The sale of Turfway Park to Churchill Downs Inc has been approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC). As expected, on Tuesday, the KHRC signed off on the US$46 million deal in which JACK Entertainment and Hard Rock International sold the racetrack to the operator. This deal now makes Churchill Downs the owner of two thoroughbred racetracks in Kentucky.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission unanimously approved the sale at a specially convened meeting. Therefore, this means Churchill will now take over Turfway’s traditional December to March meet schedule. “It seals up the year-round circuit in Kentucky…That was the one piece that was missing, was the winter dates,” said KHRC executive director Marc Guilfoil.
Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Priorities Align with Churchill Downs
Part of the deal for Turfway Park is the installation of more historical horse racing (HHR) machines by Churchill. It’s also a priority for the KHRC. JACK Entertainment has been criticized by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for not adding more HHR machines to Turfway. They even went as far as urging JACK to either get the machines or sell the track back in December. “We gave the rights to that in December 2015. They haven’t been up there yet. It’s a nice marketplace up there,” said the commission’s executive director.
Churchill Downs Inc’s Plans for Turfway Park
The Louisville-based gaming company plans to invest US$100 million in building a new grandstand. Additionally, it wants to add 1,500 HHR machines by the summer of 2021.
Furthermore, the company wants to increase the purse size that can be won at Turfway. The HHR parlor, the company said, will provide revenue to increase the purse size. Therefore, this will attract more entries to the track, bringing in more visitors and bettors. Currently, the purse for Turfway’s premier race – the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Stakes – is at US$200,000.
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