Churchill Downs is cutting racing days and purse sizes for its spring meet.
The track received approval Tuesday from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to cut seven days of racing from the spring meet.
Churchill officials say the lack of gaming such as slot machines at the track is keeping purses low, which in turn is keeping horses out of races. Thoroughbred Times News Editor Ed DeRosa says slots might be helpful, but they won’t fix all of the track’s problems.
“I think they help the businesses that run racing and I think they help the horsemen who race for the purses that slots fuel,” he says. “But from a standpoint of do slots make racing interesting and get more people interested in racing, absolutely not.”
DeRosa says cutting the number of racing days will allow for larger fields and bigger purses in remaining races. Several tracks with slots, he says, are facing similar problems.
Legislation that would legalizing slot machines at racetracks has twice been introduced in the Kentucky General Assembly, but has not passed.