An artist’s rendering of the Oak Grove Racing Venue in Christian County, Ky.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announced that it is “entertaining applications for new and renewal association licenses” for racing associations for 2019.

The announcement, posted on the home page at the commission’s website, set an Oct. 1, 2018, deadline for new and renewed license applications.

One year ago, after Churchill Downs and Keeneland Association announced plans to seek licenses and build racetracks in Corbin and Oak Grove, a statement from KHRC chairman Franklin S. Kling Jr. and then vice chairman John C. Roach said the regulatory agency would not consider any applications for new racetracks in Kentucky.

“At this time neither of us have any plans to take ay action related to this application or any other application for a new racetrack facility,” the statement said. “It is our hope that in the future we will be able to develop a process and criteria to determine whether any new racetrack facilities are needed in the Commonwealth.”

Earlier this month, Churchill Downs and Keeneland announced amended plans to build the Oak Grove standardbred racing facility, which would include historical racing machines operating year-round. Oak Grove is within an hour’s drive of Nashville – the same market that has made Kentucky Downs a lucrative historical racing destination and host of a five-day race meeting each year offering record purses.

There was no reference to Corbin (north of Knoxville, Tenn.) in the recent Churchill Downs-Keeneland announcement.

Churchill Downs recently opened an historical gaming facility, Derby City Gaming, at the former Louisville Downs harness track in Louisville, Ky. Churchill Downs purchased Louisville Downs in 1992 and turned it into a dual use facility for Thoroughbred training and simulcasting, under the names Sports Spectrum and Trackside.  Officials have said they plan to race 10 standardbred dates at the facility in 2019 while preparing the Oak Grove facility for a 2020 opening, pending license approval.

Up to two licenses may be approved by the racing commission.


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