Last week, that prospering turf track located just north of the Tennessee State line took yet another step up the ladder. Breaking ground on a $25 million renovation to the gaming facility, Kentucky Downs looks to become even more of a destination spot.
Located in Franklin, Kentucky, this facility known as the Dueling Grounds when it opened in 1990 has become a hot spot for both racing and gaming in recent times. The introduction of historical horse racing machines back in 2011 changed the horizon for Kentucky Downs. These “slot machine”type games rapidly increased revenue and have allowed for serious upgrades in recent times. The gaming facility, which once only housed an off track betting facility, a bar, and bingo room was transformed into a place that house 753 gaming terminals, live music, and dining options. With eyes on the future and an understanding of the opportunities created, new owners Ron Winchell and Marc Falcone spearheaded the new ground-breaking.
“We are going to make it bigger and better from top to bottom”, says Winchell, a prominent Thoroughbred owner, breeder, and Nevada gaming entrepreneur. “When you come in here a year from now it is not going to look like the Kentucky Downs you’re used to in the last couple of years. You’ll have a couple of new restaurants in a building that’s more up to date and create a more comfortable, elevated experience.”
The expansion will allow the number of historical horse racing machines to expand to 1200 and the live entertainment opportunities will also increase. The current facility will be renovated as it incorporates changes to make the Downs experience even better.
Scheduled to be completed before the live racing meet begins on September 2, 2020, this should only add to a blossoming turf track. In recent years, Kentucky Downs has become the buzz track on the late summer racing schedule. Offering the highest per race payouts in the country and second highest in the world, this European-style track attracts heavy hitters from all across the country. More gaming machines should create even more opportunities for horsemen and horse racing fans.
“This sits in an ideal location just 30 minutes outside of Nashville,”says Falcone, a prominent casino executive and financial specialist. “Hey, this is a 300 acre opportunity to do much more than racing and historical horse racing. There are opportunities for much broader things with the real estate we have here. We looked at this as a 10 year project to encompass how to maximize and create a destination in Franklin, Kentucky.”