The 2019 RUNHAPPY Meet will take place at Kentucky Downs, 5629 Nashville Road, Franklin, Ky., just off Interstate 65 exit 2 on the Kentucky-Tennessee border.
America’s most unique race meet takes place over a 1 5/16-mile European-style turf course. Simulcasting is available seven days a week there, as well as pari-mutuel wagering on Historical Horse Racing, dining and other events, including charitable Bingo six nights a week.
Upcoming live racing dates include: Aug. 31 and Sept. 5, 7, 8 and 12. First post takes place at 12:15 p.m. Central with ten races a day.
Admission is free. Reserved seating is available in Finish Line Pavilion, Turf Club Tent and Director’s Room and includes a buffet and access to a private cash bar and mutuel windows. Note: Finish Line Pavilion and Turf Club Tent are sold out on Sept. 7.
There is free parking (valet available for $5 in front of main building; complimentary for Players Club Platinum and Diamond Club members). A free tailgating lot is at the top of the stretch.
The first race has been moved up an hour and 10 minutes to 12:15 p.m. CT. Michael Wrona, regarded among the world’s premier race-callers, joins Kentucky Downs as announcer. The RUNHAPPY meet is the first under the ownership partnership headed by Ron Winchell and Marc Falcone. Highly respected racing official Rick Hammerle comes aboard as director of horsemen's relations and racing operations. Scott Jordan, the race starter at Churchill Downs and Ellis Park, takes over at Kentucky Downs, with Coady Photography the new track photographer.
TVG will be have a major presence, with Caleb Keller broadcasting on site Sept. 5 and 7, and Kentucky Downs analyst Caton Bredar filing reports on other days. Bredar will be joined by Churchill Downs and TwinSpires.com analyst Joe Kristufek on opening day, popular New England sportscaster and former NBC handicapper and racing expert Bob Neumeier on Sept. 7 and jockey Aaron Gryder on Sept. 5, 8 and 12. Bredar also will be discussing Kentucky Downs Aug. 31 and Sept. 7 on Sirius/XM’s Down the Stretch satellite-radio show with Dave Johnson and Bill Finley on Fight Nation Channel 156 (show airs Saturdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. ET, with Bredar usually on about 12:30). Sports broadcast production expert David Loignon, well-known in horse racing for his work with Churchill Downs Inc. and TVG, will oversee the broadcasting of the RUNHAPPY Meet at Kentucky Downs.
The Downey Profile’s Dick Downey, who has closely followed Kentucky Downs racing for most of the track’s existence, will pen the program comments, with his selections on kentuckydowns.com/racing. Well-known handicapper and turf writer Byron King takes over making the morning line and also will have his selections and stakes analysis on the website.
$11.5 million in purses is offered for the five days, exceeding $2.3 million in daily average that is the highest in the world outside of Japan. Fourteen stakes ranging from $250,000 to $1 million and including five graded stakes. Four starter-allowance races carrying $100,000 pots whose winners get an automatic berth in the Claiming Crown. Purse money does not include the $750 paid to every starter who finishes sixth through last in non-stakes races.
Wagering menu (bet, with minimum wager and takeout rate): Exacta ($1, 18.25%), Trifecta ($.50, 19%), Superfecta ($0.10, 19%) every race; rolling Double ($1, 19%) races 1-9; rolling Pick 3 ($0.50, 19%) races 1-8; Pick 4 ($0.50, 14%), starts with races 2 and 7; Pick 5 ($0.50, 14%) starts with races 1 and 6; Super Hi-5 ($0.50, 19%) race 10.
Grayson-Jockey Club Foundation Day is Saturday, Aug. 31, with race sponsorships benefiting the foundation that raises money to fund equine research.
Old Friends Day is Thursday, Sept. 5, with race sponsorships benefiting Old Friends equine retirement farm. Louisville’s ESPN 680 will broadcast Bob Valvano’s ESPN V Show live from Kentucky Downs.
HBPA College Day is Sunday, Sept. 8, college students with valid I.D. may sign up to win one of 10 Samsung Chromebook Plus computers or one of two $1,500 scholarships. Laptops are courtesy the Kentucky HBPA, which represents owners and trainers at the state’s five thoroughbred tracks, with Kentucky Downs providing the scholarships. Recipients must be currently enrolled as full-time students at a recognized two- or four-year college or university, graduate school, vocational or technical education program.
Family Fun Day is Sunday Sept. 8 featuring petting zoo, face painting, air tattoos and balloon art.
For more information call 270.586.7778 or visit www.KentuckyDowns.com
RUNHAPPY Meet at Kentucky Downs stakes
(All on turf)
Saturday, Aug. 31 — $750,000 Tourist Mile, 3yo & up, mile; $500,000 Gainesway Farm Juvenile, 2yos, mile; $500,000 Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies, 2yo fillies, mile; $250,000 One Dreamer (non-winners of a stakes in 2019), fillies & mares 3yo & up, mile and 70 yards. Thursday, Sept. 5 — $250,000 Old Friends (non-winners of a stakes in 2019), 3yo & up, mile and 70 yards. Saturday, Sept. 7 — $1 million Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup (G3), 3yo & up, 1 1/2 miles; $700,000 RUNHAPPY Turf Sprint “Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In Turf Sprint Division” (G3), 3yo &up, six furlongs; $500,000 Three Chimneys Ladies Turf (G3), 3yo & up, mile; $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint, 2yos, 6 1/2 furlongs; $500,000 Spendthrift Farm Ladies Sprint (G3), fillies and mares 3yo & up, 6 1/2 furlongs. Sunday, Sept. 8 — $600,000 Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby, 3yos, 1 5/16 miles; $350,000 Fifth Third Insurance Dueling Grounds Oaks, 3yo fillies, 1 5/16 miles. Thursday, Sept. 12 —$500,000 Ramsey Farm, fillies and mares 3yo &up, 1 5/16 miles; $500,000 Nevada State Bank Franklin-Simpson (G3), 3yo, 6 1/2 furlongs.
About Kentucky Downs
Located near the Kentucky and Tennessee border, just off Interstate 65 and approximately 35 miles from Nashville, Tenn., Kentucky Downs features more than 750 Historical Horse Racing machines and conducts live turf racing each September on America’s only “European-style” race course while offering among the highest purses in the world. Kentucky Downs is a pioneer in modern Historical Horse Racing, the electronic form of pari-mutuel betting on horses gaining nationwide recognition as one of the great financial success stories in the sport’s history. The year-round entertainment center also offers simulcast wagering seven days a week on tracks throughout America and the world, as well as charitable gaming, dining and other events. Racing has been conducted at the facility since 1990, when it was called Dueling Grounds.
2019 dates: Aug. 31 and Sept. 5, 7, 8 and 12