Churchill Downs discusses big plans for Ellis Park

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Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 4:44 PM CDT
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HENDERSON, Ky. (WFIE) - Officials with Churchill Downs took some time to speak with us about Thursday’s big announcement.

Churchill Downs Senior VP of Corporate Development Jason Sauer says they are buying Ellis Park for $79 million, and they will also spend another $75 million, over the next two years, on the Henderson track and the entertainment venue in Owensboro.

He says both venues with help each other. The entertainment venue will generate purse dollars, and that will help fuel the racing product at Ellis Park.

”We’re doing a lot of things around the country, but this transaction is really about the opportunity to something special in our back yard, in Henderson and Owensboro, and we’re excited about it,” said Sauer.

He says the agreement will help keep great racehorses in the Commonwealth.

”Ellis Park has a great meet right now, but there are a lot of Kentucky-based horses that after Churchill completes its meet in June, go out of state, go to New York or some other states for their race meet. A lot of this is about us wanting to keep more of those Kentucky-based horses, Kentucky-based trainers, in Kentucky year-round,” said Sauer.

Planned improvements include a track extension in Henderson, and the entertainment venue at Owensboro’s Towne Square Mall will feature 600 HRMs and a simulcast wagering center.