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Turfway Park kicks off Holiday Meet; gains approval to install Instant Racing machines

Turfway Park and NKyTribune staff

Turfway Park in Florence will launch its 40th Holiday Meet on Thursday, bringing the Commonwealth’s year-round circuit of live thoroughbred racing back to Northern Kentucky.

Turfway’s Holiday Meet extends through Dec. 31 and offers live racing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 6:15 p.m. and on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free. The track is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Turfway park“The horsemen are ready and so are we,” said Turfway Park general manager Chip Bach. “We are thrilled to once again bring quality racing to Northern Kentucky along with live bands and drink specials in a casual and fun atmosphere.”

Turfway Park also received approval to install up to 250 Historical Racing machines at Tuesday’s Kentucky Horse Racing Association meeting.

Instant Racing machines, which are similar to slot machines in appearance, use historical racing data to generate random numbers that determine winners. The devices, which are also called historical racing machines, use data from previously run, but anonymous races to determine payoffs.

The terminals are designed with display features that are similar to slot machines to provide a user-friendly experience for wagerers.

Turfway General Manager Chip Bach said a timetable to install the machines has not been determined, but they will not be in place during the Holiday Meet or the Winter/Spring Meet which runs from Jan. 1 to April 3, 2016. For more information on Instant Racing click here .

The machines are expected to be installed on the first floor in the area that houses the Race Book. Bach said there is adequate space to install the devices and continue to offer race wagering on the floor, which is located at track level.

Instant Racing-1Detroit-based Rock Gaming owns a 90 percent stake in Turfway Park, while the Keeneland Association maintains a 10 percent interest in the track.

Cavernous Turfway Park also has space to install additional machines if the devices are successful. The fourth floor of the five-level structure is largely vacant much of the year.

Ellis Park, in Henderson, Kentucky Downs in Franklin and the Red Mile in Lexington are the other Kentucky race tracks that have Instant Racing machines.

Tropicana Casino is located in Evansville, near Henderson, but Turfway is located in a market saturated with casinos, which could present strong competition for Instant Racing dollars.

There are more than half-a-dozen facilities within a short drive of Turfway Park that offer casino gaming. Many offer live and simulcast horse racing as well.

If the Instant Racing Machines are installed, they are expected to generate up to 35 new jobs at Turfway.

Highlighting the live racing schedule at Turfway are the 30th running of the Holiday Inaugural Stakes on Dec. 5 and the 21st running of the Prairie Bayou Stakes on Dec. 19, each offering a $50,000 purse.

Director of Racing Tyler Picklesimer has carded nine races each day.

Highlighting the party schedule is Turfway’s annual New Year’s Eve bash, featuring live racing and options for every budget, from free admission to reservations with full buffet and open bar. Turfway favorite, Doghouse, will take the Willis Music stage at 10 p.m. and rock the crowd into 2016.

More information on reservation options is available here.

Once voted Greater Cincinnati’s Best Cheap Date, Turfway brings back dollar nights on Friday and Saturday evenings, with draft beer and hot dogs just a dollar each and live local bands covering rock to pop to country.

rock the racesThe Rusty Griswolds are up first (Dec. 4), followed by the Amy Sailor Band (Dec. 5), Doghouse (Dec. 11), East of Austin (Dec. 12), Naked Karate Girls (Dec. 18), The Billy Rock Band (Dec. 19) and The Whammies (Dec. 26).

Bands take the stage at 9:30 p.m.

Smoke-free dining is available in the Homestretch Bar & Grill, trackside on the first floor. The Homestretch is open for lunch and dinner during live racing, offering an American menu under the direction of Executive Chef Kevin Best.

Reservations are recommended and available by calling 859-371-0200. Food and beverages also are available at concession stands on the first, second and third floors.

Smoking is permitted in the north side of the RaceBook on the first floor and on the south side of the second floor. All other areas of Turfway’s enclosed grandstand are smoke-free.

The holiday meet closes on Dec. 31 and is followed without interruption by the winter/spring meet, which runs through April 3.


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