Most of Kentucky’s thoroughbred horse racing venues have asked for a reduction in racing dates next year.
Churchill Downs actually reduced its racing dates by seven in the middle of the season this year, and officials have asked for an additional reduction of four dates. Spokesperson John Asher says the request is for a 42-day spring meet in 2010, and a 20-day fall meet.
“Now that’s going to be the lowest total request at Churchill Downs since the early 1970’s,” says Asher, “so it’s a strong signal at the moment that times have changed in Kentucky racing.”
But Churchill isn’t the only track seeking to cut dates, and therefore races, and therefore costs. All but one of Kentucky’s thoroughbred racing tracks have asked for reductions. The exception is Keeneland, which has traditionally shorter, 16-day meets in the spring and fall.
The state racing commission is expected to rule on the requests next month.