Kentucky Downs will offer a record $10 million in purses and Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund supplements at its five-date meet Sept. 1-13, with all 13 existing stakes getting increases and the creation of the $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint. The Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup and Tourist Mile had their purses raised to $750,000.
Ellis Park and Kentucky Downs are teaming again to boost the Kentucky racing circuit and keep horses and jobs in the state during the summer, with Kentucky Downs funding four new $100,000 turf stakes at Ellis on Aug. 5.
Roddy Valente, Rick Pitino's RAP Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Coach Rocks, fresh off a front-running maiden triumph over the same track, came with a relentless drive through the stretch to catch favored leader Take Charge Paula and win Saturday’s $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2). Coach Rocks had been second in a Kentucky Downs maiden race last September.
Hogy — who won a graded stakes for the first time in four years when taking last September’s Grade 3 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint — justified trainer Mike Maker’s belief that the gelding would stretch out to a mile, capturing Gulfstream Park’s Grade 3 Canadian Turf at age 9 on March 3. Now Maker is going to test Hogy again, this time against Grade 1 company at Keeneland. “Right now I’m all-in on the Maker’s Mark,” Maker said of the April 13 race worth $300,000. “He’s doing every bit as good as he was going into the Gulfstream race.... It was ultra-impressive. You know, Hogy is Hogy. All the credit goes to him. We wanted to stretch him out all along, and he justified our opinion. Five-eighths at Gulfstream or Del Mar, I didn’t believe was his best distance, even though he’s been doing it. At that time, there really wasn’t anything available for him sprint-wise. If we got egg on our face, we’d look to go to Belmont or Canada to go six or seven furlongs on turf. Now we’ve got plenty of options. ”
When Snapper Sinclair captured Kentucky Downs’ $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase Juvenile last September, it triggered the biggest day as horse owners for Texans Chuck and Lori Allen. The next race, Run Time rallied from well back to take one of Kentucky Downs’ $135,000 maiden races in his 11th attempt to gain his first victory.
“It was surreal, just to see that big white blaze charging down there at the end,” said Lori Allen. "... And the race immediately afterward was when Run Time broke his maiden. We were just nuts with ourself. I know how hard it is to win a race, and to win two in one day is just extraordinary."
The Allens now embark on a two-Saturday parlay with those same horses. Snapper Sinclair is among the favorites in the $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 24. A week later, Run Time runs in the $1 million Dubai Gold Cup at two miles.
FRANKLIN, Ky. — When Steve Thurmond helps Kentucky Downs celebrate its Grand Reopening this Friday, March 23, his motivation isn’t the t-shirt given out to the first 100 arrivals. He’ll be on hand to commemorate the 170 jobs that Kentucky Downs has created.
The Grand Reopening will feature other giveaways of merchandise, free play and cash spread throughout the festivities, which begin at 10 a.m. CT Friday and run until the facility closes for the night in Saturday’s wee hours. Nashville radio personalities do live remotes and two bands will perform. But for Thurmond, as executive director of the Franklin-Simpson County Chamber of Commerce, the special attractions afford a chance to publicly rejoice in what Kentucky Downs provides the community on a daily basis. Thurmond sees the most extensive renovation since the track opened in 1990 as a grand step in Kentucky Downs’ evolution as a destination attraction.
Michael Hui’s Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint winner Hogy, a durable 9-year-old millionaire gelding, surged away from seven younger rivals through the stretch to capture the $150,000 Canadian Turf (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Lead by Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup winner Oscar Nominated, six Kentucky Downs-raced horses face off in Saturday’s $200,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes at 1 3/8 miles on turf. The Grade 2 stakes is part of Gulfstream Park’s showcase card highlighted by the $400,000 Fountain of Youth for Kentucky Derby hopefuls.
You never want to get too far ahead of yourself when plotting out a schedule for a 9-year-old horse. But owner Michael Hui and trainer Mike Maker, who claimed the gelding for $80,000 last summer, do have one spot firmly penciled in for Hogy: Kentucky Downs’ 2018 meet. Yet to be determined is which race.
Mongolian Shopper won a starter-allowance race at the 2017 Kentucky Downs meet for horses that had competed for a claiming price of $10,000 or less. But she's become a star of sorts at Santa Anita, where she became the meet's first three-time winner in her stakes debut while paying $48.20 to win Saturday's Wishing Well for fillies and mares who had not won a graded stakes in a year.
