HENDERSON, Ky. (WFIE) - While Ellis Park is more than three months away from its first live meet of the 2020 season, lots of changes are currently underway at the local horse racing track.
Renovations have been ongoing at the 98-year-old horse racing facility in Henderson for quite some time.
Ellis Park was bought by the New Mexico-based Laguna Development Corporation in June 2019.
Since the $11 million purchase was approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, corporation officials pledged to invest $100 million into upgrading the property. These upgrades include widening the turf course, adding lights to the track for night racing, as well as renovating the grandstand and concession stands.
Ellis Park Director of Racing Operations Jeff Hall spoke with 14 Sports to provide an update on how the renovations are progressing.
“We hope the groundbreaking for the new gaming area to be within the next three or four weeks,” Hall said. “We’ve got 36 lights going up. We started setting the bases this week, and they’re about 30% of the way through the bases. Then we’ll have the poles and the fixtures come in altogether, and then we’ll have to assemble the poles and put the fixtures on. Turf track is going to be widened by 24 feet. It’s going to add another three lanes for the turf. We’ll let it sit for a year and we’ll have to let the grass grow, and it’s bermuda (grass), so the hotter it gets, the better it grows. We’re also going to be building a new tote board, so we’ll use the old tote board this year, while they’re building the new tote board behind it.”
Hall says some of the work is already finished and most of the renovations are expected to be completed by opening day on June 28.