Keeneland, gaming company move to buy harness track license

by | 02.14.2013 | 6:35pm

The Keeneland Association and Full House Resorts, a Las Vegas-based gaming company, have filed a letter of intent with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to purchase the racing license of Thunder Ridge Raceway, a small harness-racing track in the Eastern Kentucky town of Prestonsburg that has struggled financially. The purchase would be contingent on judicial or legislative approval of historic racing, according to Julie Balog, speaking on behalf of Keeneland. 

Historic racing, currently offered at Kentucky Downs and Ellis Park in Kentucky in the form of Instant Racing machines, has been challenged in court by its opponents and the case will be heard by the Kentucky Supreme Court.
Sources said Keeneland and Full House Resorts would seek to transfer the harness racing license to Quarter horse racing at a track located near London or Corbin, Ky. Thunder Ridge has offered low-level standardbred racing and can take simulcasting wagering on Thoroughbred tracks.

Historic racing, currently offered at Kentucky Downs and Ellis Park in Kentucky in the form of Instant Racing machines, has held up to legal challenges, but its opponents have carried the argument to the Kentucky Supreme Court, which will decide the case.

Sources said Keeneland and Full House Resorts would seek to transfer the harness racing license to Quarter horse racing at a facility to be constructed near London or Corbin, Ky. Thunder Ridge has offered low-level standardbred racing and is permitted to take simulcast wagering on Thoroughbred tracks.

Following is a statement from Keeneland on the deal: “Today, the Keeneland Association, along with Full House Resorts, has filed a non-binding letter of intent with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to acquire the assets of Appalachian Racing, Inc. which includes Thunder Ridge Raceway.

 

“The letter of intent is contingent upon the confirmation—either by legislative or judicial means—of the historical racing administrative regulations already approved by Governor Beshear and the KHRC and whose products already are in place at Kentucky Downs and Ellis Park. We anticipate that legislation will be filed prior to Tuesday's deadline.”

  • John Greathouse

    Excellent

  • John Greathouse

    Excellent

  • Dave M

    Excellent, except for the fact it puts a death nail in the harness racing industry in the state.  Something needed to be done with the facility, but selling it to the casino interests and Keeneland was not the right move.  Believe me, they dont care at all about the racing.  If they wanted a ‘state of the art’ quarter horse track, this entire deal wouldn’t be contingent on ‘Instant Racing’ gaming being passed. 

    Gaming, Gaming, Gaming, Gaming….  The only real question is whether the governor will smash all their plans by putting the kabosh on Instant Racing all together.  One can only hope. 

  • Dave M

    Excellent, except for the fact it puts a death nail in the harness racing industry in the state.  Something needed to be done with the facility, but selling it to the casino interests and Keeneland was not the right move.  Believe me, they dont care at all about the racing.  If they wanted a ‘state of the art’ quarter horse track, this entire deal wouldn’t be contingent on ‘Instant Racing’ gaming being passed. 

    Gaming, Gaming, Gaming, Gaming….  The only real question is whether the governor will smash all their plans by putting the kabosh on Instant Racing all together.  One can only hope. 

  • Juleswins3

    Hmm, I thought Keeneland had no interest in gaming or racinos. My mistake.

  • Juleswins3

    Hmm, I thought Keeneland had no interest in gaming or racinos. My mistake.

  • Avc34

    if tou can not even get a drink in many areas how can you expect to gamble back to the Hills..

    • Makingachangeitworks

      One of the prime locations for the track… 100 acres directly adjacent to I75 is wet so alcohol could be served.

  • Avc34

    if tou can not even get a drink in many areas how can you expect to gamble back to the Hills..

  • Makingachangeitworks

    One of the prime locations for the track… 100 acres directly adjacent to I75 is wet so alcohol could be served.

  • Stanley inman

    Please inform, (somebody)
    How racing in Kentucky, and Keeneland specifically,
    benefits from
    London ky. And surrounds betting
    On historical races.
    I remember the failed attempt at Somerset OTB;
    The per capita income for this area is dismal;
    Did Keeneland forget this location is in federal designated area called
    Appalachia
    Is this thinking
    Outside the box or more like
    Mountaintop removal

  • Stanley inman

    Please inform, (somebody)
    How racing in Kentucky, and Keeneland specifically,
    benefits from
    London ky. And surrounds betting
    On historical races.
    I remember the failed attempt at Somerset OTB;
    The per capita income for this area is dismal;
    Did Keeneland forget this location is in federal designated area called
    Appalachia
    Is this thinking
    Outside the box or more like
    Mountaintop removal

  • David

    It’s called money on the sidelines, a partner with real
    motivation, conveys an implication this is not your father’s Keeneland (although
    it most definitely still is) and an opportunity to suggest it’s ‘all in’ for
    the ole industry here in KY.  This is
    news?

  • David

    It’s called money on the sidelines, a partner with real
    motivation, conveys an implication this is not your father’s Keeneland (although
    it most definitely still is) and an opportunity to suggest it’s ‘all in’ for
    the ole industry here in KY.  This is
    news?

  • Winninglongshotangles

    Full House Resorts recently relocated a race book to their Buffalo Thunder Casino north of Santa Fe New Mexico. Buffalo Thunder is the outfit that purchased Santa Fe Downs and promptly closed it a year or so later in order not to compete with its casino interests just fourteen miles north of the race track. The new facility although visually attractive, is extremely “player unfriendly” staffed by employees that have zero horse racing knowledge, TV’s that are so small the average guest over the age of forty cannot see the odds on any given screen. They do have a state of the art sound system, but forget about listening to any of the race calls. They just don’t allow it. Self service wagering terminals are antiquated, as are the mini TV’s in the main seating area. The examples of “Player Unfriendliness” go on and on. Maybe those of you in Eastern Kentucky can address some of these issues before it’s too late, and you have to deal with them in your own back yard. 

  • Winninglongshotangles

    Full House Resorts recently relocated a race book to their Buffalo Thunder Casino north of Santa Fe New Mexico. Buffalo Thunder is the outfit that purchased Santa Fe Downs and promptly closed it a year or so later in order not to compete with its casino interests just fourteen miles north of the race track. The new facility although visually attractive, is extremely “player unfriendly” staffed by employees that have zero horse racing knowledge, TV’s that are so small the average guest over the age of forty cannot see the odds on any given screen. They do have a state of the art sound system, but forget about listening to any of the race calls. They just don’t allow it. Self service wagering terminals are antiquated, as are the mini TV’s in the main seating area. The examples of “Player Unfriendliness” go on and on. Maybe those of you in Eastern Kentucky can address some of these issues before it’s too late, and you have to deal with them in your own back yard. 

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