Our renovation project is finally over . We're ready to celebrate and we want you to join us in the party! Read all about our Grand Reopening on Friday, March 23 in our February newsletter. Plus get updates on our #KyDownsgrads - horses that ran at our meet.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a photo that’s less and not been a dead-heat,” Jeff Bloom, who heads the partnership that campaigns Snapper Sinclair, said of the narrow defeat in the Fair Grounds' Grade 2, $400,000 Risen Star Stakes. “What was so tough is he was in front, in front, in front — missed it — in front, in front. It was like the only time the other horse got the head bob.
The new year will bring official unveiling of our renovations, permanent Finish Line pavilion, new reserved-seating area for groups, valet parking, paved lots -- and look for some stakes to be enhanced!
Record-setting Dueling Grounds Oaks winner Daddys Lil Darling finally got her Grade 1, but trainer Kenny McPeek doesn't discount that she'll back back at Kentucky Downs -- perhaps against males.
“The day I saw Tourist win the More Than Ready Mile convincingly in 2015 at Kentucky Downs, I knew I wanted to breed to him when I could," -- Kentucky Downs president Corey Johnsen
“You don’t get that old without having a heart and trying hard,” MikeMaker, Kentucky Downs’ three-time defending leading trainer, said of Shining Copper. “He’s just a tough old dude. He loves to run. He’s an unbelievably smart horse."
Our monthly newsletter keeps you up to date throughout the year with Kentucky Downs horses and wagering, gaming and entertainment events at Kentucky Downs. Sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, preferred email and mailing address and we'll send you our 2018 wall calendar.
'I know he’s turning 10. But if you watch this horse train every morning, he loves it. If you look back through his form, he’s only run five or six times every year' -- owner-trainer Conor Murphy of Dimension, first horse he bought after winning steeplechase parlay wager for $1.5 million
Skychai's Special Ops pulls off Kentucky Downs-Claiming Crown Emerald parlay
'This is the latest step in our evolution into an industry leader,” said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ senior vice president and general manager. “Kentucky Downs will be well-positioned as a launching pad to the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs next fall.'
"Snapper was so impressive breaking his maiden at Saratoga, so to come to that race at Kentucky Downs and perform as well as he did with the added distance, and to dominate the way he did, solidified what we always felt: That this is a very talented horse" -- owner Jeff Bloom
"He tries every time, gives 100 percent. This was off the radar. I mean, I knew he’d try, run hard. I didn’t know if that meant third, fifth. This is the toughest field he’s ever run against. They just told me that this is the largest margin in the history of the race, and Secretariat ran in this race."
Morticia is the third Keeneland graded-stakes winner this meet who made her prior start at Kentucky Downs, joining Heavenly Love (Grade 1 Alcibiades) and Zipessa (Grade 1 First Lady).
'At this stage of her career, I don’t think we’re really going around to look for the easier spot. I think we’ve kind of got her back on track, and we’re looking to take on all challengers' -- trainer Graham Motion on Miss Temple City
"Certainly that race tipped her hand to say that she belonged in this race today, running that hard against Miss Temple City,” - trainer Mike Stidham, referring to Zipessa's narrow defeat in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf
“It just goes to show the caliber of horse that runs at Kentucky Downs. And more importantly, the horses come back well…. I don’t think it mattered what she ran on." -- David Carroll, assistant trainer to Mark Casse
Beach Patrol backed up his victory in the Arlington Million with a five-length romp in New York's Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.
"Kentucky Downs runs only five days and it’s an incredible amount of money. But their foresight by taking some of that income to make the circuit stronger I think has resulted in the rejuvenation of the Kentucky racing circuit.” - breeder Craig Bandoroff of Denali Stud
"We are proud to be the Kentucky trailblazer in using historical horse racing to become a national leader and to help improve the commonwealth’s entire racing circuit," -- Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs senior vice president and general manager
Wagering from all sources on Kentucky Downs’ 2017 meet that ended Thursday totaled $30,246,887.68. That’s an average of $6,049,377.52 a day and reflects an increase of 34.19 percent over the $22,540,761.22 bet in 2016.
“It’s wonderful to win the leading owner’s title down here for the fifth consecutive year and have my stallion Kitten’s Joy be the leading sire, and to win with one of his offspring the inaugural Ramsey Farm Stakes, that’s a pretty special day today." -- Ken Ramsey, owner of Kitten's Roar
“I think the mile and a quarter was just a little too far for him,” trainer Ian Wilkes says of Franklin-Simpson favorite Sonic Boom. “I think he’s going to be a really good miler next year. He’s going to be a nice horse.”
