A new race track and gaming complex project officially got underway on Tuesday as Churchill Downs Incorporated and Keeneland Association broke ground on the $150 million Oak Grove Racing & Gaming in western Kentucky.
The venue will feature live horse racing as well as a gaming center, a 128-room hotel, an outdoor amphitheater and stage and more, the organizations said. It will be located in Oak Grove, Ky., which is about 65 miles west of Bowling Green, near Fort Campbell.
The construction will happen in two phases, with the first phase targeting an inaugural racing meet in October of this year, officials said. That phase will include a harness racing course, overnight stable facility and race-day paddock stable facility.
The second phase, which overlaps the first, will focus on the hotel and gaming center, with an anticipated opening in the first half of 2020.
Other amenities planned for phase two include an equestrian center with indoor and outdoor arenas, plus a recreational vehicle park that would hold up to 30 RVs. The gaming center will include up to 1,500 horse racing machines.
In addition, a grandstand that seats up to 1,200 will be constructed to facilitate outdoor events. The amphitheater, meanwhile, will seat up to 3,000.
“Horse racing is an integral part of Kentucky’s history and culture, and Churchill Downs is thrilled to further invest in our state’s signature industry through Oak Grove Racing & Gaming,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery in a news release.
“We have seen the tremendous impact Derby City Gaming in Louisville has already had on both the racing industry and local community, and we expect the same degree of success here in Christian County,” he added.
The release noted that the new facility would be the only venue of its kind in Kentucky, a development that is expected to create nearly 400 full- and part-time equivalent positions and an estimated 800 direct construction jobs.