Commitment to circuit: Kentucky Downs transfers another $1 million in KTDF to Ellis Park purses

Tiz the Bomb, who started his career at Churchill Downs, shown winning the Kentucky Downs Juvenile after taking an Ellis Park maiden race last year. Showing how the Kentucky circuit has progressed, the Kenny McPeek-trained colt won a Grade 2 stakes at Keeneland in his next start. He also won Turfway Park’s Jeff Ruby Steaks in March to give him the distinction of racing at all five Kentucky tracks. Coady Photography

FRANKLIN, Ky. (Friday, July 8, 2022) — Kentucky Downs is transferring an additional $1 million to Ellis Park’s horsemen to beef up purses at the Henderson track’s summer meet. The allocation is part of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF), which supplements the money that registered Kentucky-bred Thoroughbreds can earn in a race.

The $1 million brings to $3.2 million the total amount of money generated from historical horse racing at Kentucky Downs’ The Mint Gaming Hall operation that will go into Ellis Park’s purse account in 2022.

“We looked at the purses for maidens in the summer and just thought they weren’t in line with what we’re trying to do for Kentucky,” said Kentucky Downs co-managing partner Ron Winchell.

Working with the Kentucky HBPA and Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, Kentucky Downs since 2016 has transferred more than $25 million in purse and KTDF supplements generated at The Mint properties to the state’s other racetracks, the majority benefiting Ellis Park’s purse account..

“Once again Kentucky Downs is supporting the racing circuit, and we are grateful,” said Vince Gabbert, who is serving as Ellis Park’s interim director of racing operations. “They have shown they don’t just care about their racetrack but the health of the entire Kentucky circuit.”

The move was applauded by Damon Thayer, the Kentucky Senate Majority Floor Leader.

“I appreciate Kentucky Downs’ ownership and management’s commitment to making sure that the year-round circuit in Kentucky is the best in North America,” Thayer said. “I know of no other track in the country that generates purses for another. But hopefully this is a short-term solution that works for owners, trainers and jockeys in Kentucky until Ellis Park can generate larger purses on its own once its Owensboro track extension is operational.”