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Keeneland, Red Mile Next In Line For Instant Racing

Keeneland and the Red Mile successfully made the case for instant racing before the state Horse Racing Commission Wednesday.

Both tracks will now be allowed to move forward with installation of the "historical racing" machines - pending approval from horsemen and others. 

Keeneland’s plan calls for a 40,000-square-foot building to house 600 game terminals. The Red Mile would like to build a slightly larger facility for 500 instant racing machines. Red Mile president Joe Costa says it could help boost revenue for the struggling harness racing track.

"It will give us an opportunity to reinvest in our institution, create an ability to modernize our facility, attract news customers that we can hopefully get to take another look, or their first look, at standard bred racing," he says.

Costa estimates that the Red Mile could see $1 million in daily gross gaming revenue.

Challenges from the Family Foundation have called into question the viability of instant racing, which foundation spokesperson Martin Cothran says involves a host of legal questions.

"There are movies of old horses, of horses that have long been dead. And we simply contest the idea that you can have live horse racing with dead horses," he says.

While the Kentucky Supreme Court sent the foundation’s case back to Franklin Circuit Court, it did rule that the commission has the authority to regulate "historical wagering," which has generated more than $36 million for Kentucky Downs and Ellis Park in Henderson.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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