Churchill Downs Requests September Races; Turfway Park Opposes The Change
Churchill Downs “wants to race next September, a step that would create a third meeting on the track’s calendar in addition to its spring and fall meets,” according to Gregory Hall of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. But the move could come “at the expense of dates at the beleaguered Turfway Park in Florence, which opposes the change.” Churchill is “seeking 12 dates during four, three-day weekends after Labor Day.” Those dates have been “assigned to Turfway in the past,” but Churchill Downs “apparently sees opportunity in the mild September weather.” CDI Senior VP and Track President Kevin Flanery said that two dates “could be at night and be held to avoid conflicts” with Univ. of Louisville home football games. He added that Churchill Downs could “offer purses of $240,000 a day next September compared to the $97,000 a day that Turfway officials said they had this September.” However, Turfway officials said that letting the track “drop to three days a week in September -- as Churchill is proposing -- from Turfway’s current four could allow it to improve daily average purses to about $135,000.” Turfway acknowledged that amount is “still less than Churchill’s offer.” But Turfway Operations Dir Chip Bach said that September racing at the track “helps pay for racing during the winter months.” Another Turfway official said that taking away September dates “would cost $500,000 in revenues related to live racing and result in cutbacks, likely in January and February” (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 10/3).