A North Carolina-based tribe is teaming with a Kentucky-based racing company to build a quarter horse racing facility. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians partnered with Revolutionary Racing to create “Revolutionary Racing Kentucky.”
The facility will feature a 660-yard sprint horse racing track in Ashland, Ky. Above all, the $55 million project will be the first Kentucky facility dedicated solely to quarter horse racing and events. However, Kentucky horse racing fans can watch some of these races at one of the state’s nine horse tracks.
Populous, a Kansas City-based architecture firm specializing in arenas and convention centers, is designing the project. But the Kentucky Quarter Horse Racing Association is assisting the firm. They plan to open the track sometime in 2024.
“We are excited about what this means to the people of Eastern Kentucky,” said Larry Lucas, Chairman for Revolutionary Racing Kentucky. “This investment will create jobs, bring in new tax revenues, and make Boyd County a destination for horse owners and racing fans from around the country.”
According to a press release from Revolutionary Racing, the project could create as many as 200 jobs. Additionally, the facility will host a gaming parlor with Historical Horse Racing machines. Earlier this year, two new venues opened in Kentucky with more than 1,200 HHR machines.
What is Quarter Horse Racing?
Quarter horse racing is the industry’s version of drag racing. The race features horses running shorter distances at greater speeds on a straightaway course.
According to Revolutionary Racing, purses for quarter-horse races will be as large as $500,000. But until the new facility is completed, the 2022-23 quarter-horse racing season will take place at The Red Mile in Lexington.
Quarter horse racing season runs from April to September and has a history in Kentucky that dates back to the 19th century. Therefore, current gaming laws in the state allow for wagering on quarter-horse races at licensed tracks.
New facility is just latest gaming project from NC Tribe
EBCI Holdings, a subsidiary of The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, will oversee the race track development in Ashland.
According to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, EBCI Holdings will own 49% of Revolutionary Racing Kentucky. It marks the first collaboration between ECBI and Revolutionary Racing.
“We couldn’t have found a better group to partner with or a better project to support,” said Richard Sneed, Principal Chief of ECBI. “We have a long-term commitment to community reinvestment and providing best-in-class entertainment offerings to underserved markets. This world-class project aligns perfectly with that commitment.”
This isn’t the first foray for ECBI into gaming. The tribe owns a stake in two casinos on its land in North Carolina. Furthermore, it bought a controlling interest in Caesars Southern Indiana for $250 million in 2020. ECBI also has an ownership interest in a Danville, Va. casino project under construction.