Ellis Park celebrates end of season, looks forward to future racing

Local News

HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) — Hundreds of people spent their labor day celebrating the final day of the 2019 Racing Season at Ellis Park. For one Tri-State native, it was a day 69 years in the making. 

With the exception of the original partnership in 1922, Glenn Thompson has worked for every owner in the track’s history. Now, the 83-year-old track superintendent says he’s excited for what the future may hold under the park’s newest owner, Ellis Entertainment. 

“The old place is run down pretty good. They seem like they’re going to fix it up and spend some money and I’m tickled they’ll be doing it,” said Thompson.

Some of the heavy lifting has already begun. 

“We did a lot of work on the track. The surface needed resurfacing so we spent some time there. We spent some time in the barns improving that as well, and just giving the facility a facelift. We just power cleaned it, we painted it and we put up new signage,” said Ken Mimmack, Ellis Entertainment Principal Manager.

Ellis Park’s newest Champion Rider says he hopes the renovations will lead to bigger crowds and more competitive racing. 

“It’ll keep more of us coming back here instead of shipping out every weekend to go and raise the stakes. It’s a great place to race and horses keep coming back good and everybody keeps going forward,” said Champion Rider James Graham. 

No matter what the future looks like, Thompson hopes to be there. 

“It’s been my life because I like it and I like the people. If my health holds out and everything and they want me, I will be here,” said Thompson.

The multi-million dollar renovation plan also includes new betting machines, a live entertainment venue and track lights, so the park can hold night races.

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(This story was originally published on September 2, 2019)

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