The racing date committee of the KHRC has released a tentative schedule for thoroughbred and harness racing in the Bluegrass State. Thoroughbreds are basically issued an identical card as this year, five tracks racing a total of 210 racing dates. The three standardbred tracks have asked for a total of 65 racing dates. One track, Thunder Ridge Raceway has asked for three less dates in 2012.
When asked why they were requesting less dates, the answer given was money. There were some days where wagering on live racing at Thunder Ridge did not exceed $18 a day. That's right, a total handle of $18 wagered on live racing at a harness track. As for exporting their signal, I would be surprised any track would take their signal as a $2 wager may take a horse from 99-1 to 2-1.
My question is why does the KHRC even license a track that handles $18 a day on races? I dare suspect a lot more wagering in the name of friendly wagers is made at Historic Track on any given race there. The only reason why Thunder Ridge Raceway would want racing is to be able to take import signals on other tracks, and it is their way to get a simulcast license; clearly there is no market for harness racing at the track and I dare suspect there has never been a campaign to get people interested in the sport either. In addition, with wagering $18 a day, are there any drivers or trainers wagering on the races either.
Other than giving horsemen 21 days of racing, there is no benefit to having Thunder Ridge licensed as a pari-mutuel track. It would appear to me Thunder Ridge is using standardbred racing to become a simulcast center to fund their auto racing program and have no interest in developing a real standardbred program. There is no website, the track is a secret to only those in the know. In otherwards, Thunder Ridge is a farce and they should not be licensed.
As for Bluegrass Downs, they are at least trying to run a race track; at least there is a website. The purses are pathetic (as are The Red Mile during the non-grand circuit meet), but at least they handle hundreds the amount Thunder Ridge Raceway handles; on July 8, they handled on an eleven race card with a total handle of $3,976. Not that they do that well either, with daily double combinations note being hit and some horses not being wagered on but at least they try.
The best thing which could happen would be for Thunder Ridge Raceway be denied a license unless they can demonstrate a serious commitment to racing. Otherwise, the dates they race should be divided between Bluegrass Downs and The Red Mile. It is time to end the mockery which is going on.