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Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel concluded their 2020 meet today, Nov 23. The leading harness racing driver and trainer were presented with a trophy and a $1000 check for their accomplishments. Dean Eckley lead the way in the trainer category with 17 wins from 71 starts. Jamaica Patton came in second with 10 wins and Joe Putnam was third with 9 victories. The leading driver of the meet was Kyle Wilfong. Kyle finished the meet on top, heading to the winner's circle 28 times from 115 starts with a UDRS of 0.389.   Tyler Shehan finished second with 18 wins and Randy Crisler was third with 17.   Kyle Wilfong                                    -Coady Photography    Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel will begin their 2021 meet on October 12th with a total of 20 live racing days.   by Amanda Stephens

The inaugural Mini Series Finals for Kentucky Sire Stakes or Fair eligible 3 year old trotters were held at Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel Sunday, November 15th.    Some Chapter took the first $25,000 harness racing final for 3 year old colt and gelding trotters in 1:57. After being victorious in his elimination, the son of Chapter Seven led most of the race and drew off to win by over 4 lengths over Golden Genes and Look In My Eyes. He is owned by Acl Stuteri Ab and Kjell Johansson, trained by Anette Lorentzon and was driven by Elliott Deaton.    Watayankee moved to the lead just past the quarter and held off multiple challengers to win the $25,000 final for 3 year old filly trotters by 1/4 length in 1:56.2 for driver James Stiltner II. Graceful Winner closed for second, while Hotsprings Volo held on for the 3rd place check. The Yankee Glide filly is owned by Jack Gray Jr & Michael Dennison and is trained by Jack Gray Jr.    Live racing resumes Monday November 16, followed by November 21, 22 & 23 with a post time of 12:30 pm.      Amanda Stephens

LEXINGTON, KY—Bettor’s Wish grabbed the lead early and refused to let it go, winning the $150,000 Odds On Racing Allerage Open Pace—sponsored by Dana Parham and Best Bet Stables—in a harness racing track-record time on Sunday (Oct. 11) at The Red Mile. On the move by a :27.3 opening quarter, Bettor’s Wish took the lead from This Is The Plan moving up the backstretch while early leader Century Farroh was shuffled to third. Century Farroh then pulled and blitzed the pacesetter to a :54.4 half but could not clear the lead. Bettor’s Wish kept Century Farroh parked to three-quarters in 1:22 and accelerated into the stretch with just This Is The Plan in contention. Into the eighth pole This Is The Plan took a shot at Bettor’s Wish, but the four-year-old Bettor’s Delight stallion rebuffed the challenge to hit the finish first in 1:48—a track record for four-year-old pacing stallions. Backstreet Shadow closed for third with Brassy Hanover finishing fourth. “The thing I liked about him most is when we show him in the paddock,” said co-owner Art Zubrod of Fair Island Farms. “Usually the first time you show them in the paddock is the best they ever are, but the great ones get better… He got better every time. He was as good today as he’s ever been—I really think this was the best he’s ever been today.” Owned by Chris Ryder, Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm and Bettors Wish Partners, Bettor’s Wish won his fourth race from nine starts this season and his 22nd from 40 overall, earning $2,288,033. Chris Ryder trains the Brittany Farms-bred stallion while Dexter Dunn had the reins of the $5.20 winner. Kissin In The Sand also scored in track-record time, winning the $72,000 Harness Racing Update Allerage Fillies & Mares Open Pace in 1:48. Taking command past a :27.2 opening quarter, Kissin In The Sand held the helm to a :54.4 half and grew her advantage circling the final turn. Pocket-sitter Caviart Ally gave chase in second to three-quarters in 1:21.3 as Kissin In the Sand widened her lead into the stretch and to the finish. Treacherous Reign rallied down the center of the track for second while Caviart Ally held third and Warrawee Ubeaut settled for fourth.  “She’s probably my favorite, like ever, out of all the horses I’ve ever been associated with,” trainer Nancy Takter said after the race. “When the summer came along she kind of tailed off a little bit [because of allergies] but now with the colder weather she’s kind of more geared up and ready to go again.” Bred by Christina Takter, John Fielding and R A W Equine, Kissin In The Sand won her fifth race from nine starts this season and her 24th from 55 overall, earning $1,536,594 for owners Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables. Dexter Dunn drove the five-year-old Somebeachsomewhere mare who paid $2.60 to win. Even-money second choice Atlanta downed 4-5 favorite Gimpanzee with a 1:50 performance in the Allerage Farms Open Trot—sponsored by Jeff & Paula Gural and Allerage Farms. Atlanta pushed for positioning heading into the first turn with Gimpanzee to her outside. Gimpanzee slid to the front heading to a :27.1 opening quarter and rolled up the backside to a :54.3 half. But the favorite grew leg weary into the final turn as Atlanta popped pocket to three-quarters in 1:23 and quickly put away her rival into the stretch. Gimpanzee continued to falter while Crystal Fashion rallied towards the leader late but settled for second. Majestic Player A closed for third with Lindy The Great finishing fourth. Atlanta downs Gimpanzee with a 1:50 performance​        --Amanda Stephens photo “I thought on paper it was a two-horse race,” said driver Yannick Gingras after the race on his decision to leave with Atlanta. “Me and Ronnie [Burke] were actually on the same page—we talked just before going onto the track. I just didn’t want Gimpanzee on a loose lead and have to come like from five or six lengths behind him. I respect the horse, I just wanted to stay close to him. I think if you can trip her out she’s incredible, but today I think she gutted it out and all credit’s to her.” A five-year-old mare by Chapter Seven, Atlanta won her fifth race from 10 starts this season and her 25th from 49 overall, earning $2,524,453 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor. Order By Stable bred the Ron Burke trainee who paid $4.00 to win.     By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

LEXINGTON, KY—Off at odds of 27-1, Love A Good Story survived first-turn traffic trouble and marched with the outer flow before uncorking a furious stretch drive to land on the finish first in the $255,000 harness racing 55th Kentucky Filly Futurity on Sunday (Oct. 11) at The Red Mile. Carried three wide into the first turn, Love A Good Story eventually landed two wide to a :27 first quarter set by Panem. Hypnotic AM pushed from post 10 for the lead but yielded for the pocket as Sorella marched for the front up the backstretch. Once Sorella, cleared, 3-5 favorite Ramona Hill ranged uncovered towards the top but soon lost stride approaching a :54 half.  Sister Sledge carried the outer tier to the final turn with Crucial second over and Love A Good Story third over. Sorella continued to lead by three-quarters in 1:23.1 while Sister Sledge lost ground, Hypnotic AM pulled out of the pocket and Love A Good Story swung to the center of the track. Hypnotic AM dug into Sorella to take a slight lead into the eighth pole but Love A Good Story came charging past the dueling leaders in the final yards to stop the clock in 1:51.2. Sorella held third while Next Level Stuff finished fourth. “I thought if I could get anywhere close and not use her too much good things could happen,” winning driver Andy Miller said after the race. “You never know what’s going to happen [in a 12-horse field] and I got away towards the back of the back, but everybody kind of kept moving up. When [Ramona Hill] made the break, it changed the whole outlook of the race.”  Returning $56.60 to win, Love A Good Story nabbed her sixth win from 10 starts this season and her 13th from 20 overall, earning $671,634 for owners Pinske Stables, Kentuckiana Racing Stable and Daniel Plouffe. Julie Miller trains the Celebrity Farms-bred Chapter Seven filly. The 55th Kentucky Filly Futurity was presented by the Father Patrick Syndicate and Diamond Creek Farm.    By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

