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Churchill Downs And Keeneland Break Ground On Oak Grove Racing & Gaming

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Taylor Inman
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WKMS

Churchill Downs and Keeneland broke ground Tuesday on a $150 million racetrack and entertainment venue in Oak Grove.

The venue will be named ‘Oak Grove Racing and Gaming.’  

Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said the facility fills a void in the industry left by the closure of Thunder Ridge Park in eastern Kentucky.

Flanery said the venue will have up to 1,500 historic horse racing machines. “Those machines are so vital to Kentucky thoroughbred and standardbred industry- especially the standardbred industry, which lost a track a short while ago. Bring those dates back for the standard red racing, strengthening everything that is horse about Kentucky,” he said.

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Credit Taylor Inman / WKMS
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WKMS
Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday.

The new facility will be constructed in two phases. The first is expected to be completed by this October and includes a harness race course, overnight stable facility and race-day paddock stable facility.

The second includes 128-room hotel, a 1,200-person grandstand, a 3,000-person amphitheater, a gaming center with the racing machines and an equestrian center with indoor and outdoor arenas. This section of the facility is expected to be open in the first half of 2020.

The project is expected to create 400 full-time and part-time jobs and 800 temporary construction jobs.

“The state-of-the-art facility is sure to bring more people to our city, not just from Kentucky, but from neighboring states and all across the country,” said Oak Grove Mayor Theresa Jarvis. “The significant investment from Churchill Downs and Keeneland gives our community the chance to be part of the culture and heritage associated with horse racing.”

Oak Grove has a population of around 7,000 and is adjacent to Fort Campbell.

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Credit Taylor Inman / WKMS
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Taylor is a recent Murray State University graduate where she studied journalism and history. When she's not reporting for WKMS, she enjoys creative writing and traveling. She loves writing stories that involve diversity, local culture and history, nature and recreation, art and music, and national or local politics. If you have a news tip or idea, shoot her an email at tinman1@murraystate.edu!
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