Story + Photography by Tony Centonze
Two great names in horse racing, Churchill Downs and Keeneland, came together recently to break ground on a new racing and gaming facility in Oak Grove, Kentucky.
Hundreds were on hand to watch as project leaders and local officials symbolically turned shovels of dirt on the property that will eventually house stables, a paddock, and a harness racing track. Oak Grove Racing & Gaming is scheduled to open in October, 2019.
Phase two of the project, with an estimated completion date of Spring/Summer 2020, will include an amphitheater, gaming facilities with as many as 1,500 casino style machines, and a 128-room hotel.
“This is going to have a huge impact on the community,” Christian County Chamber of Commerce President, Kelli Pendleton said. “It's certainly going to elevate Oak Grove and Christian County. When it comes to tourism, it's very important for any community to look for opportunities that will draw people from the outside, in. This will be a huge draw. ”
Estimates put the total initial investment at $150 million. 800 construction jobs, and then 400 permanent jobs will be created.
“It's going to have such a positive impact,” Pendleton said. “We really do have two of the best in the industry, Churchill Downs and Keeneland, partnering and investing in Western Kentucky. This is a big day for our community.”