Churchill Downs, Inc. announced on Thursday it's intent to build a new Northern Kentucky racetrack and pursue winter race dates traditionally held by Turfway Park. Mark Dunkeson, Chief Executive Officer of JACK Entertainment, released the following statement on Friday.
“Following a lengthy competitive bidding process with a number of local and national companies, JACK Entertainment has been in the process of selling Turfway Park to Hard Rock International, a renowned brand and leader in the gaming and entertainment industry across the globe, since early April.
“The track submitted its annual application for the dates that have been historically been granted to Turfway Park in July of this year. Hard Rock has committed to regulators and Kentucky leaders to investing over $100 million into improving Turfway Park including the addition of historic racing machines, building race purses and significant enhancements to the racing business. Once these improvements are completed, Turfway will be an exceptional facility that is well positioned to carry on its rich history of thoroughbred racing while becoming an entertainment attraction for all of Northern Kentucky.
“We are shocked and thoroughly disappointed by Churchill Downs' recent attack on Turfway Park, which has been a significant part of the Northern Kentucky community for over 60 years. JACK Entertainment and Hard Rock International will jointly defend the long-standing race dates that have regularly been awarded to Turfway Park and contest the inappropriate actions of Churchill Downs and their attempt to disrupt the Northern Kentucky racing community.
“Churchill Downs' purported plan to relocate the 2020 winter racing dates to Louisville serves only the best interests of Churchill Downs as part of their desire to restrict competition within the Kentucky racing market for their own financial gain by interfering with the Turfway sale and blocking the Turfway enhancements without regard for the economic opportunity for Florence and Boone County or the traditional racing circuit.
“In addition to being a mainstay of the Kentucky racing circuit, Turfway Park's racing surface is specifically designed to run during the winter months and provides one of the safest environments for our human and equine athletes.”
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