The economic development arm of the Pueblo of Laguna paid $11 million for a 97-year-old, commercial racetrack in Kentucky with plans to invest another $55 million in the property. The expansion calls for new restaurants and a hotel; increasing the number of historical horse racing machines from 179 to 1,200; installing more lighting; and renovating the grandstands, barns and other amenities.
“It’s an iconic, revered track that’s been around for a long time,” Kip Sayre, Laguna Development Corporation’s chief of sales and marketing, told Casino.org. “It’s been in disrepair. It has not had the type of capital investment, upkeep, and maintenance that it deserves.”
The expansion is forecasted for completion in time for the 2020 racing season; meanwhile the 2019 season will be managed by the Saratoga Casino & Hospitality Group, the current owner of the park.
“We are both honored and excited for the opportunity to purchase Ellis Park, one of Kentucky’s oldest and most revered racetracks,” Kevin Greer, the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Laguna Development Corporation (LDC), said in a press release. “We appreciate the knowledge and support the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has provided us while we prepare to restore Ellis Park to its rightful place as one of the Bluegrass State’s premier racing facilities.”
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved the acquisition and a license for Ellis Entertainment, a newly created subsidiary of Laguna Development Corporation (LDC), incorporated as an LLC.
LDC operates Tribal businesses in the gaming, food and beverage, entertainment, hospitality and retail sectors.