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Turfway Racing and Gaming state-of-art facility another step closer to reality; dignitaries break ground

Staff report

A new, revitalized venue at Turfway Park is another step closer to reality as Churchill Downs Inc. broke ground in a big way on Friday on the planned new facility.

The groundbreaking crew

Bringing strength and innovation to Kentucky’s signature horse racing industry, Churchill Downs is investing $145 million in Turfway Park Racing and Gaming, which is expected to create about 800 construction jobs and 400 new full- and part-time positions to operate and manage the facility.

The facility will be a state-of-the-art venue that will offer live Thoroughbred racing and historical racing gaming machines. It is expected to open in the summer of 2022.

Governor Andy Beshear joined in the celebration as did Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs Inc., and Chip Back, general manager of Turfway Racing and Gaming, Florence Mayor Diane Whalen and Boone County Judge Executive Gary Moore.

A conceptual drawing of the new facility

Among the speakers were two NKY legislators who played leadership roles in crafting a key bill in the General Assembly that redefined historical race gaming to satisfy a constitutional issue raised by the Kentucky Supreme Court.

It was legislation that the horse industry said was crucial to its survival, as revenues from historical racing support bigger purses for live racing and make Kentucky competitive in the iconic industry that defines it.

Sen. John Schickel and Rep. Adam Koenig lead the way in the legislature and spoke at the groundbreaking event.

Horsemen are already praising the new track surface at Turfway, a good sign that horsemen will be attracted to the track. That and the competitive purses will be the key to Turfway’s success and sustainability.

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