Churchill Downs and Keeneland have filed an application with state regulators to conduct a brief Standardbred meet next year at the site of a casino that Churchill is opening soon in Louisville, Ky., the two companies announced on Wednesday.The application is for 10 days of harness racing at Churchill&rsquo;s Trackside training center, where Churchill is preparing to open a facility offering betting on hundreds of historical horse&#45;racing machines, which are similar to slot machines. The application was submitted as an adjunct to a previously announced plan between Churchill and Keeneland to build a harness track and gambling facility in Oak Grove, Ky., in the south of the state near the Fort Campbell military base and Tennessee border.The application to conduct harness racing in Louisville is an effort to build support for the Oak Grove application, which was not taken up last year by the commission after the KHRC&rsquo;s chairman and vice chairman flatly rejected any notion of issuing new racing licenses in the state. Churchill and Keeneland said they planned to use revenues from the gambling facility at the Oak Grove location to bolster purses at their respective flagship tracks. The machines have generated tens of millions of dollars annually to the owners of existing casinos in the state.In a statement, Kevin Flanery, the president of Churchill Downs, said that the 2019 harness meet would offer a short&#45;term salve to harness horsemen who now have no place to run next year following the closure of Thunder Ridge, a small harness track in the eastern area of the state that had struggled for years while recently running approximately 20 live race dates a year. The track surrendered its license last year.&ldquo;Reissuing the Thunder Ridge racetrack license to Churchill Downs and Keeneland for immediate use is the right and responsible thing to do for Kentucky&rsquo;s horse racing industry,&rdquo; Flanery said. &ldquo;The closure of Thunder Ridge was a significant hit to horse racing in the commonwealth.&rdquo;Frank Kling, the chairman of the KHRC, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The commission&rsquo;s next scheduled meeting is Oct. 27, at which it is scheduled to take up applications for race dates in 2019.The Oak Grove license application drew opposition from Kentucky Downs, the small track in Franklin, Ky., that is the most lucrative location in the state for historical horse&#45;racing machines. Kentucky Downs draws many of its casino patrons from Tennessee, and the Oak Grove location would provide a competitive threat to its gambling facility.Kentucky gambling interests are in the midst of a re&#45;evaluation of the political prospects for casino gambling as a 2019 gubernatorial election looms. The state&rsquo;s current governor, Matt Bevin, a Tea Party Republican, declared that he would oppose any efforts to legalize casino gambling when he took office, and although he recently announced that he will run for re&#45;election, his approval rating has sunk to approximately one&#45;third of registered voters, according to recent polls.A likely opponent in the gubernatorial election will be the state&rsquo;s current attorney general, Andy Beshear, a Democrat, who has said that he favors the legalization of casino gambling. In the past, efforts to expand casino gambling have favored existing parimutuel facilities as potential sites for casinos.