Kentucky’s Harness Horsemen Embracing New ‘Corbin At The Red Mile’ Dates

The reaction from standardbred horsemen to Kentucky gaining an additional harness meet has been overwhelming. Now the problem facing racing secretary Kevin Mack is trying to accommodate as many stables as possible for The Red Mile meet that will serve as a prelude to Kentucky’s third harness track. The 12-date meet runs Sunday July 4 through July 27, with racing on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays over the famed Red Mile’s red-clay oval in Lexington. Post time will be 1 p.m. EDT.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the response,” Mack said. “We have an overwhelming number of stalls applied for — more than we have stalls. We’re delighted with the response for a new meet. Looking forward to seeing all the horsemen and to hit the ground running coming July 4.”

Ron Winchell and Marc Falcone, Kentucky Downs’ majority owners and managing partners, are building a harness track in Corbin in southeastern Kentucky in partnership with Keeneland Race Course. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission granted the owners dates at The Red Mile while the Corbin facility is being constructed. A satellite Historical Horse Racing gaming operation also will be built in nearby Williamsburg to create money for purses as well as jobs in the region.

“Marc and Ron believe in this industry and really want to make a big difference,” said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ vice president for racing who will oversee the Corbin at The Red Mile meet. “This is the first step. We thank the racing commission for granting us the dates until Corbin can be up and running and can’t say enough about The Red Mile for working with us.”

Winchell said that he believes harness racing can mirror the growth that Kentucky Thoroughbred racing has experienced since Kentucky Downs introduced Historical Horse Racing into the state in 2011.

“That includes expanding entertainment and job options in the southeastern part of the Commonwealth,” Winchell said. “We so believe in this project and its bright future that we didn’t want to sit out a year while building the track. By funding a 2021 Corbin meet at The Red Mile, we are showing our commitment to harness racing.”

The meet will include two days showcasing Kentucky’s county-fair circuit, offering racing for 2- and 3-year-old trotters and pacers. The Mercer County Fair races will be conducted at the meet on July 13. The highest point-earners from the seven-stop fair circuit will face off in the $200,000 series finals on July 20.

The Corbin at Red Mile meet also will include prep races for the Kentucky Sire Stakes Championship and the Commonwealth Series. Both series are for Kentucky-sired horses, as well as the foals of mares who spent at least 180 days in Kentucky in the year of the foal’s conception.

The meet’s regular races, not counting those funded by the Kentucky Sire Stakes program, is scheduled to average about $45,000 a card while being underwritten by the owners of the Corbin track.

“This is a much-needed boost to harness racing in Kentucky,” Mack said. “We were down at one point to having only one track, The Red Mile, after some of the others closed. Then we added Oak Grove last year and now the new Corbin meet. It’s giving Kentucky-sired horses better money to go for, and it’s going to provide more days of racing in the state, which was desperately needed.”

Entries for the July 4 opening card will be taken July 1.

The post Kentucky’s Harness Horsemen Embracing New ‘Corbin At The Red Mile’ Dates appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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