Oak Grove Racing Sustains Wind & Storm Damage, But Friday Races Must Go On

Torrential rains and powerful winds swept through Southwest Kentucky earlier this week, and it set sail right on the newest addition to Kentucky’s racing circuit — Oak Grove Racing.

While the winds did considerable damage to the temporary facilities, including the announcer’s stand and the metal bleachers installed along the backside for the fans to view the Standardbred races, racetrack officials announced that all power has been restored.

Including the horse power.

“Down, but not out,” wrote Mike Ziegler, Churchill Downs’ Director of Racing, when contacted on Wednesday about the damage. “Everything permanent is OK. “…We sustained wind damage to our temporary facilities, but will be back up and running on Friday. All systems are a go.”

The track — which is owned by a partnership of Churchill Downs and Keeneland and won Kentucky Racing Commission approval last Fall — is in the process of racing its’ first meet in history. The meet is scheduled to continue throughout the month of November, with racing on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

A hotel and a state-of-the-art facilities to house Historical Racing Machines are currently being built on the front side of the track. New barns, ship-in areas and other track amenties are already housing horses and personnel for this year’s meet.

Here’a look at some of the wind damage that occurred.

All Photos are from Coady Photography & Courtesy of Churchill Downs:

 

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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