The horse racing calendar in Kentucky is getting shorter next year after the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved a drop in race days at the request of the tracks.
The commission voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the schedule, which includes a combined 206 days of Thoroughbred racing at Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs and Turfway Park.
That is a drop from the 273 dates initially requested one year ago. Some of the tracks, including Ellis Park in Henderson and Churchill Downs in Louisville, eventually carved off dates from this year's meets. For instance, Ellis Park raced only 23 days instead of the 48 it initially requested and for which it was approved.
Keeneland in Lexington requested and was approved for 32 days, the same number it requested in 2009.
The biggest cut in dates will come at Turfway Park in Florence, where racing is expected to drop to three days a week in January and February.
Churchill president Kevin Flanery said cutting racing dates was unfortunate but necessary in this economic climate to preserve a commitment to year-round racing in Kentucky.
At Tuesday's meeting, officials also began weighing whether to prohibit bets placed after post time — a significant change that tracks are avidly opposing due to potential lost revenue.
A Kentucky Horse Racing Commission subcommittee Tuesday presented its proposal to ban "past-post" bets at the commission's monthly meeting, sparking a fierce debate. The full commission is expected to make a decision after a public hearing next month.
Virtually all major racing jurisdictions allow bettors to place bets after the listed post time but before the horses break from the gate.
Flanery said he fears more than 20 percent of his track's betting revenue could be lost by outlawing those bets.