Kentucky Thoroughbred Racing

In Kentucky, you can find live Thoroughbred horse racing at any given time of the year.

Keeneland Race Course          Churchill Downs                               Turfway Park                            Ellis Park Race Course
Kentucky Downs                    Kentucky Off-Track Betting, LLC     Kentucky Race Track Links

Keeneland Race Course

Located in the heart of the Bluegrass, you will find Keeneland Association; Keeneland was founded in 1935 as a nonprofit racing/auction entity on 147 acres of farmland west of Lexington. They have live race meets in April and October, and have several prep races for both the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup. In the Thoroughbred racing world, Keeneland is also famous for its other side – its sales operation. Four annual horse auctions are held each year that attracts buyers worldwide. With its tranquil setting and lovely stone fences and buildings, this national historic landmark is one of the most genteel and beautiful racetracks in the world.

Keeneland takes pride in maintaining racing traditions; it was the last track in North America to broadcast race calls over its public-address system, not doing so until 1997. Most of the racing scenes of the 2003 movie Seabiscuit were shot at Keeneland because its appearance has changed relatively little in the last several decades.

Keeneland is open year round for simulcast racing from tracks around the country.

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Churchill Downs


Churchill Downs, located in Louisville, Kentucky, officially opened
in 1875 and began its tradition as “Home of the Kentucky Derby.” 

The twin spires, atop the grandstands, are the most recognizable architectural feature of Churchill Downs. The track opened amid great hoopla on May 17, 1875. Believe it or not, the Kentucky Derby was not planned as the main attraction of the inaugural meet, but when H.P. McGrath’s, “Aristides” set a new world’s record for the mile-and-a-half distance, “the crowd went wild.” Still, racing three-year olds was a relatively new venture, and there were two other races that day which were bigger than the Derby: the Louisville Cup, discontinued after 1887, and the Gentlemen’s Cup Race, in which a member of a recognized jockey club rode his own horse. After only one year, Lutie Clark and the track were considered a success.


Live race meets are held in May-June and in November. Churchill Downs is open year round for simulcast racing from tracks around the country.

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Turfway Park

Turfway Park is located in Northern Kentucky and spans three centuries. The track’s roots reach from the first race at the original Latonia Race Course to today’s call to the post, and the pulse-pounding rush of a great stretch run hasn’t changed a bit in all that time. 

The original Latonia Race course opened in 1883 in Latonia, Kentucky, 10 miles north of present day Turfway. Through the 1920’s, Latonia was a force in racing, offering top horses, top jockeys, and the country’s richest purses. Its major race, the Latonia Derby, for years outshone the Kentucky Derby. 

The Great Depression and changing markets forced Latonia’s gradual decline, until it closed for good in July 1939. The property was sold to Standard Oil of Ohio, the track was torn down, and racing disappeared from Northern Kentucky for two decades. Drawing on the history and tradition of the original Latonia, a new Latonia opened in Florence, Kentucky, in August 1959. After early financial challenges the new track found its footing in the mid-1960s and introduced such innovations as winter racing and night racing. In 1986, investors led by Jerry Carroll bought Latonia, renovated it, and renamed it Turfway Park.

Turfway Park offers Thoroughbred racing during early spring, fall and winter and is open year round for simulcast racing from tracks around the country.

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Ellis Park Race Course

Ellis Park Race Course, originally Dade Park, was built in 1922 by the Green River Jockey Club. The race track was first named after the famous race starter A.B. “Barrett” Dade, a director and one of the organizers of the Green River Jockey Club. Although the course was planned and built for Thoroughbreds, its opening race, on Tuesday, October 19th, 1922, was a Grand Circuit harness meet. On November 18, 1922 the gates opened for the first Thoroughbred meet. Purses for the entire opening meet shaded $62,000.

Times and values, of course, have changed since the days of the old carousel paddock, when the starting gate was pulled by mules, horses came and went by train, fans arrived by ferryboat, the judges’ stand was adjacent to the finish line and odds were calculated by hand.

As Ellis Park advances into this new century, the track, despite four changes of ownership, barn fires, floods and a tornado, maintains the warmth, charm, and simplicity associated with bygones days.

Ellis Park is located in Henderson, KY and runs live Thoroughbred horse racing in the summer starting July 4 and ending Labor Day. Ellis Park also has year round simulcasting.

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Kentucky Downs

Kentucky Downs is a Thoroughbred horse racing track and is located in Franklin, Kentucky, on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee. Kentucky Downs hosts a limited live racing meet each year and has year round simulcasting.

It is unique among American tracks in that it is a European-style course, its surface is all turf instead of dirt, and it is not oval in shape. The track began life in 1990 as Dueling Grounds Race Course. The name came from the history of the Samford Duncan farm, on whose property the track was located. The farm, which was located in a slight corner of what is otherwise a perfectly-straight Kentucky-Tennessee border, was the site of numerous duels in the 1800s, because dueling was illegal in Tennessee but not in Kentucky. Sam Houston took part in a duel on the site. Dueling ended in1827.

The track conducted only steeplechase races in its first year, but removed the fences and switched to flat racing in 1992. The track underwent a tumultuous series of financial misfortunes, changes in ownership, and legal battles, some of which caused the track to miss its 1997 meet. It also saw use as a concert site and a bingo hall. In 1997, the track was purchased at auction by Turfway Park, Churchill Downs and other investors. Turfway Park took over day-to-day management of the facility, having some of its existing staff do double duty at the new track. The name was changed to Kentucky Downs in an effort to remove the stigma attached to the Dueling Grounds brand under its previous mismanagement.

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Kentucky Off-Track Betting, LLC

Kentucky Off-Track Betting, LLC began operations in November 1992.  KOTB is owned by the four major Thoroughbred racetracks in Kentucky - Churchill Downs, Turfway Park, Ellis Park, and Keeneland - as a supplement to their individual on-track betting operations.  The Kentucky Off-Track's mission is to provide an attractive and reliable gaming product in an educational and entertaining atmosphere from a team of knowledgeable and courteous employees.

Kentucky Off-Track Betting, LLC has established four successful off-track betting sites in various parts of Kentucky.  Our first location, Corbin, followed by Jamestown, Maysville, and Pineville.

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Kentucky Race Track Links

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