Trainers Noel Daley and Jeff Gregory each co-own a horse competing Saturday (Oct. 10) at Red Mile, where Daley’s Anoka Hanover is the favorite in the third of four International Stallion Stakes divisions for 2-year-old female trotters and Gregory’s You Ato Dream is the choice in the fourth. The two combined have finished worse than second only four times in 17 starts. Anoka Hanover heads to her race Saturday off a half-length win over May Karp in 1:54 in a division of last week’s Bluegrass Stakes. The daughter of Donato Hanover-Aunt Mel has won five of nine races and $177,216 this season for owners Daley, L.A. Express Stable, and Caviart Farms. She is 7-5 on the morning line and will have Todd McCarthy in the sulky. “They have their days, all of them, but she’s got a good head on her for a trotting filly,” Daley said. “From day one, she was always sort of a powerful filly, and nice enough gaited. I have half a dozen trotting fillies and the others were sort of better gaited than her, but she’s got a very good attitude about everything. That’s probably her biggest attribute, she’s smart. She’s just a nice filly.” Daley purchased Anoka Hanover for $35,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. Anoka Hanover was the fifth foal out of stakes winner Aunt Mel. Her previous four all made money at the races, but Anoka Hanover is the first to exceed $45,000. Daley bought the filly on the recommendation of longtime collaborator Martti Ala-Seppala. “He’s done it a bunch of times for me, picked out well-bred ones where the mares, for whatever reason, haven’t hit yet and I can usually get them at a bit of value,” Daley said. “That’s what he did there. This was the right one. He’s a big help.” Anoka Hanover is not eligible to the Breeders Crown, but still has the Kindergarten Classic Series and Goldsmith Maid on her schedule. She has won back-to-back starts, both from sixth place at three-quarters, following a third-place finish behind Flawless Country and You Ato Dream in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. “I was pleased with her,” Daley said. “I think that sort of suits her. She’s reasonably versatile but I think chasing them down is probably her game. “She can be a little aggressive, a little on the muscle in her races. I knew she would be better here (at Red Mile). She can get on a line on the smaller tracks and here it’s a nice big wide track. It’s a bit kinder track on the feet and she is able to get much better traction here.” You Ato Dream enters her start Saturday off a second-place finish to Presto in 1:53 in their Bluegrass division. The margin of defeat was a head, the third time this year she was beaten by a neck or less. “She’s had a lot of tough beats, it’s been almost cruel,” Gregory said, managing a laugh. “She’s not good in the photos.” For the season, You Ato Dream has one win and six seconds in eight starts. She has earned $197,856. She is 2-1 on the morning line for the International Stallion, with Gregory driving. Gregory bought the daughter of Donato Hanover-Dream Child under the name Carolina Bi for $45,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Sale. “She’s been a nice horse for us,” Gregory said. “The first couple days on the track she was a little moody. She was a little tough. But after that, she was really nice and trained down very easy. She gave you the feeling like you always had 15 seconds in the bank, it was not a lot of work for her. “She’s really good gaited. For a decent sized filly, she doesn’t hit the track hard. She’s very light on her feet, really athletic.” Last week, You Ato Dream took the lead prior to a :54.4 half, with :27.1 second quarter. “I haven’t left with her very much,” Gregory said. “As you could see last week, once I get her rolling, she’s a little hard to settle down. I couldn’t get her to back off the second quarter at all. I’m sure it probably cost me the race. The first few starts, I never left with her because I didn’t want to take a chance getting her hot. “I just kind of have to do what she wanted to do without fighting her too much. You plan out a race in your head and sometimes you can’t do it that way because her manners might not be a hundred percent perfect. She’s not a push-button horse. But she doesn’t quit. She’s had a couple of rough trips, she’s been first over a couple times, she’s been on the front a couple times, but she doesn’t give up.” You Ato Dream      -Amanda Stephens photo Gregory owns You Ato Dream with Bill Richardson, George Romanoff, and Martin Garey. She is eligible to the Breeders Crown, Matron Stakes, and Goldsmith Maid. “We’re just going week by week,” Gregory said. “If she’s fresh and she’s racing good and she’s competitive, we’re probably going to keep trying. If she shows any signs of getting tired, or the year is getting too long, we’re going to pull the plug and get her ready for her 3-year-old season. I’m just going to let her tell us when it’s time to quit. “It’s pretty fun. It’s the same group of guys I’ve had horses with for years. They’re all really enjoying her. It’s not about the money, it’s the thrill of having a nice horse at this point in their lives. They’re thrilled to have a horse like this and be competitive in some bigger races. That means more to them than anything. “When you start out with four babies, it’s nice to come up with one like this. She’s been fun for all of us. She’s a sweetheart. She’s very friendly; she doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. She’s enjoyable to be around every day.” The favorites in the remaining International Stallion Stakes for trotting fillies are Insta Glam, who is 2-1 in the first division, and May Karp, who is 8-5 in the second. There also are three divisions of International Stallion Stakes for 2-year-old male pacers on Saturday. The favorites are Almanac (2-1) in the first, Perfect Sting (9-5) in the second, and Southwind Gendry (9-5) in the third. Perfect Sting is unbeaten in seven races this year and Southwind Gendry is on a five-race win streak. Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT) at Red Mile. For Saturday’s complete entries, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association

