An application has been filed by WKY Development to construct a horse racing track in Oak Grove in 2020.
The company is a joint venture between Keeneland and Churchill Downs and a news release says it filed an application Tuesday with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission requesting live Standardbred racing dates at CDI’s old Louisville Downs racing venue located at Derby City Gaming in Louisville for 2019 and in 2020 at its proposed venue in Oak Grove in Christian County.
If approved by the commission, beginning in 2020, live Standardbred racing would permanently move to the proposed Oak Grove venue raising the profile of the Kentucky circuit and building larger purses in the process.
Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack, is quoted as saying, “Bringing Standardbred racing to Louisville in 2019 and then to Christian County in 2020 and beyond is critical to maintain Kentucky’s preeminent status as the horse racing capital of the world. We are optimistic the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will approve our application to ensure the standardbred horse racing circuit continues to thrive in the Commonwealth.”
The track owners say a proposed facility in Oak Grove represents a $125 million economic development project for Christian County, creating nearly 400 direct full and part time equivalent positions and an estimated 800 direct construction jobs. Aspects of the project include a historical racing machine facility featuring up to 1,500 machines, a 125-room hotel with event center and food/beverage venues, a 1,200-person capacity grandstand and event space for indoor events, a 3,000-person capacity outdoor amphitheater and stage, and a state-of-the-art equestrian center including indoor and outdoor arenas.
The Horse Racing Commission has declined to vote on any new projects in the recent past.