Horses

Kentucky track changing hands; racing commission to meet Tuesday

News of a potential sale of Ellis Park came Monday just days after jockey Corey Lanerie won the fourth race at the track with Hide the Honey on Friday.
News of a potential sale of Ellis Park came Monday just days after jockey Corey Lanerie won the fourth race at the track with Hide the Honey on Friday. Coady Photography

Ellis Park in Henderson, owned since 2006 by Kentucky businessman Ron Geary, apparently is being sold.

In 2012, the racing commission approved the sale of a 30 percent interest in Ellis Park to Saratoga Casino and Hospitality Group under an agreement that allowed the casino to purchase additional interests up to and including 100 percent ownership. The Saratoga Casino Hotel operates a harness track and is separate from the Saratoga Race Course for Thoroughbred racing.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Tuesday afternoon is scheduled to consider change of ownership for the racetrack. The new owner or owners would have to be approved by the regulatory body to continue racing.

Ellis Park is in the midst of its annual live racing meet, which is scheduled to continue through Sept. 3.

Horseracingnation.com, citing anonymous sources, said the track has been sold to owners from out of state, possibly from New Mexico.

Geary did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Racing commission officials also did not immediately respond to contact.

The meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Horse Park.

The track was previously owned by Churchill Downs; other business on the commission’s agenda includes requests related to the Louisville track’s addition of historical racing.

Ellis Park added historical racing, a form of electronic gambling based on previously run horse races, in August 2012 after several years of struggling financially. Geary threatened to close it in 2008 and in 2009.

See the race and the win unfold for Justify, No. 7, his jockey Mike Smith and trainer Bob Baffert. The 144th Run for the Roses photos are from the Herald-Leader crew.

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