10/15/2014 4:11PM

Kentucky Downs, Churchill Downs reach dates deal


Kentucky Downs and Churchill Downs have reached an agreement over September race dates in 2015, with each track dropping one or more dates in the month to preserve a two-track schedule, according to information provided by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Wednesday.

Under the schedule, Kentucky Downs will hold five live cards in September next year, on Sept. 5, 10, 12, 16, and 19. The schedule includes two Saturday cards that overlap with live races at Churchill the same days. Kentucky Downs, which only races on turf, had previously requested seven live racing dates for 2015, up two dates from this year and last year.

Churchill will run 11 dates, from Sept. 11-27, racing Friday through Sunday the first week and then Thursday through Sunday for the next several weeks. Churchill had originally requested 12 live racing dates for the month and will be dropping the request for the Sept 10 date. Churchill first began running live in September in 2013.

During a meeting Tuesday, the dates committee of the KHRC ordered the two tracks to continue talks on a possible compromise over the schedule. Earlier, Churchill officials had said they would withdraw their request for September dates if Kentucky Downs was granted dates during the Sept. 10-27 time period, citing field-size pressures.

Under the agreement, Churchill also will be designated the host track for simulcasting purposes from Sept. 8-30. Host tracks in Kentucky receive 50 percent of the revenue from same-breed statewide simulcasts. Last year, Kentucky Downs was designated as the September host track on Mondays and Tuesdays, the lightest wagering days of the week.

If an agreement had not been reached, Kentucky regulators would have weighed the two requests. Members of the racing commission had said they preferred that the two tracks come to a deal instead of forcing the commission to vote.

The racing commission is expected to approve the deal and other dates requests at a meeting Oct. 21.