LEXINGTON, KY--Game to the finish once again, Tall Dark Stranger withstood a late challenge from pocket-popper Captain Barbossa to pad his resume with a 1:48.3 harness racing victory in the final of three divisions for the $203,800 Captaintreacherous Bluegrass Three-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pace--sponsored by the Captaintreacherous Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms--on Sunday (Oct. 4) at The Red Mile. Unhurried from the pylon post to a :26.3 first quarter, driver Yannick Gingras angled Tall Dark Stranger off the pylons to brush for the lead moving into the backstretch. Early leader Captain Barbossa yielded for the pocket approaching a :55 half and remained in tow behind the Bettors Delight colt to three-quarters in 1:22.2. Spinning into the stretch, Captain Barbossa pulled for the attack and pressed Tall Dark Stranger for the lead into the final eighth. But Tall Dark Stranger fought back to the inside and edged away from Captain Barbossa to the finish to score his 17th victory from 19 starts. The Greek Freak finished third with Seriously Hanover fourth. "He makes it a little hard on my heart, really," said Gingras after the race of the colt's continual gutsiness. "I knew he was going to put up--and every time I've called on him he's always been there. He just makes anxious moments once in awhile, but he always [shows] up. Top of the stretch I called on him, and halfway through the stretch I knew [Captain Barbossa] wasn't going to go by me. I knew mine was fighting; he was still in front--usually they're by me at that point and he comes back and beat them. But this time I held them at bay." Amassing $1,775,445 in earnings for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor, Tall Dark Stranger now has nine wins from 10 starts this year. Nancy Takter trains the James Avritt Sr.-bred colt who paid $2.10 to win. Captain Kirk set a quick pace with Cattlewash stalking second, but once driver David Miller pulled the Ron Burke trainee from the pocket he lifted flight and sprinted to a 1:46.4 victory in the opening division of the Captaintreacherous. With Captain Kirk clearing Cattlewash by a :27 first quarter, Captain Kirk continued to roll up the backstretch towards a :53.3 half and around the far turn to three-quarters in 1:20.3. Cattlewash revved out of the pocket spinning for the finish and swept past Captain Kirk with extended strides as Miller kept the reins high in the final-quarter sprint. The Somebeachsomewhere colt stopped the clock to match his sire's world record while winning by open lengths over Captain Kirk. Save Me A Dance closed for third with Sandbetweenmytoes fourth. Cattlewash sprinted to a 1:46.4 victory        --Amanda Stephens Photo Shaving nearly four seconds off his lifetime best, Cattlewash scored his third victory from 10 starts this season and his seventh from 23 overall, earning $551,502 for owner-breeder W. J. Donovan. He paid $5.60 to win. A seam to the inside gave Warrawee Vital open road in the stretch, and the Robert Fellows trainee flew through to snag the lead late and win the second division of the Captaintreacherous. Taking command to a :27 first quarter, Warrawee Vital let Fortify clear the lead into the backstretch while Capt Midnight looped from third to the lead approaching a :54.1 half. Tru Lou then leapt from sixth to the lead before the far turn, shuffling Warrawee Vital to fifth while also speeding to three-quarters in 1:20.3. Capt Midnight kicked from the pocket into the stretch and marched to the lead while Fortify fanned to the center of the course and Warawee Vital swooped into contention to the inside, vaulting by Capt Midnight in the final strides to stop the clock in 1:47.1. Capt Midnight settled for second with Fortify finishing third and Tru Lou foruth. Winning his seventh race from 11 starts this season and his eighth from 13 overall, Warrawee Vital has earned $141,607 for owners Blair Corbeil, Yolanda Fellows and M&S Racing Stable Inc. The Warrawee Farm-bred Captaintreacherous colt paid $6.60 to win. Grand Circuit competition resumes at The Red Mile on Friday (Oct. 9) with the International Stallion Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts and two-year-old pacing fillies. First-race post time is slated for 1:00 p.m. (EDT).   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

LEXINGTON, KY--Party Girl Hill's undefeated campaign continued on Saturday (Oct. 4) at The Red Mile when the Captaintreacherous filly won the second of three divisions for the $236,600 American Ideal Bluegrass Three-Year-Old Filly Pace--sponsored by Brittany Stallion Management--to collect her 12th-consecutive harness racing victory. Racing fourth to a :26.4 first quarter, driver Dexter Dunn dashed Party Girl Hill to the lead into the backstretch and took over the helm by a :54.4 half. Marloe Hanover gave chase from the pocket into the far turn while Lyons Sentinel tipped first over from seventh and progressed towards the top to three-quarters in 1:22.1. Lyons Sentinel made inroads on Marloe Hanover through the stretch, but Party Girl Hill scooted clear in the final quarter and opened her lead to the finish of a 1:48 mile. Candy On The Beach took fourth. "She's come a long way this season," Dexter Dunn said after the race. "She just keeps getting better and better. She's a real racehorse; you can do what you want with her--you can take her back, send her in, you can move her... her run today was great. I didn't think we've actually got to the bottom of her to be honest. She's never really been all out at the end of her miles. Two trips at Delaware [OH] and a trip today, she's had the plugs in all three times. She's exciting; she's a pleasure to sit behind." Earning $616,870 in her 12 starts, Party Girl Hill--a homebred for Tom Hill--races for trainer Chris Ryder. Sent the 1-9 favorite, she paid $2.10 to win. Nancy Takter trainee Peaky Sneaky set soft fractions but fired from the half to the finish, coasting to a 1:49.1 victory in the opening division of the American Ideal. Peaky Sneaky coasted to a 1:49.1 victory    --Amanda Stephens Photo By the quarter in :28, Peaky Sneaky led Baby Your The Best, Hen Party and Reflect With Me in a single-file stroll to a :56 half. Hen Party edged first over into the far turn but advanced through a quickening pace to three-quarters in 1:23.3 and began to falter into the stretch. Baby Your The Best gave pursuit to Peaky Sneaky from the pocket but settled for second three-and-three-quarter lengths behind. Reflect With Me rallied for third while stablemate Hen Party held fourth. "I've kind of been waiting for her to get the chance to win an actual stakes race because she's kind of been knocking at the door," Nancy Takter said after the race. "She's a super nice filly--she's a little bit of an overachiever; she gives you everything she's got every time she's on the track. There's nothing else I can say about her but good things." A daughter of Bettors Delight bred by White Birch Farm, Peaky Sneaky won her fourth race from 11 starts this season and his sixth from 20 overall, earning $247,499 for owners Howard Taylor, Judith Taylor and Order By Stable. Scott Zeron steered the $10.40 winner. Takter also took the final division of the American Ideal with 1-2 favorite JK First Lady, who landed on the lead late to win in 1:49.2. Rocknificent swept to the lead with New Year settling into second and Lady Lou third heading to a :26.2 first quarter. JK First Lady, racing fifth, slid first over passing a :54.3 half and advanced towards the leader rounding the final turn. New Year vacated pocket to three-quarters in 1:22.4, forcing JK First Lady three wide for the stretch drive. Through the lane JK First Lady drew closer to late-leader New Year and, in the final sixteenth, downed that rival with Rocknificent in contention but finishing third. Blazin Grace blew from last for fourth. A homebred Western Ideal filly for 3 Brothers Stables out of former Nancy Takter pupil JK She'salady, JK First Lady collected her fourth win from nine starts this season and her ninth from 19 overall, earning $588,856. Yannick Gingras drove the $3.00 winner. Grand Circuit competition resumes at The Red Mile on Friday (Oct. 9) with the International Stallion Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts and two-year-old pacing fillies. First-race post time is slated for 1:00 p.m. (EDT).   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

