Op-ed: Churchill Downs and Keeneland Partnership Critical to Kentucky’s Economic Growth

Adkisson, Dave

Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson

When opportunity knocks, we should open the door.

Over the years, Kentucky has made great progress in becoming a better place for business. So, when Churchill Downs and Keeneland announced they are joining forces to further invest in our state, the Kentucky Chamber was thrilled to hear the news.

Churchill Downs and Keeneland’s multimillion dollar proposal to develop two new racing facilities in Corbin and Oak Grove will create hundreds of new jobs, bolster one of the Commonwealth’s signature industries and open the door for additional economic development.

The companies anticipate the creation of 375 construction jobs and 175 permanent, full-time jobs between the two facilities in Oak Grove and Corbin. And more will come as other businesses emerge and expand to support the growth in these communities.

These projects will strengthen Kentucky’s racing circuit through larger purses, allowing us to better compete with the racing industries of other states, grow our tax revenues and provide more stability for the owners, trainers, jockeys, farmers, veterinarians and many others who contribute to the industry’s success here in the Commonwealth.

The benefits of the proposed facilities—more jobs, tourism, revenue and investment—extend well beyond the horse racing industry and the Corbin and Oak Grove communities. A stronger racing industry means a stronger Kentucky, and Churchill Downs and Keeneland are doing their part to create an environment where racing can truly thrive.

But, for Kentuckians to enjoy the positive impacts of this historic partnership, the state—and more specifically, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission—must allow Churchill Downs and Keeneland to continue with their plans. In fact, members of the commission and other public officials should be doing everything possible to bring these projects to fruition.

If a flagship company in the bourbon, aluminum or automotive industries offered to invest this heavily in Kentucky, we’d expect the state to welcome it with open arms. The Churchill Downs and Keeneland proposal is no different.

The partnership between Churchill Downs and Keeneland is good for the economic wellbeing of our state and for the two local communities where they’ll be located. The time is now for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to fully consider this thorough and thoughtful proposal and take the necessary steps to move it forward.

We look forward to hearing those first calls to the post when these facilities open for business.

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