Members of the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce will receive an update on the long-planned horse racing track in Corbin and extension facility in Williamsburg on Tuesday when Vince Gabbert, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Keeneland Association, Inc. speaks at the monthly membership luncheon.
The luncheon is scheduled to begin at 11:45 a.m. at The Corbin Center.
Registration is required to attend.
Seating is limited because of COVID–19 guidelines.
Gabbert has been involved in the Corbin project slated for 149 acres of property off of the Corbin bypass since it was first proposed in 2014.
Keeneland purchased the property located between Allison Blvd. and Buchanan Blvd. in 2017 at a cost of $432,774.
Originally planned to be the only quarter-horse racing track in the state, plans were changed in 2020 to accommodate harness racing, commonly called, “trotters.”
According to insidetrackblog.com, a site devoted to harness racing, most of the harness races are one mile in length.
“Occasionally, you’ll see races that are anywhere from 11/16ths of a mile to one–and-a-quarter-miles just to change things up or for special events,” the site stated.
Harness racing involves horses and jockeys, but instead of riding on the horse, the jockey rides behind the horse is a two-wheeled race bike, known as a, “sulky.”
Instead of bursting out of a starting gate, the horses race behind a mobile starting gate.
“The horses line up behind the gate attached to a starting gate vehicle, and when they reach the starting pole the vehicle pulls away, the arms of the gate fold in, and the race begins,” the site explained.
The horses reach speeds up to 35 mph during the race, completing a mile-long race in under two minutes.
Unlike thoroughbreds, harness racing horses have a significantly longer time frame to compete. The typical horse starts racing at age two, and they are allowed to compete until age 15 before they are required to retire.
The horses are specifically bred to compete in harness racing and may either be pacers, trotters, or compete at both gaits.
While the track will host several weeks of live racing during the year, it will be open year-round as it will include historical racing machines.
In addition, the Corbin facility will include a hotel and restaurant, and commercial space.
At the same time the venue change was announced, Keeneland officials announced plans for Williamsburg.
It will serve as an extension of the Corbin location, and will include historical racing machines, simulcast wagering, a hotel and restaurants.
The Corbin track has received its racing license from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
While there is still no timetable for completion, it has also received racing dates, which will be run at The Red Mile in Lexington during the month of July.
The dates are July 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23 and 24.
The final hurdle for the facilities was cleared during the recent Kentucky General Assembly when legislation was passed to permit historical racing machines at race tracks across the state.