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Ellis Park opening Monday for HHR gaming

Ellis Park press release (photo of training last year at Ellis Park)    
      HENDERSON, Ky. (Friday, June 5, 2020) —Ellis Park will reopen for Historical Horse Racing gaming this Monday at 10 a.m. Central. Following coronavirus safety protocols, the facility will be limited to 33-percent occupancy and every employee and guest will have their temperature measured before entering.
      Ellis Park has been closed since March 16 because of the global pandemic. Gov. Andy Beshear late Thursday afternoon approved the opening of Kentucky tracks’ Historical Horse Racing (HHR) operations starting Monday under similar restrictions placed on restaurants. Gaming terminals available for play will be at least six feet apart, with Ellis Park reconfiguring how machines are positioned and turning on every third machine. About 130 gaming terminals will be available for use.
      Guests are strongly encouraged to wear masks or facial coverings. Ellis Park is bringing in additional staff to clean all the gaming terminals and the simulcast area, with disinfectant wipes available for customers. All Ellis Park employees will be tested for COVID-19.
      Betting on horse tracks across the country will begin Wednesday on Ellis Park’s second floor, with tables spaced a minimum of six feet apart and a limit on how many people can be upstairs in order to comply with the 33-percent capacity limit.
     “We applaud Gov. Beshear and his office working with the racetracks to get our revenue stream back up and running,” said Jeff Inman, Ellis Park’s general manager. “This is vital to having a successful live race meet, which is so important to the horse industry in Kentucky and all the businesses in the Tri-State area who benefit from Ellis Park and its horsemen. We know the public is itching to get to some form of new normalcy, and we’re delighted to have our popular entertainment venue back in business in a safe manner next week.”
     Ellis Park will open for HHR gaming at 10 a.m. daily and be available Sunday through Thursday until 2 a.m. the following morning and closing at 4 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
      The Dade Park Grill will be open for food service. Alcohol will be available for purchase at the clubhouse bar, with no seating allowed there at this time. Ellis Park hopes to implement contactless ordering via text for food and beverages by mid-month.
      Ellis Park also will begin allowing horses into the stable area starting Monday by appointment only. Trainers should contact stall manager J.J. Gloria at 270-454-2361. Horses stabled in the vicinity, such as at Riverside Downs training track, will get first priority. Horsemen also can begin bringing in their tack and equipment and setting up barns this weekend but should contact Gloria in advance.
      Horsemen and backstretch workers will be required to have a health check every day before entering the backstretch and be licensed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
    Ellis Park is scheduled to open for live racing June 28.
Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.