Former Colonial Downs Owner Proposes New Eastern Kentucky Quarter Horse Track

The following appeared in The Paulick Report June 22.

Revolutionary Racing, which revived Thoroughbred racing at Virginia’s Colonial Downs in 2019, is proposing to build a Quarter horse track and Historical Horse Racing casino in the eastern Kentucky city of Ashland in Boyd County.

Larry Lucas, chairman of Revolutionary Racing, was joined by several others in making a presentation to the Kentucky Horse Racing Board at its regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Revolutionary Racing plans to seek the final racetrack license available in the state and it would be the only Quarter horse track.

While few details about the casino were discussed, Lucas said Revolutionary Racing plans to spend $55 million on the project and that it would create 200 full-time jobs in addition to short-term construction jobs.

“We believe a racing license is a privilege and not a right,” Lucas said before outlining the alliances his company has built with the Kentucky Quarter Horse Racing Association and community leaders in Ashland, part of the Tristate Area that borders Ohio and West Virginia and has a combined population of approximately 350,000.

Prentice Salter, president and CEO of Revolutionary Racing Kentucky,  estimated the track and HHR facility would handle $500 million annually (all but $4.5 million to $6 million of which would be wagered on slots-like HHR machines). From that, Salter estimated the company would generate $50 million in revenue, $10 million in earnings and contribute $1 million in tax revenue.

Racing would be conducted on 2,300-foot straightaway that would accommodate races up to 660 yards over a 100-foot-wide surface. Plans call for construction of barns and on-track facilities over two phases and the track would eventually build a show horse arena.

Revolutionary Racing officials would not commit to a specific number of racing dates or races per year, saying it would depend on the available inventory of Quarter horses.

Lucas and Revolutionary Racing led a revival of Virginia Thoroughbred racing with their $20-million purchase in partnership with Peninsula Pacific of Colonial Downs. The purchase was made at the same time the Virginia lawmakers passed enabling legislation for Historical Horse Racing machines at Colonial Downs and an OTB network throughout the state. Peninsula Pacific eventually bought out Revolutionary Racing and Colonial Downs was sold earlier this year as part of a package to Churchill Downs Inc. for $2.5 billion.

Historical Horse Racing would be the key component to building an Ashland track, though few details on that part of the business were discussed during the informational presentation to the KHRC.