LEXINGTON, KY--Off a world record set in Delaware, OH, It's Academic powered to the lead, settled for the pocket and surged for the lead late to take the first of three harness racing divisions for the $211,700 Greenshoe Bluegrass Three-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Trot--sponsored by the Greenshoe Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farm--in 1:50.3 on Sunday (Oct. 4) at The Red Mile. Driver Chris Page pushed It's Academic for the front from post 7 with EL Ideal also leaving to his inside. EL Ideal crossed to the cones and parked It's Academic by a :27.1 first quarter before letting the Uncle Peter colt clear command, but soon circled from second to the top heading to a :54.4 half. Beads, the 1-5 favorite, edged first over moving to the far turn and made slight gains to three-quarters in 1:23 but began to gallop into the stretch. EL Ideal held a slimming lead into the stretch as It's Academic angled out and bore down on the pacesetter, eventually sliding by to win by one-and-a-quarter lengths. King Alphonso finished third with Maesteraemon fourth. Returning $22.20 to win, It's Academic competes for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, W. J. Donovan, Joe Sbrocco and Hatfield Stables. The GBW Breeding Farms-bred colt collected his fifth win from 11 starts this season and his 11th from 21 overall, earning $339,784. Even-money choice Back Of The Neck zipped past even-money choice Amigo Volo to score in the second division of the Greenshoe. Amigo Volo brushed to the front past a :27.4 first quarter and softened the clip up the backstretch with the field single file to a :56.1 half. Capricornus--under a tight hold--rushed first over into the far turn to match strides with Amigo Volo by three-quarters in 1:25.3 but lost ground as Amigo Volo accelerated into the stretch. Room opened for Back Of The Neck to tip wide from second, and the Ready Cash colt gathered momentum before pushing past Amigo Volo into the final sixteenth and strolling to a 1:51.3 victory. Patriarch Hanover rallied for third with Third Shift finishing fourth. "[Svanstedt] tried pulling all four shoes on him today," winning driver Scott Zeron after the race. "[Svanstedt] told me--even in the post parade--said he sounds great, he'll be good. I feel like right now he's better--that was off of a layoff, so I'm only thinking he's going to get better and better. [Svanstedt] thinks he's the best horse in his barn, and he was right." Owned by breeder Order By Stable and co-owners Howard and Judith Taylor, Back Of The Neck won his third race from seven starts this season and his sixth from 16 overall, earning $441,270. Ake Svanstedt trains the $4.20 winner. Svanstedt trainees hit the track in the final division of the Greenshoe to snag three of the top four spots at the finish of a 1:52.3 mile, with 5-2 third choice Gangster Hanover holding on for victory. Hollywood Story hurried from post 4 to the lead while Jula Trix Treasure parked from post 8 in pursuit of the front. Past a :27.4 first quarter, Jula Trix Treasure took the lead. Stonefire US slid off the pylons from last moving up the backstretch and rolled outside before catching cover from Gangster Hanover by a :56.1 half. Gangster Hanover charged up to his stablemate's neck into the final turn and hustled to the lead by three-quarters in 1:25.1, gaining separation on the field into the stretch. Though the backfield began to rally, with Jula Trix Treasure fanning wide to give chase to Gangster Hanover but settle for second. Sermon slid up the inside for third while Coventry Hall, also trained by Svanstedt, finished fourth. Bred and co-owned by Brittany Farms along with partners Ake Svanstedt and S R F Stable, Gangster Hanover won his second race from five starts this season and his fifth from 11 overall, earning $239,223. Svanstedt drove the $7.40 winner. Grand Circuit competition resumes at The Red Mile on Friday (Oct. 9) with the International Stallion Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts and two-year-old pacing fillies. First-race post time is slated for 1:00 p.m. (EDT).   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

As Oak Grove Racing and Gaming gets back to harness racing this week end after battling the elements last Saturday and Sunday which caused cancellation of races, important news for those entering horses this coming Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2.   With a temporary planned power outage in place though Tuesday, October 29, those horsemen wishing to enter are asked to call the race office personnel on their cell phones:   Race Secretary Tom Agosti@ 716-553-8462, assistant race secretary Tanya Agosti@716-510-3548 and Director of Racing Peter Szymanski@443-235-8532.   “The planned power outage for Tuesday is to insure all is well for the infrastructure that will be back in place for racing this weekend”, said Szymanski.   “Barring any unforeseen circumstances, we will be back racing here at Oak Grove this weekend and the remainder of the meet.”   Szymanski also noted that horses that were entered for the races this past weekend that were canceled will get paid accordingly- those that were scheduled to race on Saturday will split the purse while those entered for Sunday will receive $200 per horse.   Also, the purses for all classes this weekend will be bumped up at $500 per class.   “ It’s our way of saying thank you to all the wonderful horsemen who have supported us thus far”, said Szymanski.   Post time for this weekend’s races is set for 1:05 pm.     from Oak Grove Racing and Gaming

LEXINGTON, KY--Chris Ryder harness racing trainee Bettor's Wish ground first over into the final turn and withstood a late rush from pocket-popper Captain Crunch to take the second of two divisions of the $540,000 Crawford Farms Tattersalls Pace--sponsored by Michelle and Albert Crawford--on Sunday, Oct. 6 at The Red Mile. Captain Crunch led the field to a :26.3 first quarter but settled for the pocket moving up the backstretch as American Mercury brushed from third to the lead past a :55 half. Bettor's Wish, racing fifth, followed that move but raced uncovered upon the lead change into the final turn. The son of Bettor's Delight pressed forward through three-quarters in 1:21.3 and put away American Mercury straightening for the finish. Captain Crunch vacated pocket and rallied inside of Bettor's Wish late but only gave chase from second. Air Force Hanover took third. "I was concerned about Captain Crunch," Chris Ryder said after the race. "He was second last week but he raced well. He made us go, so it was a little anxious absolutely. But we held on. There's really not much to say. [Bettor's Wish] was a nice two-year-old and he's just improved. The time off or whatever from two to three--he's just a faster animal." Co-owned by Chris Ryder with Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm and Bettors Wish Partners, Bettor's Wish won his 16th race from 27 starts, earning $1,561,000. Dexter Dunn, who became the leading driver of the Grand Circuit meeting, piloted the $2.60 winner. Dexter Dunn                               --Lisa photo Dancin Lou lunged inside of 1-9 favorite Southwind Ozzi late in the stretch to take the other division of the Crawford Farms Tattersalls Pace. Driver Dexter Dunn dashed Dancin Lou to the lead while U S Captain settled for the pocket moving to a :27 first quarter. Southwind Ozzi, sitting third, soon tipped wide and brushed to the top entering the backside, leading the field past the half in :54.3. Can't Beach That flushed first over from fourth moving into the final turn, tracked by Shake That House, but stalled past three-quarters in 1:23. Southwind Ozzi clung to command as he floated off the pegs through the stretch. Dancin Lou darted through the late opening and slid past the Little Brown Jug winner to stop the clock in 1:49.4. Shake That House kicked off cover for third. "This is a dream come true I just can't believe it," said winning trainer Tahnee Camilleri, an Australian native in her first year training stateside. "I'm in shock--I'm shaking. You normally don't find me tongue tied but, oh my God. I'm just thankful [my owners] decided to give an Aussie girl chasing the American dream a shot. "He really likes the big track and I think he likes the clay surface," Camilleri also said. "He stays like a mother in law so the big track suits him." Bred by Anvil & Lace Farm and owned by David Kryway and 1362313 Ontario Ltd., Dancin Lou won his 10th race from 26 starts, earning $265,859. The Sweet Lou colt bound for the Breeders Crown paid $20.40 to win.   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

