The Red Mile in Lexington has temporarily suspended historical horse racing operations, according to a statement issued by the company Sunday. The suspension comes after the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in September of 2020 that certain historical horse racing machines did not fit the state’s legal definition of pari-mutuel wagering and were thus not permitted under current law.
The Red Mile and its partner in the historic racing endeavor, Keeneland Association, said in a joint statement that the high court had denied their petition for a rehearing on the matter.
“At this time, Keeneland and Red Mile have made the very difficult decision to temporarily close historical horse racing operations until there is more clarity surrounding the situation,” the statement said.
In the court’s September ruling, it eluded to the fact that, should a change be made for historical horse racing to fit the definition of pari-mutuel wagering in the Commonwealth, “that change must be made by the people of this Commonwealth through their duly-elected legislators,” the Court said.
“Historical horse racing has been operating legally across Kentucky for nearly a decade, and we are urging the General Assembly to pass a law in 2021 to allow racetracks to continue this practice,” said Ashli Watts, President and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “Historical horse racing is directly responsible for thousands of Kentucky jobs and nearly $1 billion in investment in our state. Now is not the time to put more Kentuckians out of work and to damage one of our state’s signature industries.”
Lawmakers are slated to return to Frankfort on Feb. 2 for part two of the 2021 legislative session of the Kentucky General Assembly.