Saratoga Harness Racing Inc.(Saratoga), owner of Saratoga Casino and Raceway in Saratoga Springs, NY, received unanimous approval on Tuesday by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to enter into an agreement with Ellis Park Race Course (Ellis) in Henderson, Ky., that provides for an equity ownership stake in Ellis.
Upon conclusion of the hearing on Tuesday, Saratoga was granted licensure allowing for the $4 million deal to close, providing Saratoga with 30% ownership at Ellis.
The agreement also provides for Saratoga to oversee all operational activities at the historic race track, including the recent installation of 187 instant racing machines. Under the terms of the agreement, SHRI will invest the capital needed to complete the remodeling of the ground floor of the clubhouse into an exciting new venue for the guests of Ellis to enjoy the Instant Racing Machines.
Ron Geary, owner of Ellis Park, said the deal will generate new revenue for the track, and was a natural fit when reviewing prospects. "Saratoga brings awealth of experience to Ellis Park,” he said."Their commitment to excellence will help ensure that instant racing machines are successful in bringing much needed support to Kentucky horse racing. I'm proud to partner with such a dedicated team and look forward to our future together.”
Saratoga has been working closelywith Geary for several weeks to prepare for the launch of Instant Racing Machines at Ellis, which opened to the public August 31.
"Ellis Park is a 90-year old race track steeped in racing tradition and revered throughout the country,” said Dan Gerrity, president of Saratoga Harness Racing, Inc. "Their commitment to both Kentucky horse racing and their local community is to be applauded and we look forward to helping expand upon what is already a long and storied history.”
The partnership also represents opportunity for economic development. The $3 million project to remodel the ground floor of the clubhouse required dozens of construction workers and has generated an additional 90 year-round jobs to support the new Instant Racing Machines and other offerings.
The expansion of the facility also brings plans for a new eatery based on Saratoga's "Lucky Joe's” and a large-scale bar, featuring many television screens for simulcast racing.
Guests will now be able to visit the property to play the machines from 10 a.m. through 2 a.m., seven days a week. Simulcast programs will also now be offered daily, which had originally only been available Wednesday through Sunday.
SHRI owns and operates Saratoga Casino andRaceway, in Saratoga Springs, NY, featuring over 1,700 slots; electronic table games; Vapor Night Club; two full-service restaurants with buffets; a casual dining restaurant; three full-service bars; a deli; live harness racing; andsimulcast wagering. SHRI is also a partner with Delaware North Companies in the operation of the Gideon Putnam Resort and Roosevelt Baths in Saratoga Springs, NY. Additional information about Saratoga Casino and Raceway can be found at the property's website, http://www.saratogacasino.com/.
"The instant racing machines will also help to bolster racing purses and generate more revenue in order to better compete withsurrounding casinos,” Geary said. "With Saratoga's partnership, Ellis Park will be able to offer more ways to inspire tourism, emphasizing our heritage and benefitting the community.” (Saratoga)