Greenshoe, Gimpanzee, and Green Manalishi S see plenty of each other on a regular basis but have not seen much of each other on the harness racing racetrack. The three horses, all from the stable of trainer Marcus Melander, will compete in the same race for only the second time this year when they meet in Sunday's (Oct. 6) $450,000 Kentucky Futurity for 3-year-old trotters at Lexington's Red Mile. The Kentucky Futurity is the third jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown. The only previous meeting between Melander's trio came in the first jewel, the Hambletonian, on Aug. 3. Greenshoe finished second to Forbidden Trade in the Hambletonian, with Gimpanzee third and Green Manalishi S fifth. Four weeks later, Gimpanzee was Melander's only entry in the Trotting Triple Crown's second event, the Yonkers Trot, where Gimpanzee claimed the trophy by defeating Forbidden Trade. Greenshoe, who has won nine of 11 races and $939,550 in purses this season, is the sport's richest trotter. Among 3-year-olds, Gimpanzee is third and Green Manalishi S is fourth. "They've been racing good all year," Melander said. "We couldn't be more happy with how they've been performing. They've had a long season, but they're still going strong and look good. "We made a lot of money with those three horses. We were lucky because they were in different sire stakes (programs) and we could separate them a little bit. I think we were smart to separate them like that and I think it was good for the horses, as well. It's good for their head to not race against each other. I think we did the right thing with all of them. They've all won big races." Greenshoe is the 4-5 morning-line favorite in the Kentucky Futurity, which attracted 12 horses and will be contested as a single dash with two horses starting from the second tier. Greenshoe's victories this season include the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial, New Jersey Sire Stakes championship, Kentucky Sire Stakes championship, and a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. The colt enters the Kentucky Futurity off a 1:49.4 triumph in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes last week at Red Mile. The time is the fastest of the season for a 3-year-old trotter and the fourth sub-1:50 winning mile by a sophomore in harness racing history. Six Pack trotted the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old, 1:49.1, in last year's Futurity. "It was nice, of course," Melander said about Greenshoe's mile. "We knew he could do that, so it was nice to get that record for him. Especially if it's going to be bad weather on Sunday, he's probably not going to have that chance. "He came out of (the Bluegrass) great. It will be exciting to see him." Greenshoe, whose full brother Maverick sold for a record $1.1 million Tuesday at the Lexington Selected Sale, will start the Futurity from post four with regular driver Brian Sears. He is owned by Courant Inc., Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, and Morten Langli. Gimpanzee, a Dan Patch Award winner last year at age 2, has won six of nine races this year and earned $691,163. His victories this season in addition to the Yonkers Trot include the New York Sire Stakes championship and Empire Breeders Classic. He finished second to Greenshoe last week. The colt is owned by Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. Gimpanzee (Mike Lizzi Photo) Green Manalishi S has won six of 10 races this season, including the Canadian Trotting Classic and Simcoe Stakes, and earned $638,838 for owner Courant Inc. Green Manalishi S Gimpanzee and driver David Miller start the Futurity from post six and Green Manalishi S and driver Tim Tetrick leave from post eight. The horses are both 6-1 second choices on the morning line. "I'm happy with how my horses are going into the race," Melander said. "I'm confident going into the race, but it's horse racing and there are some nice horses in there. A lot can happen." Five horses sit at 15-1 behind Melander's trio on Sunday. One, Marseille, is the only horse other than Forbidden Trade to beat Greenshoe this season, winning the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial by a head. Svanstedt, who won last year's Futurity with Six Pack, trains and drives Marseille. Hambletonian winner Forbidden Trade was not eligible to the Futurity. This is the second time in four years the Futurity will be a single 12-horse dash. Marion Marauder completed a sweep of the Trotting Triple Crown by winning from the second tier's post 11 in 2016. In addition to the Kentucky Futurity, the card includes the $267,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity for 3-year-old female trotters. Eleven horses entered the race. Hambletonian Oaks winner When Dovescry is the 9-5 favorite followed by Millies Possesion at 2-1. For more on the Futurity Day card, including two Tattersalls Pace divisions for 3-year-old male pacers and Allerage events for trotting and pacing mares, click here. For complete entries, click here. Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT). Following is the field for the 127th Kentucky Futurity. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-M/L 1 - Chin Chin Hall - Cash Hall - Peter Wrenn - R. Nifty Norman - 15/1 2 - Marseille - Muscle Hill - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Stanstedt - 15/1 3 - Super Schissel - Uncle Peter - Scott Zeron - Per Engblom - 20/1 4 - Greenshoe - Father Patrick - Brian Sears - Marcus Melander - 4/5 5 - Don't Let'em - Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras - Nancy Johansson - 15/1 6 - Gimpanzee - Chapter Seven - David Miller - Marcus Melander - 6/1 7 - Mass Fortune K - Muscle Massive - Tyler Buter - Norm Parker - 30/1 8 - Green Manalishi S - Muscle Hill - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 6/1 9 - Pilot Discretion - Muscle Hill - Andy McCarthy - Tony Alagna - 15/1 10 - Soul Strong - Father Patrick - Dexter Dunn - Ake Svanstedt - 15/1 11 - Goes Down Smooth - Muscle Hill - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 20/1 12 - Union Forces - Cantab Hall - Andy Miller - Julie Miller - 20/1 by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager      

