Corporate Name: Kentucky Downs, LLC
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 405, Franklin, Kentucky 42135
Street Address: 5629 Nashville Road, Franklin, Kentucky 42135 (click for map)
Telephone: (270) 586-7778
Fax: (270) 586-8080
Founded in 1990, Kentucky Downs was originally named Dueling Grounds in recognition of the area’s colorful history. In the early 1800’s, gentlemen from Tennessee traveled just across the Kentucky border to settle their differences by duel. That method of conflict resolution was illegal in Tennessee, but was allowed in Kentucky. Such famous figures as Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston were said to have witnessed duels at the site.
When dueling became illegal in Kentucky, the 260-acre site had a more conventional agricultural use for the next 150 years until new owners built a clubhouse and stable area to support a new a 15/16-mile European-style turf race course. The new track staged a $750,000 steeplechase race, the world’s richest event for that discipline.
In 1997, the track was purchased by a new group and renamed Kentucky Downs. Then, in 2007, Corey Johnsen, Ray Reid and a group of investors bought controlling interest in Kentucky Downs.
On July 14, 2011, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission unanimously approved Kentucky Downs’ application for a license to offer pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse races. Forty-eight days later, Kentucky Downs completed the renovation of the first floor of its Colonial-style clubhouse and became the first race track in Kentucky to offer expanded wagering options when its new historical horse racing center opened on September 1.
The arrival of historical horse racing was the first step in Kentucky Downs’ strategic plan to reinvent itself as a year-round entertainment destination for residents of south central Kentucky and north central Tennessee.
In 2016, Kentucky Downs will host five days of live racing on September 3, 8, 10, 11, and 15. The Grade III Kentucky Turf Cup will again highlight the meet.
President: Corey Johnsen
Senior Vice President and General Manager: Ted Nicholson
Location: Franklin, Kentucky
Nearest Cities: Franklin is approximately 35 miles north of Nashville, Tennessee and 20 miles south of Bowling Green, Kentucky
Nearest Airports: Nashville International Airport (commercial) and Portland (TN) Municipal Airport (private aircraft)
Track Data: Kentucky Downs features a one-of-a-kind European-style turf course that is 1.3125 miles in length. Originally built to host steeplechase races in the early 1990’s, the Kentucky Downs racecourse offers a fair test for horses at all levels of competition, including subtle elevation changes throughout the course, a sweeping turn into the stretch run and a quarter-mile run from the end of the final turn to the finish line.
Total Track Capacity: 20,000
Parking Capacity: 8,000
Simulcasting Information: The Kentucky Downs simulcasting venue is open seven days a week throughout the year and offers wagering on tracks from across North America.