As expected, the Kentucky Racing Commission officially approved the Saratoga Casino Holdings as the new owner and operator of Ellis Park, at a special-called meeting on Tuesday afternoon in Lexington.
Last week, in an exclusive report, “The Pressbox (www.thepressboxlts.com)” announced that Ellis Park — the rustic, little Thoroughbred track located in Henderson, KY. — was being sold and that the sell was imminent.
On Monday, that news came a step closer to reality. About lunchtime, the Kentucky Racing Commission announced that it was holding a special meeting today — Tuesday, July 17 — to consider three important issues.
One of those issues, listed as “C” on the official agenda, which was released with the announcement of the meeting, was the transfer of the license from the current owner, Ron Geary, to a new ownership team.
This morning, “The Pressbox” (www.thepressboxlts.com) officially confirmed — through a number of highly-placed sources — that the Kentucky Racing Commission would approve Saratoga Casino Holdings, LLC as the new owners of the racetrack. Currently, SCH is the parent company of Saratoga Casino Hotel in Saratoga Springs, NY and the Saratoga Casino Black Hawk in Black Hawk, CO.
SCH owns and operates the Saratoga Harness Racing, Inc. in Saratoga Springs, NY, as well.
At 1:3o p.m. ET today, all the activity came to culmination and finalization as the Commission approved the transfer. Saratoga Casino Holdings will take over all the day-to-day activities, and decision-making authority immediately.
“Everything went very well,” said Marc A. Guilfoil, the Executive Director for the Kentucky Racing Commission. “Seamless.”
Just a couple of years ago, Saratoga Casino Holdings purchased a minority position in Ellis Park. According to our sources, the partnership was still led and operational control was still held by Geary and his management team.
Today, Saratoga Casino Holdings announced that it had purchased the remainder of the financial interests in Ellis Park from Geary, and that full ownership and operations would be transferred, if approved by the KRC. That approval took just a few minutes, and was absent of any drama.
Geary was quoted by Jennie Rees, who provides expert communications expertise for the track, as saying:
In other Kentucky news for Tuesday, the Commission approved a couple of other important issues on the Agenda, as well.
The Commission voted to approve the request of Churchill Downs to own, operate and make public Instant Racing Machines at its’ new venue, Derby City Gaming.
That location is scheduled to open in advance of the Breeders’ Cup, which will be hosted by Churchill Downs this November.
In addition, the Commission approved Churchill Downs’ request to utilize the Ainsworth Game Technology Historical Horse Racing System and Entertaining Game Theme.