Horse racing fades in Kentucky; supporters envy other states where casinos supplement tracks – The Washington Post
While tracks in other states have parlayed casino gambling into higher purses, Kentucky lawmakers have resisted allowing such a move. Everyone from breeders to railbirds worries that it will eventually render the home of American horse racing an also-ran.
Even storied Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, has felt the pressure.
The Louisville track offers a few nights of live racing, drawing three times the typical race day crowds. It has reduced racing days in its spring meet in a gambit to keep purses competitive with tracks where casino operations boost racing prizes. Between 2000 and 2008, the famed track had at least 52 racing days in the spring session; this year it will have 39. But Churchill still struggles to fill some race cards with big fields that attract more betting, track president Kevin Flanery said recently.