Kentucky Commission Approves Plan For $55 Million Quarter Horse Track - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Kentucky Commission Approves Plan For $55 Million Quarter Horse Track

Revolutionary Racing Kentucky rendering

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has awarded the state's ninth and final license to Revolutionary Racing Kentucky, which plans to invest $55 million to build a world-class equestrian center, including Kentucky's first racetrack dedicated to Quarter Horses.

Two KHRC commissioners abstained; the remaining voted unanimously for approval.

“We are excited to have Quarter Horse racing back in Kentucky. This project invests $55 million and creates 200 jobs in the northeast corner of our commonwealth,” said Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. “Bringing Quarter Horse racing back to Kentucky is an exciting opportunity to honor a lost Kentucky tradition and contribute to the state's economy.”

Quarter Horse racing has deep roots in Kentucky with a history dating back to the earliest days of Daniel Boone's “Kentucky Territory.” A historical marker near Lexington indicates that in 1780, pioneers established the starting point of the first race path and extends southward one quarter mile. In 1988, there were two race tracks with Quarter Horse racing.

Revolutionary Racing obtained the last available racing license in Kentucky. The application included a request to build a Quarter Horse race track in Boyd County. Phase one includes construction of the sprint race track, HHR facility, paddock with offices and walking ring, two racing barns with 88 stalls each, a test barn, and parking. The construction project is expected to be completed in 2024.

“This is an exciting time for Quarter Horse racing owners and fans and for Ashland and the surrounding communities, an underserved market in the equine industry,” said Beshear.

“We have all rallied behind this project because we understand what it will mean for our community – from jobs to tax revenues to quality of life,” Boyd County Judge Executive Eric Chaney said. “Revolutionary Racing has been a true partner with us throughout this process and we look forward to them being part of our community for many years to come.”

In support of the license, Joe Costa, president and CEO of Lexington Trots Breeders Association LLC and the Red Mile, wrote in a letter to the commission, “While the growth of Standardbred racing is paramount to Red Mile, it wholeheartedly supports the re-introduction of Quarter Horse racing to the commonwealth and looks forward to working together with Revolutionary Racing in the future to the benefit of both breeds of horses.”

Senator Robin Webb of Grayson voiced appreciation for the new project.

“The regional legislative delegation appreciates the opportunity to expand our equine industry here and provide the associated jobs in our area,” she said. “I appreciate Revolutionary Racing's engagement and communications with us from the beginning, and the racing commission's vote of confidence in Boyd County and the surrounding communities. This action is a statement of acknowledgement and commitment to our region of the state.”

In 2021, The Kentucky House of Representatives passed a resolution in support of the Quarter Horse industry in the commonwealth, recommending that at least one race track license be awarded or held explicitly for Quarter Horse sprint racing.

“This project is as much about economic development as it is the Quarter Horse community,” said Larry Lucas, Chairman of Revolutionary Racing Kentucky. “We are very grateful and humbled by the confidence shown by the commission and the support from the governor's office, the Mountain legislative caucus, Boyd County, the city of Ashland and the people of eastern Kentucky.”

Revolutionary Racing Kentucky plans to build the racing facility on 177 acres in Boyd County, near Ashland. It is expected to create more than 200 permanent jobs, in addition to the union labor that will be used during construction. Nearly $1 million in new tax revenues are expected to be generated each year.

The racetrack, being designed by Populous and in consultation with the Kentucky Quarter Horse Racing Association, will feature a 660-yard sprint track and daily purses of $500,000, placing it among the premier quarter horse racing tracks in the nation.

“This is a historic day for the thousands of quarter horse owners who call Kentucky home,” said Dr. Richard Connelley, KQHRA President. “For decades, we've had to travel to other states to race, so we are ready to welcome our friends from across the country to come here and add to the legacy and tradition that is Kentucky horse racing.”

While Quarter Horse racing will serve as the centerpiece of the project, plans call for year-round use for Quarter Horse shows and competitions, as well as an adjacent entertainment complex.

“We are excited to take the next step in our journey to bring a world-class facility to Boyd County,” said Prentice Salter, CEO of Revolutionary Racing Kentucky. “We will continue to work closely with the KHRC, our quarter horse partners and the community as we build something that all Kentuckians can be proud of.”

Boyd County Judge Executive Eric Chaney thanked the KHRC, as well as the many community leaders, state legislators, business owners and others who have strongly supported this substantial investment in eastern Kentucky.

“We have all rallied behind this project because we understand what it will mean for our community – from jobs to tax revenues to quality of life,” Chaney said. “Revolutionary Racing has been a true partner with us throughout this process and we look forward to them being part of our community for many years to come.”

Construction is expected to begin later this year.

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