06/21/2013 1:14PM

Ellis Park closes for training to remove rocks from track


Ellis Park will be closed for training Sunday and Monday as officials at the western Kentucky track attempt to clear the track of rocks that became enmeshed in the surface when a new batch of dirt was added.

Marty Maline, executive director of the Kentucky division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, said the issue has come to the forefront as prominent trainers such as Larry Jones have said they will not race at Ellis this summer.

Maline said the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and stewards “have been made well aware” of the rock problem, which Ellis management has said will be remedied before the meet starts.

Ellis “has been getting a silty type of river sand for years and years” to replenish the track surface, explained Maline. “Well, this year it had too many rocks in it, and it’s been a real problem.”

The closure of the track is being done to clear the track of rocks through mechanical and other means, said Maline, including “old-fashioned bucket brigades” of rocks being picked out by hand.

“Obviously with the competition of Indiana Downs, the folks at Ellis don’t want any more issues that shake the confidence of the horsemen,” Maline said.