Update: Geary and KHBPA find middle ground - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Update: Geary and KHBPA find middle ground

By Brandon Bartlett
Posted by Mike Mardis

Update: The final stretch was a long one, but a victory was claimed Saturday night at Ellis Park.

After a week of ups and downs, park owner Ron Geary and members of the Kentucky Horsemen's Association were able to come to terms.

The two parties came to an agreement Saturday that will re-open the park on Friday, July 11.

Ellis Park's offices will open on Monday morning. Employees are asked to report to a briefing Tuesday, July 8 at 9:30 a.m. or 2:00 p.m.

The simulcast will re-open Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. and live racing will begin again Friday. Post time is 2:40 p.m.

After taking questions, then a closed door meeting, Geary delivered the good news.

"Ellis Park deserves a chance to shine again, and I think we're on our way to get there," Geary said.

The proposal agreed upon gives the Horseman's Association six percent of the money brought in from ADW accounts. That is money generated from online and phone betting.

"The compromise was they needed six percent and we came up with it," Geary said.

In the new one-year deal, Geary is giving up a portion of his percentage to the purse in order to bring the horsemen's cut from 2.5 percent to six percent.

"I've negotiated with 10 ADW's between five and eight percent," Geary said. "I've given the whole six percent to the horsemen's purse fund, then I'm going to try to make it up through other items. But it allows us to have good purse money. Hopefully we can raise our purses, and we can race a lot."

Geary said the deal is unheard-of in the horse racing industry. He said he is hoping it will attract more horses to the track, which will mean financial victory for Ellis.

"The most important thing now is that horsemen all across the state need to step up and support Ellis Park and bring their horses here to race, because our purses are going to be better than they used to be," Geary said.

Geary said he will now start calling all former employees back to work on Monday. Sunday morning the track will start taking entries for Friday, July 11, what is now scheduled to be Opening Day at Ellis.

Here are some of the key points in the proposal Geary presented to the Kentucky Horsemen's Association.

Agreeing to the proposal allows racing to start Friday, matches the demands of the KHBPA and contribute to the Ellis Park purse fund, an amount equal to six percent of ADW's, or one-third of take-out on all live races held at Ellis Park.

This will allow the park to honor the condition book issued in early May of 2008, which was approved by KHBPA.

The rate is almost three times the previous contributions, which could result in a purse increase for later meets.

Ellis will be able to maintain racing 5 days a week, that's 50 chances to run per week.

There is a possibility the 5 days missed during negotiations could be made up.

The park is exploring any state or local programs that may be available.

Previously: 14 News has learned Ellis Park owner Ron Geary, and members of the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, have come to terms and agreed to keep the park open.

Ellis Park will open for its 85th racing season Friday, July 11. Geary says he will immediately begin calling back all employees to start work Monday morning.

14 News is talking with Geary and members of the KHBPA to gather the latest information.

  14 News will have live, team coverage tonight on 14 News at 6 and 10.

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