LEXINGTON, KY -- Entering from several off-the-board finishes, the harness racing Brian Brown trainee, Workin Ona Mystery, catapulted off cover to pace the quickest mile of the three divisions of the $267,400 Captaintreacherous Bluegrass Stakes--sponsored by the Captaintreacherous Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms--on Sunday, Sept. 29 at The Red Mile. Semi Tough took command from Dancin Lou entering the first turn and led the field to a :27.1 opening quarter while 4-5 favorite Captain Crunch sat fourth with Workin Ona Mystery on his back. The favorite then tipped from the pylons passing a :54.4 half and ranged towards the pacesetter while supplying cover to Workin Ona Mystery heading to three-quarters in 1:21.4. Captain Crunch took command from Semi Tough through the stretch but could not withstand Workin Ona Mystery as he darted past to a two-length victory in 1:48.1. Dancin Lou, off a pocket trip, finished third. "It's been a two-month struggle," Brian Brown said after the race. "It's like every time you turned around, there was something else wrong blood related--some infection; the white count was out of whack and then it'd knock his red count, his hemoglobin, out of whack. Just something all the time with him--and he's finally getting healthy again. Tim [Tetrick]'s helped with getting him rigged up. He's behaving much better; he's more relaxed. Hats off to his groom, his trainer--they've helped me get this horse back going." Bred by White Birch Farm and owned by Diamond Creek Racing, Stambaugh Leeman Stable, Alan Keith and Wingfield Brothers LLC, Workin Ona Mystery won his ninth race from 17 starts, earning $430,341. Tim Tetrick drove the Captaintreacherous colt who paid $4.60 to win. American Mercury motored off a pocket trip to a 1:49.3 victory in the second division of the Captaintreacherous. Driver Tyler Buter pushed for the front with American Mercury heading to the first turn but yielded command to Can't Beach That after a :27 first quarter. American Mercury stayed in the pocket through a :55 half and three-quarters in 1:23.3 while Can't Beach That endured far-turn pressure from De Los Cielos Deo. But De Los Cielos Deo faltered into the stretch, leaving room for American Mercury to slingshot from the pocket and to the lead through the stretch. He hit the finish two lengths better than Fabrice Hanover, who tracked De Los Cielos Deo's cover for second, with Can't Beach That finishing third. Winning his 10th race from 20 starts, American Mercury--sired by American Ideal--has earned $631,443 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Northfork Racing Stable, Chuck Pompey and Scott Bice. Chris Oakes trains the $3.40 winner bred by Steve Stewart, Julie Nash and Charles Nash. American Mercury Bettor's Wish brushed past tiring horses circling the final turn to take the final Captaintreacherous split. The Chris Ryder trainee raced fourth while Air Force Hanover took control before a :26.4 first quarter. Pyro then pulled wide from third and surged to the lead nearing a :53.4 half but soon decelerated heading to the final turn. Driver Dexter Dunn angled Bettor's Wish from fourth and blitzed the pacesetter as he slowed to three-quarters in 1:22, then opened a four-length margin on the field through the lane. Air Force Hanover gave pursuit from second while Shake That House closed from third over to finish third in a 1:48.3 mile. "He impressed me even this week," Ryder said after the race. "I was saying to myself [that] he feels fresh; he doesn't feel tired. I had a little bit of trouble with him in the stall--he keeps spinning around; he's just got so much energy the last two or three weeks. He wanted to go race; he didn't want to be locked up. That's just the way he is." Accruing $1,426,000 in earnings for owners Chris Ryder, Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm and Bettors Wish Partners, Bettor's Wish--a son of Bettor's Delight bred by Brittany Farms--collected his 15th victory from 26 starts. He paid $2.20 to win. "This horse he has such a great personality; he's what I look for in a yearling," said Art Zubrod, co-owner through Fair Island Farm, after the race. "Every time you put him in the paddock with somebody he was the same... he just can't wait to get to the racetrack. Bettor's Wish "Last year I thought he was a top colt," Zubrod also said, "and Chris [Ryder] called me this winter, he said 'We've been offered quite a bit of money, what do you think?' And I said 'Man, I'm going to be honest with you: I know this horse is top three. Paul MacDonell last year took such good care of this horse--had a couple of races that he could've won if he went to the stick but he didn't go to the stick and I think it's really helped us this year." Grand Circuit action resumes at The Red Mile Thursday, Oct. 3 with the $350,000 (est.) International Stallion Stakes for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Racing gets underway with first-race post at 1:00 p.m. (EDT). By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile  

LEXINGTON, KY--Off a decisive harness racing  victory in her Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) division last week, Ms Savannah Belle returned to The Red Mile with a pocket-rocket mile of 1:53.3 to take the first of three $30,000 third-preliminary KYSS divisions for two-year-old trotting fillies on Saturday, Aug. 31. Crucial protected position from the pylons while Ms Savannah Belle ducked for the pocket heading to a :28.4 opening quarter. Bange Bi raced wide from third and progressed towards the pacesetter nearing a :57.1 half but failed to clear. Crucial kept Bange Bi parked past three-quarters in 1:26.2 before the first-over challenger dropped anchor and opened room for Ms Savannah Belle to pounce. Driver Jimmy Takter sent the Muscle Hill filly after Crucial at the head of the stretch and kicked clear to a four-and-three-quarter length victory over Heaven. Crucial held third. A homebred for Al Libfeld, Ms Savannah Belle won her second race from five starts, earning $54,658. Per Engblom trains the $2.80 winner. Driver Chris Page circled 3-2 favorite Violet Stride to the front past the quarter and held firm on the lead in progress to a 1:55.2 victory in the second KYSS filly split. Page positioned the Trixton filly third behind early duelers Do You Wanna Dance and Julia C heading to a :28.3 first quarter. He then sent the Mark Harder trainee after Do You Wanna Dance and took control before a :57.4 half. From there she withstood minor first-over pressure from Julia C passing three-quarters in 1:27.1 while holding off that challenger by two-and-three-quarter lengths at the finish. Sequin rallied from a pylon trip for third. Bred by Kentuckiana Farms LLC and Jorgen Jahre Jr., Violet Stride won her second race from six starts, earning $34,250. Emilio & Maria Rosati own the $5.00 winner. Page also steered Cover Girl to a 1:56.3 victory in the final filly division of KYSS. Even-money favorite Caviart Eva cleared the front moving to a :29.3 opening quarter while Page had Cover Girl placed fourth. He soon pulled the Paul Kelley trainee first over past a :59 half and rushed to the helm circling the final turn. Cover Girl led Caviart Eva passed three-quarters in 1:28.2 and strode clear to a two-and-a-half length victory. Miss Kendra D, off a pylon trip, took second while Caviart Eva settled for third. Winning her first race from three starts, Cover Girl has earned $25,500 for owners Paul Kelley Racing Stable, T L P Stable, S R F Stable and Lawrence Thomases. The Muscle Hill filly--bred by Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband--paid $4.80 to win. Expectations topped the two KYSS colt dashes with a wire-to-wire victory as the 1-5 favorite. Driver Mattias Melander had the Marcus Melander trainee on the lead while Hit Show tracked from the pocket approaching a :28.4 opening quarter. The Muscle Hill colt endured no challenge from there, trotting a half in :58.3 and three-quarters in 1:27.3 in progress to a three-length victory in 1:55.3. Hit Show held second while Mcmatters rallied from off cover for third. Owned by Vicky Trotting Inc. and bred by Dunroven Stud LLC, Expectations won his second race from six starts, earning $76,899. He paid $2.60 to win. Ready For Moni ranged to the front from the outermost post in the other KYSS colt division and coasted clear of his rivals to win by five-and-a-quarter lengths in 1:57.3. Driver Jimmy Takter floated the Ready Cash colt towards the front when racing in the center of the course nearing the first turn. Ready For Moni crossed to the lead past a :30.4 opening quarter and slowly widened his lead through a 1:00.3 half and past three-quarters in 1:29.4. Ontopofthehill rallied from a pylon trip to chase the Per Engblom trainee for second while Legion Of Honor, pulling first over around the final turn, took third. Collecting his third victory from four starts, Ready For Moni has banked $36,500 for owners John Fielding, Herb Liverman, Bud Hatfield and Lindy Farms Of Connecticut. The Moni Maker Stable bred the colt who paid $3.20 to win. KYSS action resumes at The Red Mile on Sunday, Sept. 1 with two divisions for frosh pacing colts and a single split for frosh pacing fillies. The card will start at 7:00 p.m. (EDT).     By Ray Cotolo   for The Red Mile

