Race Tracks > Ellis Park Race Course
Ellis Park Race Course Track Facts
- Address: 3300 US-41, Henderson, KY 42420
- Phone: (812) 425-1456
- Website: www.ellisparkracing.com
- Track (Dirt): 1.125 mile oval
- Chute distances: 7 furlongs & 1 mile
- Stretch length: 1,175 feet
- Surface Composition: Dirt
Opened in 1922, Ellis Park is the summer home for racing in Kentucky. The track is located just North of the Ohio River that forms the boarder of Indiana and Kentucky.
Ellis Park Race Course Racing and Track History
Officially based in Henderson, Kentucky, Ellis Park was first imagined as a stop-over for horseplayers on their way to the winter session in New Orleans. That turned out to be a bad business move, and the track was forced to shut down after just three years.
Local businessman James Ellis bought the track – then known as Dade Park – in 1925. Ellis not only built an impressive grandstand, he also introduced pari-mutuel wagering. The facility was renamed in honor of James Ellis in 1954 before his untimely passing in 1956.
Those that oversaw the Ellis estate eventually sold the track in the 1980’s. It would continue to pass through a few different groups before eventually landing with Churchill Downs Incorporated.
Most recently, Ellis Park was purchased by Ron Geary, who took over in July 2006. Geary has fought for larger purses and more financial support from the governing bodies of Thoroughbred racing to keep Ellis Park in business. In 2012 Geary sold a 30% stake in the track to Saratoga Casino and Raceway for $4 million in part to help fund the installation of Instant Racing machines. In 2018, Saratoga purchased the remaining 70%. Today the track is owned by Ellis Entertainment, a subsidiary of Laguna Development Corporation based in New Mexico.
Today the track remains open and offers an entertaining summer schedule for fans in the area. The fact that the track straddles the border between Kentucky and Indiana helps bring in a substantial amount of business that has helped Ellis Park remain a fixture in racing.
Ellis Park boasts a 1.25 mile dirt track and is modeled after Saratoga Race Course in New York. There are chutes for seven furlong races and one mile races as well. The track is unique in that the first turn is at a 90-degree angle. This feature followed the layout of Saratoga, which at the time had a similar turn on the Wilson Chute.
A turf course was installed in 1993 and covers a distance of one mile.
Ellis Park sits on a 210-acre plot of land that offers a 6,000 seat grandstand.