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Thunder Ridge surrenders race license

October 23, 2017

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Thunder Ridge Raceway in eastern Kentucky, which opened in 1994, will not race a live harness meet in 2018 after surrendering its license. The action came during the monthly meeting of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) on Tuesday, Oct. 17, one day after Thunder Ridge officials withdrew their application for race dates next year.

The closing of Thunder Ridge leaves Kentucky with two harness racetracks: The Red Mile in Lexington and Bluegrass Downs in Paducah. With the deadline already past for requesting 2018 dates, neither track will pick up those lost by the closure of Thunder Ridge. However, The Red Mile asked for and was approved by the KHRC to race an additional three dates in 2018 as a result of incoming revenue from the Historical Racing machines.

In 2013, Keeneland Racecourse announced plans to purchase the Thunder Ridge license but that never came to fruition. Just last month, Keeneland and Churchill Downs announced plans to build two new racetracks in Kentucky, including one Quarter Horse track in the southeast part of Kentucky and one Standardbred track that would be located in Oak Grove, in the southwest corner of the Commonwealth near the Tennessee border.

However, KHRC chairman Frank Kling then announced that no new applications for the lone remaining license would be currently accepted. It is expected that nothing will change with the forfeiture of the Thunder Ridge license.

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