Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Approves Purchase Of Turfway Park

Written By: Ishton W. Morton – October 9th, 2019

This is going to be a completely new facility

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) is an independent agency of state government charged with the responsibility of regulating the conduct of horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing and related activities within the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

On Tuesday, October 8th, 2019 Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approves Churchill Downs’ request to purchase Turfway Park.

According to history in 1986 Jerry Carroll and his partners purchased the Florence, Kentucky track facility and changed the name to Turfway Park.

Beforehand the track which is located approximately 10 miles south of the original Latonia Race Track in Covington, Kentucky hosted Thoroughbred racing from 1883 until it was torn down in 1939. However, in 1959 the Latonia Race Track reopened under the name of Latonia Race Course was opened.

On Saturday, September 18th, 1982, then called Latonia, the track became the first in Kentucky to offer simulcast wagering. On that day, That day Lemhi Gold win the Marlboro Cup at Belmont Park.

History teaches that on Wednesday, September 9th, 1987, Turfway became the first track in Kentucky to offer Pick 3 wagering. Also, one year and one day later simulcast wagering to Kentucky was introduced in Kentucky. Moreover, In 2003 it became the first track anywhere to install the Super Carrel, where players can watch replays, place bets, and even order food without leaving the carrel.

Furthermore Turfway Park is an American horse racing track located just outside the city limits to the north of Florence, Kentucky, roughly 10 miles south of the Ohio River at Cincinnati.

The track is noted for conducting live Thoroughbred horse racing during two meets each year. (1) Holiday (December), and Winter/Spring (January to late March/early April), and (2) it offers year-round simulcast wagering from tracks across the continent.

Accordingly, in 2009, the Horseplayers Association of North America introduced a rating system currently consisting of 62 Thoroughbred racetracks in North America. In 2016 Turfway gained the acknowledgement and ranking as the number eleventh track in North America.

Experts believes that more fun and enjoyment will be coming to Turfway with a bigger and better park.

Reportedly, The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has approved Churchill Downs Inc.’s request to purchase Turfway Park in Florence at a meeting this week.

Subsequently, on Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 Churchill Downs announced that it will be acquiring Turfway Park and will be building a new, state-of-the-art racing facility.

On Friday, October 4th, 2019 it was announced Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) will acquire Turfway Park from JACK Ohio LLC and Hard Rock International for $46 million. However, in total, Churchill Downs will invest up to $150 million to build a new grandstand and state-of-the-art facility in Florence. 

Accordingly, CDI has signed an agreement to acquire Turfway Park from its current owners, JACK Ohio LLC, an affiliate of JACK Entertainment LLC and Hard Rock International, for $46 million in cash.

Here we go again! CDI plans to demolish the existing Turfway Park grandstand to make way for the development of Turfway Park Racing & Gaming, which will be a new, state-of-the-art thoroughbred racing facility.

It is projected that the new facility will create 400 full-time and part-time jobs. It will include up to 1,500 machines, a clubhouse, food and beverage venues and a new inner dirt track to complement the existing one-mile synthetic main racetrack.

This is the most classic perception of what is expected of a facilities management role: one who assumes responsibility as the primary manager of the facility, or a leader of a facilities team. In order to maintain a level of differentiation or uniqueness, buildings are often not built identical; as such this role requires sufficient ability to plan and problem solve across various situations.

Ultimately, the primary goal of this role is to ensure optimal functioning of a building’s system, which often includes maintenance, regulations and perhaps tackling sustainability challenges and at times could be deceptive.. It tends to get people completely excited over the prospect of finding a job which sometimes is like unto counting chickens before you see the eggs.

Additionally, responsible for orchestrating results, oftentimes those who advance to these roles have a background in business, architecture or similar. Skills that define the Facility Manager of the future also include that of a consultant, designer and service manager. However, in the words of the Rev. Jessie Jackson, “Keep Hope A Live!”

According to Burr Travis a Northern Kentucky attorney and former Kentucky Horse Racing Commission member; “This is going to be a completely new facility. The building at Turfway had been damaged from storm and insurance situation and really had not been repaired and kept up the way you would expect a normal racetrack to be.”

He continued to say, many people said they were frustrated that Turfway Park never installed historic race gaming and slot machines but have high hopes for the racing facility’s future through Churchill Downs.

Additionally, Joyce Tappan, a horse owner and who has been in the horse business for around 40 years had this to say; “Everybody thinks of racing, they think of Louisville and Lexington. But this used to be a big number up here, so it can be again. I have great hope that this is going to bring it all together.”

Tappan continues to believe that the transition will help attract new fans to the horse races.

Meanwhile, Travis added; “The attraction of horse racing and slots and the people that will be coming here because of the higher purses, the better horses, the better horsemen. I think it’s going to have a tremendous value there for Northern Kentucky.”

Travis is firm believer that the new racing facility should have a derbylike feel. And, “of the 150,000 people that comes to the Derby, how many of those 150,000 are really horse people, per se? They’re there for a good time, to be with other people, to have friends over. And this should be the same way at Turfway Park, because that’s the way Churchill operates.”

Excitement! Excitement! Excitement is in the air! At the meeting, the  Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) had this to say, “demolition of the current Turfway Park grandstand and construction of the new racing facility will begin at the end of winter racing season in April.”

Author: Ishton W. Morton

Formerly, Ishton W. Morton is an educator and promoter for community advocacy which includes creating programs and services, developing partnerships, and changing public policies, laws, and practices to improve the lifestyle of all people I’m still having an overwhelming desire to provide an Outreach Continuing Education process through this media.