned in a public teleconference meeting Wednesday that the money that gets allocated to pay a portion of purses on the state's racing circuit is running dangerously low. Although no specific dollar amounts were mentioned about how dry the funding is because of the recent COVID-19 business closures, a real-life example of...

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Collmus to Join Wrona As Kentucky Downs Announcers

Larry Collmus, the voice of NBC's Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup broadcasts, will join Michael Wrona in the announcer's booth for Kentucky Downs's six-day live race meet, the track announced Tuesday. "I'm excited about calling the races at Kentucky Downs and looking forward to getting back in action," said Collmus, who was the New York Racing Association announcer from 2015 through last fall after spending a year calling the races at Churchill Downs. "The purses at Kentucky Downs are second to none and the unique layout is a fun challenge....

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Runhappy $100K Bonus Extended to Belmont

The Runhappy bonus program, which will reward owners of 2-year-olds by Claiborne Farm freshman sire Runhappy (Super Saver) $100,000 for winning an unrestricted maiden race at Saratoga first time out, has been extended to the corresponding races at the Belmont meeting, set to kick off the week of June 1. The bonus will be paid by owner Jim McIngvale, who campaigned Runhappy to victories in the GI King's Bishop S. and GI Breeders' Cup Sprint en route to being named champion sprinter of 2015. "We're really excited about the New...

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Ilium Breaks into Racing

A lifelong racing fan, Angelo Freda decided to make his dream of racehorse ownership into a reality and, along with his son James, started Ilium Stables with the purchase of two yearlings at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Already with a stakes winner on its resume, the stable added a daughter of Into Mischief purchased for $200,000 at last week's OBS March sale. "This is something that I always had a dream about doing," Angelo Freda said. "But I didn't want to do it alone. My son does a...

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KHRC Approves Date Shift to September

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) unanimously voted at a special meeting Thursday to allow Churchill Downs to shift five "optional" Wednesday race dates from its spring meet to Sept. 1-5 to accommodate the track's coronavirus-related rescheduling of the entire Tuesday-through-Saturday GI Kentucky Derby race week. The KHRC's approval came after two other Kentucky tracks that have already been granted traditional race dates during that September time block indicated they would be amenable to working out a compromise for the betterment of the entire circuit. That means Ellis Park will...

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Coronavirus Update: Mar. 16

As the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic continues to wreak its havoc on society at large, racing and racing-related operations continue to be impacted. Oaklawn Park announced late Sunday that the adjoining casino will be closed for a period of two weeks beginning Monday with the announcement that two people in Garland County have tested positive for the virus. Operations will be suspended through Mar. 30 in the casino, the Silks Bar & Grill, Bistro 2075 and the sports book. The track is committed to holding racing without spectators. Gulfstream Park announced...

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After the Feds Are Gone, Then What?

The FBI and the Department of Justice have done what the horse racing industry had failed to do for decades. They caught and are prosecuting high-profile trainers for doping infractions as part of an investigation that has finally torn the lid off of what had been the shadowy and secretive world inhabited by racing's cheaters. The entire industry owes a debt of gratitude to these agencies. The problem is, it's not the FBI's job to clean up horse racing. It has more important matters to deal with. There may be...

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Hammerle, Neumeier, Gryder Join Kentucky Downs Team

Rick Hammerle, among horse racing's most respected and innovative officials; popular New England sportscaster and former NBC racing analyst Bob Neumeier, and jockey Aaron Gryder are joining the team at Kentucky Downs. Hammerle will serve as Kentucky Downs' director of horsemen's relations and racing operations, working closely with racing secretary Tyler Picklesimer and senior vice president and general manager Ted Nicholson. Hammerle spent the past 16 years directing Santa Anita's racing program as racing secretary. "I'm a utility man; I'll do whatever they need," said Hammerle, who recently was also...

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