"I’d like to make a little speech and transfer it from my left hand to the right hand" -- owner Ken Ramsey, who will present the trophy for and who runs Kitten's Roar and Daring Duchess in the $350,000 Ramsey Farm Stakes on closing day at Kentucky Downs.
"They gave it to us, his ears went up and that basically was the whole trip. I kind of coaxed him along, let him breathe.... Once I got over that hill and started going down, I got to ask him and he really kicked in," -- Drayden Van Dyke
“If I had any doubts about her ability going forth, this dispelled all of them. She won with authority today, and that was very exciting to see.” -- Nancy Polk, owner/breeder of Daddys Lil Darling
Who does Joe like in Sunday's Dueling Grounds Oaks and Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby? Find out here!
Joe's picks in the $600,000 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup: #1 Postulation, #3 Muqtaser, #7 Enterprising, #4 Oscar Nominated
“I’m always nervous when I run her,” he said. “Obviously I’m very attached to her and just want to see her run well. You get much more nervous about these deals when you’re a favorite. There’s a lot more riding on it, and I’m just glad it worked out.”
"You can’t just see the baby born and just leave," jockey Chris Landeros said of missing racing when his first child, son Beckham, was born four weeks early. "This is a once a lifetime deal, and I took full advantage and got to enjoy it… That’s why they say it’s life-changing. Because your priorities change."
“He’s never had a bad day in his life,” said Maker, who now has won eight stakes here over the past two years, all but Sir Dudley Digges having been acquired through the claiming ranks. “Unfortunately it’s taken this long this year to get his first victory.”
The $600,000 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup, run over 1 1/2 miles of descending, bending and ascending ground, offers a unique challenge for both horses and horseplayers. It’s the richest of Saturday’s four stakes and perhaps the most contentious.
Native Kentuckian Kiaran McLaughlin has run only three horses before at Kentucky Downs. But one of those was a victory in the 1999 running of the Kentucky Turf Cup with Shadwell Stables' Fahris.
"If a horse seems like he wants to go hop logs in the woods, if it seems like it’s going to help his mind, he’ll go hop logs in the woods."
"I think he knows he runs in big races. He’ll do everything he can. Fortunately and unfortunately, he’s running against some of the top long-distance runners in the United States," Tim Glyshaw, Bullard's Alley trainer
"I didn’t come in here with many high expectations. I just wanted to come in here and get a good experience, learn as much as I could. But you can’t knock what’s happening," - Tyler Gaffalione on winning two stakes in two days the first time riding at Kentucky Downs
"We came to the home straight and he was finishing strong. At that moment I thought, ‘Man, I can win the whole thing.’ He was traveling good underneath me." -- Jose Valdivia
'The wager just might appeal to casual bettors, to the folks who follow the sport intermittently and maybe go out to the racetrack rarely, but have seen enough and bet enough to know which jockeys they like.'
"I just had to guide her and hold on," Tyler Gaffalione on My Impression
'I was saying, ‘I think I’m going to get a fine from the stewards for whipping myself too many times before he hit the wire.' - owner Jeff Bloom
"He’s almost been there but not quite. We hope later in the year or next year we get over the hump and when it’s all said and done, he’s going to do something really good.” - Ron Hillerich, co-owner of One Mean Man
“It’s not about the money, especially when you can get an accolade like that on your resume for breeding. And also we’re thinking down the road to the Breeders’ Cup." - Wesley Ward on running the previously winless Ultima D in a $350,000 stakes instead of a $150,000 maiden race
Tyler Gaffalione, the 2015 Eclipse Award-winning apprentice jockey, has actually seen his career actually has taken off since he lost his apprentice weight allowances.
Youngsters are in the spotlight Wednesday, and what’s arguably the day’s most compelling race, the $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Showcase Juvenile, has attracted a full field of 2-year-olds that bulges with potential.
John Hancock says he'll set up everyone in the bar at Ellis Park simulcasting with a round if Waki Patriot wins Wednesday's $350,000 Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies at Kentucky Downs.
Western Reserve drives home point that sometimes it's good when a plan doesn't come together!
Oscar Nominated, Enterprising and Taghleeb go easy half-miles at Trackside.
