Ellis Park is Open for Business
The Ellis Park Racecourse has been a part of horse racing history in Kentucky since as far back as 1922. Although wagering and features such as starting gates and paddocks, have changed over the years, Ellis Park Racecourse has always been known as a racecourse that has an atmosphere of nostalgia and which overflows with charm and warmth. Not surprisingly, loyal supporters and the horse racing industry felt the sting of disappointment when live racing did not start on the 4th of July as it usually does, and Ellis Park Racecourse faced permanent closure.
A dispute between Ellis Park Racecourse owner, Ron Geary, and the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association led to closure of the track last week. Fierce negotiations began between the parties as horses and their owners waited aimlessly, unsure of their next move, as anticipated racing events had been cancelled. The dispute was in regard to the percentage of funds distributed from the advanced deposit wagering handle.
Fortunately, agreements were made and the track has reopened, with live racing restarting on Friday, 11 July 2008. Ellis Park Racecourse has agreed to pay six percent of the advanced deposit wagering handle (wagers placed by phone or over the internet) to the Ellis Park purse fund and to accommodate the demands made by the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. The racecourse will be hosting five day racing weeks and will complete the season that ends in September 2008.
Simulcasts of the horse racing will also be televised and broadcasts to the internet wagering sites will also be made. As usual, the racing will be accompanied by entertainment and exciting activities, and racing will start off big on the first day, with approximately ninety-six horses being entered at the racecourse and full fields of contenders being available for the ten races lined up for Friday. Horsemen, spectators and Ron Geary are overjoyed that a settlement could be reached and that racing at Ellis Park Racecourse will once again take place. It is hoped that higher purses will attract more horses, as more horses means an increase in spectators and wagering, in all its shapes. Negotiations with other racecourses are still ongoing, and hopefully the agreement reached at Ellis Park Racecourse can serve as a platform for other racecourses.