LEXINGTON, KY--Chris Ryder harness racing trainee Bettor's Wish--off five days rest--paced a meeting's best at The Red Mile when winning the third of three $30,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) opening-preliminary divisions for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings in 1:47.4 on Thursday, Aug. 15.   Driver Dexter Dunn darted Bettor's Wish to the lead while Captain Trevor floated towards the top nearing a :27 opening quarter and eventually crossed over to control the field into the backside. Dunn soon angled the son of Bettor's Delight from the pocket and retook the lead prior to a :54.2 half. From there Bettor's Wish paced to three-quarters in 1:21.4 and finished the mile under minimal encouragement with a :26 final quarter. Captain Trevor cut into the leader's margin late when finishing second while Backlight rode the pylons for the mile and finished several lengths behind in third.   Co-owned by Ryder with Bella Racing Ltd., Fair Island Farm Inc. and Bettors Wish Partners, Bettor's Wish won his seventh race from 10 starts this season and his 12th from 22 overall, surpassing $1.1 million in earnings. The Brittany Farms-bred colt paid $2.10 to win.   Can't Beach That pounced on pacesetter Dancin Lou to take the opening KYSS division in 1:50.   Driver David Miller placed the Brett Pelling-trained Somebeachsomewhere colt in the pocket moving to a :27.1 opening quarter and stayed put at the pylons to a :55.3 half. Doc's Hooligan pulled first over from fifth moving to the far turn and progressed to apply pressure to Dancin Lou passing three-quarters in 1:23.4 but retreated through the stretch. Can't Beach That angled outside of Dancin Lou into the final eighth and powered past to win by three-quarter lengths. Dancin Lou held second from Skip To My Lou, who rode the pylons for third.   Owned by breeder Melvin Segal with partners Kentuckiana Racing Stable and Eddie Gran, Can't Beach That--out of the Kentucky-based broodmare Cannae Cammie--won his fourth race from nine starts this season and his fifth from 18 overall, earning $84,104. David Miller steered the $4.00 winner.   Trainer-driver Dan Noble swooped the field with odds-on favorite Native's Sweetlou to take the middle KYSS split in 1:49.2.   Egomania left for the front while Pyro sat pocket through an early clip of :26.3 and :54.2. Noble had Native's Sweetlou positioned seventh approaching the final turn and tipped the Allamerican Native gelding to race third over, gapping cover, as Western Exposure led the two-wide tier to three-quarters. Western Exposure pressed Egomania through the third station in 1:22 and took a narrow lead through the stretch. Noble fanned to the center of the course with Native's Sweetlou and brushed by tiring horses in progress to a length victory. Pocket-sitter Pyro snuck through a seam inside for second while Western Exposure, rough-gaited at the end, settled for third.   Leased by Chuck Grubbs, Native's Sweetlou won his fourth race from 11 starts this season and his sixth from 22 overall, crossing $100,000 in earnings. The Thomas Cave-bred gelding paid $3.40 to win.   Race-favorite and defending KYSS champ Beautyonthebeach managed slow fractions on the front while battling a far-turn blitz from Blue Ivy to take the sole split of KYSS for three-year-old pacing fillies.   Summer Charm charged for the front from the outside while Margret Hill tucked into the pocket and driver Doug McNair protected position from the pylon post circling the first turn in third. McNair then moved the Somebeachsomewhere filly off the pegs past a :28 first quarter and cleared control entering the backside. Blue Ivy sat fifth and pulled wide to venture uncovered through a :56 half with Alii Nui and Salutation in tow.   Blue Ivy accelerated towards the pacesetter and took a slim lead as the pace quickened towards three-quarters, timed in 1:23.3. Beautyonthebeach drifted from the pylons exiting the turn but quickly angled towards the cones straightening into the stretch. Blue Ivy backed through a wall of horses while Summer Charm attempted to pull pocket but threw several bad steps. Beautyonthebeach faced little challenge in the final strides to win in a lifetime-best 1:50.4 with Ali Nuii rallying from off cover to take second while Salutation paced widest of all to finish third.   A homebred filly out of Precocious Beauty for James Avritt Sr., Beautyonthebeach won her second race from nine starts this season and her seventh from 22 overall, earning $319,873. Gregg McNair conditions the $2.80 winner.   Kentucky Sires Stakes action resumes Sunday, Aug. 18 at The Red Mile with trotting freshmen contesting in the second preliminary of their events--three divisions for the colts and three for the fillies. The 15-race program starts at 7:00 p.m. (EDT).     By Ray Cotolo for The Red Mile