Miss Temple City, who twice beat the boys to win Grade 1 races last year at Keeneland, is using the Kentucky Downs race as a means to get back to the Lexington track.
Hall of Famer Jack Van Berg is running Ellis Park Juvenile runner-up Northern Trail and Make Noise in Kentucky Downs' $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase Juvenile.
'When we claim these horses, that’s something (Maker) looks at really hard: Are they eligible for something at Kentucky Downs and to run in the Claiming Crown?' - Dr. Harvey Diamond
'Kentucky Downs has been able to go from completely off the national radar to a premier track by going against the industry norm' - 2016 NHC champ Paul Matties Jr
Kentucky Downs' latest innovation: Jockey7 Wager at North America's most unique horse-racing meet
FRANKLIN, Ky. (Friday, Aug. 18, 2017) — Kentucky Downs’ $350,000 2-year-old stakes has been renamed the Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase Juvenile.
FRANKLIN, Ky. — Reserved seats are now on sale online for Kentucky Downs’ elite all-grass race meet in September, including in the track’s new second-floor Directors’ Room.
Buff Bradley: “You keep the horses in the state ,and that’s got a snowball effect on everything. Every vendor, the straw and hay people, it keeps everybody around.”
Historical horse racing fuels larges average daily purses in U.S.
Track owners cite benefit of working with horsemen to improve racing
‘When you do that, they can’t stop us,’ Kentucky Downs’ Johnsen tells convention
LAS VEGAS (Thursday, March 9, 2017) — Be it working with tracks or regulators, discussion on Wednesday’s first day of the National HBPA Convention centered on partnerships horsemen can forge to improve the sport for everyone.
“By working together, we can improve the sport and generate more revenue,” said keynote speaker Corey Johnsen, himself a horse owner and breeder as well as the president and part-owner of Kentucky Downs, the track on the Tennessee border featuring the highest purses in North America for its five-date all-grass meet in September.
Corey Johnsen, president and part-owner of Kentucky Downs, will give the keynote address at the National HBPA’s 2017 convention March 8-11 at Las Vegas’ South Point Hotel and Casino.
Record-setters Ramseys, Maker out in force
World War II, Korea veteran completes another year as custodian of Kentucky Downs’ jockeys quarters;
‘I don’t take any medicine, only 4 vitamins,’ he says
Ladies Marathon headlines Thursday’s closing-day card;
Legendary jockey Turcotte signs autographs at 11 a.m.
- Field sizes averaging 10.95 starters per race; 11.4 Sunday
- Autograph signing session with Turcotte benefits PDJF
- Maker wraps up training title; Geroux virtually has for jockey
- Sweeping Paddy in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf mix
- GoPro/HEROCast ‘very important first step for the future’
‘He’s so good right now, he’s King Kong,’ says Marquez.
‘If you’re going to beat him, you better go by running.’
Wins 3rd, 4th stakes of meet — all former claimers -
Oscar Nominated rolls in Dueling Grounds Derby,
Try Your Luck Dueling also romps in Grounds Oaks
‘All I can say is he’s second-best marathon horse in U.S.’
‘We share the same values: love and admiration of the beauty of grass racing, putting premium on fast horses with stamina’
‘It’s good endurance for them to go uphill and downhill’
“This horse was training unbelievable,” Mena says. “ .. He’s a tough horse. He doesn’t let horses go by.”
BetAmerica online contest Thursday benefits Old Friends; 3 seats up for grabs through Saturday’s on-track tourney
Maker also has strong contender in Greengrassofyoming
Winner stays on feet and runs down Caroline Test
‘We all agreed it was worth a shot,’ owner says
Albarado wins second stakes on opening day
Back to mile, she blasts to 3 3/4-length win over Cash Control
20-time winner Regally Ready still going strong at age 9; numbers don't always favor Ramsey; West, jockeys sign 'Ride to Win' book Saturday.
‘Now, the money is crazy. I wish I was 20 years younger'
• Barbados looking to regain form, put best foot forward
• Doyle reunited with Christie’s Ready in Ladies Turf
• Cox sends out live shots in Cash Control, Almasty
• Ancient Warfare can add to Casse’s big year with 2-year-olds
Saturday’s Ky. Downs opener:
At least 12 entries in 9 of 10 races, including three stakes
‘It sets the tone for a great meet,’ track president says
Colebrook has ‘bunch of irons in fire’ for Kentucky Downs opening card
Field sizes (10.6 per race in 2015), exacta takeout (18.25%) make it horseplayers association’s top betting product;
‘They’ve bucked every industry trend. No track has done that in so short a time period,’ says HANA president Jeff Platt
With one month to go until Kentucky Downs’ unique five-date race meet boasting America’s most lucrative purses, fans can order tickets online to ensure their place in the Finish Line and Turf Club tents.
