LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Churchill Downs has signed an agreement to buy Turfway Park for $46 million with plans to eventually demolish its grandstand and build a $150 million racing and gambling facility on the site.
Churchill’s purchase of the Florence, Kentucky, track from Jack Ohio LLC and Hard Rock International is contingent on approval by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission when it meets on Tuesday. Turfway will keep the 2019-20 winter racing dates Churchill had sought for its “Latonia Racing & Gaming” project in northern Kentucky. That application with the KHRC will be withdrawn.
Churchill Downs president Kevin Flanery said in a release that he is “thrilled” to welcome Turfway to the track’s family and added, “Our team is poised to restore Turfway to its former glory.” New Turfway Park will be a historical racing machine facility with up to 1,500 machines and a new dirt track to replace the 1-mile synthetic racing surface.
Kentucky House Speaker David Osborne called the purchase “historic” in a statement and said it’s possibly the most impactful thing for year-round racing since whole-card simulcasting.
“It will create a more vibrant, year-round racing circuit and will lead to increased purses, which in turn stimulates the economy and creates jobs,” Osborne said. “Turfway and northern Kentucky’s incredibly important role in racing history will not only be maintained but also enhanced.”