The Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader newspaper has reported that Keeneland, the Thoroughbred track based in Lexington, is planning to buy the harness track Thunder Ridge and intends to relocate the license to Corbin, KY, located in the southern part of the state, right off of Interstate 75, and offer a boutique Quarter Horse meet.
More importantly for harness racing in Kentucky, on Friday (Feb. 15) a bill was filed for legislative approval of Instant Racing. After being approved via the Kentucky6 Horse Racing Commission, the legality of Instant Racing was challenged by the Family Foundation in court, and is now before the state Supreme Court. Legislative approval likely would make the court case moot. The Red Mile and Keeneland have previously announced that they would partner on an Instant Racing venture at The Red Mile.
The Herald-Leader reported that Keeneland is partnering with Nevada-based Full House Resorts to buy Thunder Ridge and has filed paperwork with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. However, the Kentucky Harness Horsemen's Association (KHHA) has noted Thunder Ridge has 2013 harness dates which are at this point scheduled to be honored.
As for relocating the track, Keeneland CEO Bill Thomason said it had been reviewing buying the track for some time. "We've been very conservative, watching historical racing. It's been successful at Kentucky Downs and at Ellis Park," he told the Herald-Leader. "We think it's shown to be a viable product, and it's a part of what we can do now."
The KHHA said it was not contacted about harness racing being conducted at a new track in Corbin.
Instant Racing, a machine game using racing which have already been contested, was approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission in July 2010 and has been extremely successful at Kentucky Downs, located about 30 minutes from the Tennessee border, near Nashville.
Read more by clicking here.