Race Track

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Ellis Park

Ellis Park is a horse racing facility in Henderson, Kentucky with two tracks that feature thoroughbred racing. The track is a quaint, laid-back affair and its old world feel is one of its charms.

Ellis Park is nevertheless a track that hosts some of Kentucky's biggest stakes events. Among these noteworthy events are the James C. Ellis Juvenile, the Gardenia Stakes, the Dade Turf Classic and the Tri-State Handicap.

Ellis Park Records

Main Track

DIST HORSE AGE WGT DATE REC
5F White Image 2 119 07/09/88 57 3/5
5 1/2F Relentless Seller 3 114 08/16/02 103 1/5
5 1/2 F Mount Forloon 2 119 07/17/88 1:03 2/5
6F Stubilem 4 117 07/01/82 1:09
6 1/2 F American Chance 5 113 07/16/94 1:15
7F Sheena Native 4 120 07/23/88 1:21 3/5
Abt. 7 1/2 F Illbeastar 4 113 07/01/77 1:35 1/5
1 M Still Waving 5 118 08/13/88 1:34 3/5
1 1/8 M Lt. Lao 4 123 08/27/88 1:47 3/5
1 1/4 M Won Du Loup 4 115 09/04/88 2:03
1 3/8 M Ramona Jay 4 102 08/24/85 2:23
1 1/2 M Unaccountable 5 115 07/23/88 2:29 3/5
1 5/8 M Sir Lightning 7 112 08/09/92 2:45 4/5
1 3/4 M Bondi 5 115 08/27/66 3:00
2 M Classic Deal 6 119 08/21/88 3:25 3/5
2 1/4 M Bondi 5 115 09/05/66 3:54

Turf Course

DIST HORSE AGE WGT DATE REC
5 1/2 F Bettybird 3 112 08/21/02 1:00 2/5
5 1/2 F Hello Paradise 5 113 08/18/96 1:01
1 M Slewper Imp 5 115 07/16/95 1:32 3/5
1 M Suffragette 3 112 07/24/99 1:32 3/5
1 1/16 M Stay Sound 3 115 07/20/98 1:38 4/5
1 1/8 M Yaqthan 6 113 09/02/96 1:44 3/5
1 1/4 M Ye Slew 7 112 08/06/94 1:59 3/5
1 1/2 M Our Forbes 4 115 08/10/94 2:52 2/5
2 M Irish Harbour 6 113 09/02/96 3:20 1/5

History and Milestones

1922 - The race track now known as Ellis Park was built by the Green River Jockey Club. It was known then as Dade Park. On October 19, the first Dade Park harness race meet began. On Nov. 8, the first thoroughbred race meet began.

1923 - Bankruptcy hit the track and the only racing held at Dade Park was auto racing, which was conducted over Labor Day weekend.

1925 - Horse racing returned and a 20-day summer meet ran from mid-August through Labor Day. Seven races were run daily.

1932 - The wager known as the Daily Double made its Kentucky debut on Aug. 12, the meet's opening day. On Aug. 29, track owner James C. Ellis finally won his first race.

1934 - The track's public address system makes its debut in the 26-day meet. For the first time since James C. Ellis acquired the track, it shows a profit during the meeting.

1938 - A photo-finish camera was used for the first time.

1940 - A mechanical starting gate was used at Dade Park for the first time.

1944 - Wartime racing at Ellis Park is permitted by the government.

1949 - A totalizator system was installed at the track.

1950 - The track's grandstand was enlarged by 809 seats. The number of mutuel booths on the main line is increased from 24 to 35.

1955 - The track's name is officially changed on Aug. 3 from Dade Park to James C. Ellis Park. The terrace grandstand, located adjacent to the paddock, is built. The seats in the new structure had been used at Miller Baseball Field in Owensboro, Ky.

1957 - The track's film patrol was installed.

1966 - The track's mutuel handle increased, and track officials point to the ouster of numerous bookmakers as one reason for the rising wagering totals.

1972 - Ellis Park offers race replays on closed circuit television for the first time during the 39-day meet.

1977 - Stakes races offering added money make their Ellis Park debut.

1980 - Ellis Park introduced exacta wagering on July 30.

1981 - Sunday racing was introduced at Ellis Park.

1985 - New owners took over at Ellis Park as Roger and Lila Kumar agreed in principle to purchase the track from the estate of James C. Ellis. The Kumars immediately launched a $10 million track improvement program.

1987 - A 65-day meeting, one of the track's longest, featured the introduction of a $2 quinella to the wagering format.

1993 - A 1-mile turf course was completed inside the 1 1/8-mile main track, but the meeting got off to a tenuous start as the track dealt with a strike by horsemen.

1996 - A national record trifecta payout of $126,349 for $2 results was achieved on July 25 when Ask Mesach (73-1) led a parade of longshots in the seventh race.

1998 - Churchill Downs Incorporated purchased Racing Corporation of American, which includes Ellis Park, for $22 million in a deal that was finalized in April.

1999 - Capital improvements totaling $2 million were completed, including a new finish line pole, improved landscaping, a new jumbo television in the clubhouse, and new chairs in the dining rooms. Purses rise to an all-time high under first-year Racing Secretary Ben Huffman.

2000 - During its 77th meeting, the track posted significant gains in on-track attendance and pari-mutuel handle. On track attendance during the 41-day live meeting (July 11 - Sept 4) increased by 32 percent. Attendance daily averaged 2,917 and the mutual handle went up 16 percent as $373,704 was wagered daily.

2001 to present - More track attendance and handle records were broken as Ellis Park's success continued.

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