Ellis Park's live race meet begins Sunday, but there were plenty of people at the track Saturday with staff, contractors, vendors and temporary employees hard at work painting, cleaning, pressure-washing, mowing, weed-eating and setting out flowers for the opener.
“LDC and Saratoga are committed to improving the facility, and this is just the start,” said Ellis Park general manager Jeff Hall, referring to Laguna Development Corporation, which bought the track through its Ellis Entertainment LLD subsidiary, and Saratoga Casino & Hospitality Group, the previous owner that is managing the 2019 race meet. “There are big plans in the works, but in the meantime we've spruced up the old girl as much as we could before time ran out. Our fans should look at this as the downpayment with much, much more to come.”
Ellis Park, built in 1922, is the second-oldest track in Kentucky behind Churchill Downs.
Ellis regulars will immediately notice the difference when they drive into the track, with the exterior getting a fresh coat of paint and new trim, as well as a new sign and significant landscaping.
Then there are infrastructure upgrades that guests might not notice, such as new roofs, and safety measures such as the removal of the first row of grandstand box seats. One major improvement will be felt rather than seen: new air conditioning – two industrial units for the clubhouse and three for the Sky Theatre. A new southern entrance to the gaming area is about to be completed but might not be done until after the opener.
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