LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 22, 2014) — Keeneland Association and The Red Mile today said they plan to jointly develop a $30 million project at The Red Mile in Lexington to house a 1,000-terminal “historic racing” video betting parlor rather than create separate competing facilities.
“This is an exciting announcement for The Horse Capital of the World and for the ongoing growth of Lexington,” said Joe Costa of The Red Mile via a news release. “By making this pari-mutuel wager available in Fayette County, our state’s signature industry can enjoy the financial benefit for a crucial new revenue stream for not just owners and breeders but also the entire horse industry.”
The envisioned new facility at The Red Mile, a 139-year-old Standardbred harness racing track just south of downtown Lexington, will begin soon and employ 100 construction workers, according to the news release from The Red Mile. DW Wilburn Inc. of Lexington has been awarded the construction contract.
Its projected opening date is September 2015 with 150 jobs eventually expected at the historic racing better operation. An operator has not been hired, but interviews and research is currently underway and an operator will be in place well before the expected opening.
“There have always been two driving considerations behind decisions made by Keeneland,” said Vince Gabbert, chief operating officer for the Thoroughbred sales and racing entity located four miles west of Lexington. “And that is the health of the Thoroughbred industry and our local community.
“We feel the best course of action for both our key constituencies is a facility at The Red Mile. Our belief is the benefits of a more centrally located and fully dedicated facility outweighs locating this wagering option on our property.”
The site at South Broadway and Red Mile Road is only about five blocks south of downtown Lexington.
Keeneland had initially announced earlier this year it would build a new facility to house historic racing betting terminals, but it then said in the summer those plans were being postponed indefinitely.
“There is no question,” Costa said, “that new revenue streams have already made a difference to the Thoroughbred and Standardbred industries. Here in Kentucky we’ve already seen what a difference historical wagering can mean to our owner and horsemen.”
Revenues from the new wagering will be split between the two partners for use in support of live racing, especially increasing purse sizes, according to the announcement today.