Ellis Park in Henderson, Kentucky has closed its doors, one day before it was set to start its summer meet. The 86-year-old horse racing venue has been owned by Louisville businessman Ron Geary since 2006, before that it was owned by Churchill Downs.
Geary says the reason he’s shutting the track down is the ongoing dispute between horsemen, tracks, and online-wagering websites. The dispute brought smaller purses and shorter fields to Churchill’s spring meet, which closes this weekend.
Ed DeRosa with the Thoroughbred Times says there are probably other factors at play.
“He’s had issues with competition from other sources of gaming, such as a riverboat casino across the way, and tracks in the region that offer expanded gaming that offer expanded gaming, which lead to higher purses. And as we know in Kentucky, that’s failed on several attempts over the past few years,” says DeRosa.
Geary said in a news conference this morning that he would not re-open the track as a racing venue.