Enhancing what already is American racing’s most lucrative purse program, Kentucky Downs is offering an additional $600,000-plus into its 2016 overnight races and stakes for its unique five-date, all-grass meet in September.
Jockey Florent Geroux believes that Da Big Hoss, winner of last September’s $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) at Kentucky Downs, can compete with any horse in the country at 1 1/2 miles on turf.
Kentucky Downs is pleased to announce the addition of five-time Eclipse Award winning writer Jennie Rees to its live racing team as Director of Publicity for the 2016 season.
Kentucky Downs welcomed two new retirees to the Old Friends at Kentucky Downs retirement facility last week.
Kentucky Downs wants to congratulate our lucky but shy winner who won over $80,000 playing one of our $5 Triple Cherry Pop machines.
After turning in impressive performances at Kentucky Downs in September, a number of quality runners now look to make their mark on racing’s biggest stage next weekend during the 2015 Breeders’ Cup to be run at historic Keeneland Racecourse.****
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky., 35 miles north of Nashville, Tenn., has earned reaccreditation from the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance.
Kentucky Downs has named Ted Nicholson Vice President. Nicholson had been consulting with the company on their 2015 racing season prior to being named to this permanent position.
Kentucky Downs ended its 2015 racing season with record numbers in every significant category, including starters per race, handle per race, and total purses paid. Starters per race averaged 10.6, up from 10.18 in 2014.
The final day of live racing at Kentucky Downs supported a worthy cause and added a variety of fair-like events and attractions to an exceptional closing-day card, which was highlighted by four stakes.
Kentucky Downs paid tribute to Thoroughbred aftercare today by hosting “Old Friends Day”, a 13-race card celebrating the retirement facility in Georgetown, KY that is home to over 100 pensioned ex-racers.
On Wednesday, September 16 Kentucky Downs is proud to host the inaugural running of the $150,000 Old Friends Stakes Sponsored by Tribute® Equine Nutrition.
It was Da Big Hoss for the big win at Kentucky Downs today as the Mike Maker trainee captured the $600,000 Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup, the jewel in the crown of the Franklin oval’s live racing meet.
Because of heavy overnight rains that left its turf course officially “yielding,” Kentucky Downs canceled the final eight races on its 10-race program Thursday, including both divisions of the One Dreamer Stakes.
Hot temperatures, world-class turf racing and a fair-like atmosphere characterized Franklin-Simpson Day at Kentucky Downs as the oval’s five-day live meet got underway this afternoon.
Fasig-Tipton, America’s oldest Thoroughbred auction company, has signed on to be title sponsor of two $300,000 distaff turf stakes to be presented Saturday, September 19 as part of “Fasig-Tipton Ladies Day” at Kentucky Downs.
Horsemen will have the opportunity to pledge a percentage of their total earnings to Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) during the September race meet at Kentucky Downs. The pledge drive, called Horsemen Giving Back will begin on Saturday, September 5, opening day at the Franklin, Kentucky track.
Encore Racing Based Games (RBG) has signed on as the new title sponsor of the $300,000 Encore Juvenile Fillies at Kentucky Downs. The race will be contested on opening day – Saturday September 5 – at the Franklin, Kentucky all-turf Thoroughbred track. First post time on Saturday is 1:35 p.m. (CDT) and the Encore Juvenile Fillies is scheduled to go off at 4:35 p.m. (CDT) as the seventh race on the ten race live card.
The 24th season of live racing at Kentucky Downs in Franklin, KY, will kick off Saturday with a 10-race card contested over North America’s only European-style turf course.
Kentucky Downs recorded $8,425,830 in pari-mutuel handle on historical horse racing from June 29 to July 5, to set an all-time weekly record, besting the old mark of $8,332,610, set Feb. 24 to March 2, 2014. The record business levels followed Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) approval of 10 new wagers from the Encore system at its meeting on June 29. Kentucky Downs began using the Encore terminals and wagers on April 2.