Quarter horse racing returns to Kentucky for the first time in over a decade

Quarter horse racing returns to Kentucky for the first time in over a decade
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 9:01 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - We are a week away from the start of the Keeneland spring meet, but you can get your fix at the races a whole week earlier, starting Saturday at Red Mile!

For the first time in over a decade, quarter horse racing is coming back to Kentucky. It’s a little different than what you might be used to at races you find at Keeneland or Churchill Downs.

Horse racing is quintessential in Kentucky, and before the thoroughbreds run at Keeneland for the Spring meet, the track at Red Mile is ready for a literal fraction of those long stretch races.

“We believe it’s the most exciting 19 seconds of sport. These horses come out of the gate, and they’re flying!” said Revolutionary Racing Kentucky Chairman Larry Lucas.

Quarter horse racing will run at Red Mile from Saturday to Thursday. It’s not a new concept, but races like these haven’t run in Kentucky in more than a decade.

“In Kentucky, there’s 30,000 quarter horses, now all aren’t bred to race, but it’s a big part of the AG business here in the Commonwealth,” Lucas said.

Revolutionary Racing Kentucky is bringing the races back to the Bluegrass. They will run during Sandy Ridge at Red Mile this coming week. The company is building a track and gaming facility in Boyd County where, eventually, races, shows, and competitions will run year-round. It’s expected to generate around one million dollars in tax revenue a year.

“It’s going to be tremendous to bring this to the communities in Boyd County, the City of Ashland,” said Revolutionary Racing Kentucky President John Marshall. “Another attraction, another thing to do, and a whole nother economy.”

Revolutionary Racing spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on upgrades to Red Mile, including the railings and resurfacing the track, saying equine safety is the priority.

“The quality of quarter horse racing that you’re gonna see is top-notch,” Marshall said. “We’ve got some of the top horses and top trainers in the quarter horse world from around the country.”

The races run from Saturday to Thursday, April 1-6. The first post time is 2 p.m. daily, and admission is free.

More than $1.2 million in purses will be awarded over the six days.