Louisville, KY —– Churchill Downs Incorporated, in partnership with Keeneland Association, broke ground today on a $150 million, state-of-the-art, live and historical horse racing venue in Oak Grove, Ky. CDI and Keeneland also unveiled the name and branding for the venue, which will be called Oak Grove Racing & Gaming. The new facility will be constructed in two overlapping phases. The first phase will include the development and construction of the harness race course, overnight stable facility and race-day paddock stable facility which will be completed in time for our inaugural live race meet in October 2019. The second phase of the project, scheduled to open in the first half of 2020, will feature up to 1,500 historical horse racing machines; a 128-room hotel; a grandstand with seating capacity for 1,200 and event space for indoor events; a 3,000-person capacity outdoor amphitheater and stage; an equestrian center including indoor and outdoor arenas as well as a 30 pad RV park. “Horse racing is an integral part of Kentucky’s history and culture, and Churchill Downs is thrilled to further invest in our state’s signature industry through Oak Grove Racing & Gaming,” Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said. “We have seen the tremendous impact Derby City Gaming in Louisville has already had on both the racing industry and local community, and we expect the same degree of success here in Christian County.” “Keeneland is proud to play a role in strengthening the Commonwealth’s horse racing industry and creating new opportunities for horsemen and racing enthusiasts in Kentucky and beyond,” Keeneland Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Vince Gabbert said. “The jobs, tourism, and revenue generated by Oak Grove Racing & Gaming is good news, not just for Christian County, but for all of Kentucky. A win for horse racing is a win for us all.” Oak Grove Racing & Gaming is the only venue of its kind in Kentucky and will be a welcome addition to Christian County. The facility is expected to create nearly 400 direct full- and part-time equivalent positions and an estimated 800 direct construction jobs. More information regarding job fairs and hiring will be released in the coming months. In December 2018, CDI and Keeneland announced they had been awarded a racing license by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for 12 live Standardbred racing dates in 2019 at Oak Grove. The new venue replaces important Standardbred racing opportunities lost due to the closure of Thunder Ridge Park in eastern Kentucky.   Churchill Downs and Keeneland

Questioning a number of actions by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission in awarding a Standardbred license in the Oak Grove, Ky. area to a partnership of Churchill Downs Inc. and Keeneland, Kentucky Downs has appealed the regulator's decision to the Franklin (Ky.) Circuit Court of Appeals. In a Jan. 4 filing, Kentucky Downs asks the court to void a KHRC decision in late 2018 to award WKY Development (CDI-Keeneland) a license to conduct Standardbred racing and offer historical racing games. KHRC executive director Marc Guilfoil and general counsel John Forgy were not immediately available Jan. 8 for comment on the appeal. Kentucky Downs, in its appeal, says the KHRC acted arbitrarily in awarding a racing license to WKY Development. The track contends the regulator either failed to follow its process in awarding a license or that process was unclear. It says the regulator "admitted" in 2017 it didn't have a sufficient process or criteria in place to award a track license, but awarded a license in 2018 without putting that process in place. The appeal also contends that WKY Development didn't meet statutory or regulatory criteria, including what Kentucky Downs says is a requirement for a binding horsemen's agreement, which in this case would be the Kentucky Harness Horsemen's Association. The appeal also argues that the historical racing games at CDI's Derby City Gaming in Louisville "did not comply with Kentucky law at the time the commission approved WKY's application."  The KHRC voted Nov. 16 to award the Oak Grove license to WKY Development. At that time, the KHRC was fining Derby City Gaming $1,000 a day because the games there improperly included races where horses had been scratched. CDI has pointed out that the flaw didn't impact customers, as the system uses post positions to determine winning combinations. At a December meeting, KHRC staff said they hadn't found any evidence of customers being impacted, but also acknowledged that the fines continued. Kentucky Downs has contended that the new track will negatively impact its historical racing operations. The court filing said the regulator should have done more research in this regard and overall economic impact in the region and for racing in the state. "Based on the criteria that were in place in 2017 and 2018, the commission is required to consider construction cost estimates, revenue projections, market research studies, and to analyze whether the proposed projects are sustainable and in the best interest of the horse industry," Kentucky Downs wrote in its court appeal. "The commission must also consider the effect of the application on other existing racetracks." The Nov. 16 vote by the commission to award the license followed an Oct. 30 special meeting that exceeded 4 1/2 hours and ultimately saw a 7-5 vote to defer the decision. The KHRC had considered proposals from WKY Development, Kentucky Downs, and Caesars Entertainment. At that November meeting, WKY Development presented a plan that would see $150 million put toward a track, entertainment center, equestrian center, and hotel. Churchill Downs racetrack president Kevin Flanery noted the historic commitment of the two Thoroughbred tracks to Kentucky racing and the efforts they've made to generate support in the Oak Grove, Ky. area. He said historical racing would fund the Standardbred purses at the new track and additional money would be used to support Thoroughbred racing and The Red Mile harness track. Besides the purses supplied at the new track for 12 days of racing, which could be increased in future years, Flanery envisioned the historic racing facility, which would start as 1,200 machines with the possibility to expand to 1,500, generating $10 million for both Thoroughbred and Standardbred purses in the state.  Three days before the November meeting on the Oak Grove license, Kentucky Downs announced it had been sold to Kentucky Racing Acquisition, a new company co-founded by Ron Winchell and Marc Falcone. The new ownership continued Kentucky Downs' pursuit of the Oak Grove license. Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, it has the potential to slow plans. When WKY was awarded the Oak Grove license in November, Flanery said plans were "well on their way" for the new facility with a construction schedule that would allow racing there by the fall of 2019. Kentucky Downs' appeal said the KHRC had not put in place a process to consider requests for new licenses. It noted that in 2017, Churchill Downs and Keeneland had pursued racing licenses for two new facilities, but commission chairman Frank Kling Jr. and vice chairman John Roach issued a statement that they had informed Kentucky's tracks that the regulator would not be considering applications for new facilities in the state.  "At this time, neither of us have any plans to take any action related to this application or any other application for a new race track facility," said the September 2017 statement, which is referenced in the appeal. "It is our hope that in the future we will be able to develop a process and criteria to determine whether any new race track facilities are needed in the commonwealth." Kentucky Downs said it initially filed an appeal of the decision and request for an administrative hearing, but was summarily denied that request in a Dec. 28, 2018 letter from Forgy.  In its court appeal, Kentucky Downs said that any simulcasting rights at the new track would be contingent on Kentucky Downs' approval. The 92-page court filing says state regulations don't allow another simulcasting outlet within 50 miles of an existing outlet without consent of the existing outlet and Kentucky Downs has not granted the proposed track simulcasting rights. The Kentucky Downs appeal also contends that members of the KHRC may have conducted meetings in violation of Kentucky law and that, "on information or belief, one or more of the commissioners may have a financial interest in Churchill Downs, which is the principal member of WKY, but still voted." The appeal also questions votes by commissioners Foster Northrop and J. David Richardson, who both voted in favor of awarding WKY Development the license. When WKY Development in September announced plans to pursue a new track in the Oak Grove area, a public relations firm hired by WKY issued statements supporting a new track from Northrop and Richardson. At the time, the WKY proposal was the only publicly known group pursuing a license for the Oak Grove area. BloodHorse left phone messages with Northrop and Richardson offering a chance for comment that weren't immediately returned. By Frank Angst Reprinted with permission of Bloodhorse

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