Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) (Nasdaq: CHDN), in partnership with Keeneland Association (“Keeneland”), broke ground today on a $150 million, state-of-the-art, live and historical horse racing venue in Oak Grove, Kentucky. CDI and Keeneland also unveiled the name and branding for the venue, which will be called Oak Grove Racing & Gaming.
The new facility will be constructed in two overlapping phases. The first phase will include the development and construction of the harness race course, overnight stable facility and race-day paddock stable facility which will be completed in time for our inaugural live race meet in October 2019. The second phase of the project, scheduled to open in the first half of 2020, will feature up to 1,500 historical horse racing machines; a 128-room hotel; a grandstand with seating capacity for 1,200 and event space for indoor events; a 3,000-person capacity outdoor amphitheater and stage; an equestrian center including indoor and outdoor arenas as well as a 30 pad RV park.
“Horse racing is an integral part of Kentucky's history and culture, and Churchill Downs is thrilled to further invest in our state's signature industry through Oak Grove Racing & Gaming,” Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said. “We have seen the tremendous impact Derby City Gaming in Louisville has already had on both the racing industry and local community, and we expect the same degree of success here in Christian County.”
“Keeneland is proud to play a role in strengthening the Commonwealth's horse racing industry and creating new opportunities for horsemen and racing enthusiasts in Kentucky and beyond,” Keeneland Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Vince Gabbert said. “The jobs, tourism, and revenue generated by Oak Grove Racing & Gaming is good news, not just for Christian County, but for all of Kentucky. A win for horse racing is a win for us all.”
Oak Grove Racing & Gaming is the only venue of its kind in Kentucky and will be a welcome addition to Christian County. The facility is expected to create nearly 400 direct full- and part-time equivalent positions and an estimated 800 direct construction jobs. More information regarding job fairs and hiring will be released in the coming months.
In December 2018, CDI and Keeneland announced they had been awarded a racing license by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for twelve live Standardbred racing dates in 2019 at Oak Grove. The new venue replaces important Standardbred racing opportunities lost due to the closure of Thunder Ridge Park in eastern Kentucky.
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