Quarter horse racing is coming to Kentucky. On Tuesday, the state’s Horse Racing Fee (KHRC) voted unanimously to approve Revolutionary Racing’s utility to construct a $55 million observe in Ashland.
Groundbreaking is predicted to happen later this 12 months.
With the award, all 9 of Kentucky’s racing licenses have now been awarded. Moreover being the primary quarter horse observe within the state, it’ll even be the primary observe within the northeastern a part of the state.
Revolutionary Racing involves Ashland after working with Peninsula Pacific Leisure to revive Colonial Downs in Virginia three years in the past.
There’s a confirmed playbook and an acceptable time period: This isn’t our first rodeo,” Revolutionary Racing Chairman Larry Lucas informed On line casino.org after the KHRC assembly in Lexington. “We plan on utilizing that experience to execute and make it extremely worthwhile for us and for the opposite stakeholders, together with the horsemen and the commonwealth.”
The fee’s approval comes only a month after a casual presentation. Lucas, different members of the Revolutionary Racing group, and officers from Boyd County answered questions on their venture on the KHRC’s June 21 assembly.
HHR Parlor Additionally Deliberate
Together with the observe license, Revolutionary Racing can even get the power to supply historic horse racing (HHR) machines. They’re gaming machines that appear to be slot machines. Nonetheless, every wager relies on the result of beforehand run races moderately than a random quantity generator.
There are greater than 5,500 HHR machines at Kentucky tracks and satellite tv for pc amenities throughout the state. The rise of HHR over the previous decade has been credited with bettering the standard of horse racing within the state and positioning Kentucky as a prime year-round racing market.
“We are going to quick observe each of them,” Lucas stated of each the observe and the HHR parlor. “But it surely’s in all people’s greatest curiosity, particularly the racing neighborhood, that we get the HHR facility up ahead of later.”
HHR machines are additionally very worthwhile. The seven tracks and HHR satellite tv for pc amenities gained $54.9 million out of $633.4 million wagered in Might. After taxes and funds to breeding growth funds, the tracks cleared $45.5 million.
Revolutionary Racing plans to construct its HHR facility at an outdated Sears retail retailer in a mall adjoining to the 177-acre property the place the observe and equestrian middle shall be constructed.
There are additionally plans for a satellite tv for pc facility. Revolutionary Racing should find that inside 60 miles of the observe, in keeping with KHRC rules.
Huge Transfer for Jap Kentucky Neighborhood
Ashland is a metropolis with a inhabitants of about 20,000, and Boyd County has about 48,000. They’re positioned between Portsmouth, Ohio, and Huntington, WV, and a part of the Huntington metro space, which incorporates greater than 350,000 individuals.
The arrival of gaming within the space is a giant step, particularly contemplating that Boyd County, till simply two years in the past, was a “moist county,” that means it had restricted alcohol gross sales. A countywide vote to go fully moist in 2020 handed by a greater than 2-to-1 margin.
Boyd County Decide-Govt Eric Chaney, a Republican, informed On line casino.org Tuesday that extra individuals opposed going moist than opposed bringing gaming to the county.
Chaney added that since changing into the judge-executive within the county, he’s modified how the county has pursued financial growth to deal with high quality of life points and make the realm a draw for vacationers and guests. He stated the KHRC’s licensing Revolutionary Racing was a win for the neighborhood,
“We’re constructing a really sturdy basis to have the ability to transfer Jap Kentucky and Boyd County in a course that’s going to advertise high quality of life exponentially,” he stated.
AQHA Excited About Kentucky Alternative
There’s no official time line but for when racing might begin on the Ashland observe. Lucas informed On line casino.org that Revolutionary Racing is working with the KHRC and different stakeholders to align with the opposite tracks within the state and the opposite quarter horse tracks.
In an announcement to On line casino.org, Janet VanBebber, chief racing officer for the American Quarter Horse Affiliation, stated the group has talked with Revolutionary Racing a number of instances concerning the firm’s plans. Revolutionary Racing has not but submitted its utility. Nonetheless, the AQHA is worked up concerning the alternative to have their sport in what many contemplate the horse capital of the world.
“As we navigate the vital path towards implementation of reside racing, know that our management shall be reviewing observe design, dedication to ample racing alternative, and different elements earlier than affording remaining approval,” VanBebber stated. “We’re devoted to the safety of each horse and rider and securing a viable alternative for our members to showcase their equine athletes. We sit up for partaking with Revolutionary Racing on this pursuit.”
Quarter horses are shorter and heavier than thoroughbreds. Additionally they race sooner over shorter distances.
Final 12 months, the AQHA ran greater than 6,200 races with purses valued at $126.1 million. The full quantity wagered on these races was $344.1 million.
Revolutionary Racing stated it expects to supply each day purses of $500,000 throughout its meets.
By comparability, there have been greater than 33,500 thoroughbred races final 12 months within the US, with purses valued at $1.18 billion. Bettors wagered $12.21 billion on thoroughbred races final 12 months.
State Lawmaker Questions Award
Not everybody appeared to purchase into Revolutionary Racing’s proposal. After the KHRC’s vote, Kentucky Senate Majority Ground Chief Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown), a racing trade veteran, questioned why the company carried out little due diligence. He additionally questioned why there have been no questions concerning the group hiring the son of a commissioner as its lead legal professional.
Thayer additionally criticized Revolutionary Racing because the “hand-picked applicant” by Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat.
Performed at particular assembly so @AndyBeshearKY hand-picked applicant may very well be granted the license. Little due diligence, no questions on questionable background of the person main the group or its hiring of a commissioner’s son as lead lawyer. @janetpattonhl @_AustinHorn (1/2) https://t.co/8ER2NhLkAL
— damon thayer (@damon_thayer) July 26, 2022
“I’ve no points with a brand new quarter horse observe in Ashland. However the course of is problematic,” Thayer tweeted. “Pushed by the Governor, executed months forward of annual race dates utility assembly. Why the frenzy?? I shall be watching intently.”
Revolutionary Racing didn’t instantly reply to a message in search of remark.