Turfway Park

Citing Need to 'Chase Profitability,' CDI Outlines Different Paths for IL, KY Tracks

An earnings conference call with investors Thursday morning underscored that Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), intends to sell Arlington International Racecourse near Chicago for "non-horse racing" purposes. The gaming corporation with six Thoroughbred tracks in its portfolio also announced Feb. 25 that the previously halted reconstruction project at Turfway Park has resumed now that a Kentucky bill to legally redefine historical horse race [HHR] gaming has been signed into law. But pandemic-delayed flagship property plans for a hotel, HHR facility, and track amenities expansion at Churchill Downs itself all remain on...

[ Read More ]
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...

[ Read More ]
Turfway Operator Error Led to Pavement Chunks in New Tapeta Surface

Human error on the part of a heavy equipment operator at Turfway Park has been identified as the cause of several chunks of pavement being discovered in the recently installed Tapeta Footings synthetic track at Turfway Park that just opened for racing in December. During the Jan. 26 Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) advisory board meeting, Tyler Picklesimer, Turfway's director of racing and racing secretary, was asked to update the board on how the new Tapeta surface was performing. Picklesimer told the board members via teleconference that, "We've had no...

[ Read More ]
Numbers Up at Turfway's Holiday Meet

Northern Kentucky's Turfway Park wrapped up a five-week holiday meet Dec. 31 with increases in wagering, average daily handle, and field size. All-sources wagering for the meet was up to $32.3 million, a 34.6% or $8.3-million increase from last year in spite of three fewer race dates. The average daily handle of $2.48 million was up 65.6% from the previous year's number of $1.5 million. In addition, average field size grew slightly from 10.3 starters per race to 10.5. A new Tapeta surface was installed last summer. Jockey Gerardo Corrales...

[ Read More ]
Kentucky Advances Clenbuterol Regulations; Turfway Switches Weekly Race Days

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) advanced a proposal Dec. 8 that will create a set of new regulations designed to curb clenbuterol's off-label abuse as a lean muscle mass builder. The move is part of a trend this year among North American racing jurisdictions aiming to eliminate clenbuterol's misuse as a performance enhancer while putting in place restrictions that will still allow the drug to be prescribed for its intended purpose as a bronchodilator to treat airway disease. The new Kentucky rules on clenbuterol will require 1) A specific...

[ Read More ]
Turfway Construction Halted Until KY Clears Up Historical Racing Ambiguity

Turfway Park's new grandstand and historical racing machine (HRM) facility won't get built until the state of Kentucky clears up the ambiguity surrounding the apparent illegality of that form of video gambling, which contributes tens of millions of dollars annually to purses in the state. That news was delivered by Bill Carstanjen, chief executive officer of Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), in an Oct. 29 third-quarter earnings call with investors. CDI, a gaming corporation with six Thoroughbred tracks in its portfolio, acquired Turfway last year and soon thereafter embarked upon a...

[ Read More ]
HHR Fate Still 'Elephant in the Room' As KHRC Grants '21 Race Dates

Saying he'd "like to briefly address the elephant in the room," Kentucky Horse Racing Commission chairman Jonathan Rabinowitz opened the board's Oct. 20 videoconference meeting by attempting to reassure the racing community that elected and appointed officials are working to find a solution to a Sept. 24 Supreme Court of Kentucky opinion that told a lower court to re-examine the legality of historical horse race (HHR) gaming. HHR handled $2.2 billion during the commonwealth's most recent fiscal year, and revenue from that form of gaming annually contributes tens of millions...

[ Read More ]
More Ky Outfits to Winter at Turfway Despite Muted Purse Projections

Turfway Park, currently in the midst of being demolished and rebuilt under new corporate ownership, is projecting 2,400 applications for 900 stalls for the upcoming 52-date combined holiday, winter, and spring meets that will open Dec. 2. But even though a larger-than-usual number of Kentucky racing outfits are expected to remain at Turfway for the winter instead of shipping out to warmer-climate race meets, track officials told members of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) advisory committee during an Oct. 6 video meeting that purse expectations should be tempered because...

[ Read More ]
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...

[ Read More ]
CDI 'Strongly Positioned,' but $300M Expansion Delayed

In a first-quarter earnings conference call on Thursday, Bill Carstanjen, the chief executive officer of Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), said he was "more than cautiously optimistic" that the Sep. 5 GI Kentucky Derby will proceed as rescheduled, ideally with spectators allowed to attend by adhering to whatever form of COVID-19 social distancing is appropriate at that time. As part of a broader scope of fiscal progress reports, Carstanjen also gave updates on construction projects at the gaming firm's two Thoroughbred racetrack properties in Kentucky, where work is both ongoing and...

[ Read More ]
Two COVID-19 Positives at Turfway; Churchill Reopening Remains Up in the Air

A pair of workers at Turfway Park--one backstretch worker and one track employee--have tested positive for coronavirus in recent weeks, according to a report first published by Blood-Horse. Turfway's parent company Churchill Downs ended the Turfway meet--which had been being conducted without spectators--three days earlier than scheduled last month, citing Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear's "Healthy at Home" executive order. Churchill Downs, Inc. spokesperson Tonya Abeln confirmed to the TDN Wednesday that the ill backstretch worker was symptomatic more than two weeks ago and was subsequently hospitalized and tested positive for...

[ Read More ]
Sales Cycle Disruption, Spectator-Free Racing Projected to Impact Keeneland Purses

Thursday was supposed to be opening day at Keeneland's spring meet, which has been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, officials who oversee the association's racecourse and sales company spent their afternoon on a video conference call with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC)'s race dates advisory committee explaining how Keeneland will face a situation that is markedly different from the state's other four Thoroughbred tracks when emergency public health mandates are relaxed enough to allow live racing to resume. Bob Elliston, Keeneland's vice president of racing and sales,...

[ Read More ]