Ellis announces plans for Owensboro HRM venue; track upgrades

An Ellis Park press release (photo: rendition of Ellis Entertainment Owensboro exterior):

Henderson, KY. (October 26, 2021) – As preparations begin to celebrate the centennial anniversary of Ellis Park Racing and Gaming, Ellis Entertainment has announced plans to open a new historical racing machine (“HRM”) entertainment venue. Ellis Entertainment Owensboro, in Owensboro, Kentucky will include a new 60,000-square-foot racing and gaming destination located in the Town Square Mall development.

The centrally located Ellis Park Owensboro venue plans to initially open with a wide selection of HRMs, a simulcast betting and viewing area, and a new race and sports themed restaurant. The location is conveniently located within the Town Square Mall development that will allow for ample parking and easy access from anywhere in Owensboro and the surrounding area.  Additionally, the new facility will feature a stadium-style race and sports themed bar and grill that will offer a truly unique experience in Western Kentucky.  Construction on the new facility is planned to begin in early 2022 with an anticipated opening date in early 2023.

“We at Ellis Entertainment are incredibly excited to bring our Quality, Value, and Service core values to a new venue in a new market in Kentucky,” said Jeffery Inman, General Manager of Ellis Entertainment.  “In addition to this being a major addition to the Owensboro community, we believe the new venue will create $6m to $8m in additional purse money per year at Ellis Park, which will help improve the quality of racing for the summertime leg of the Kentucky Thoroughbred circuit.”

The approximately $20 million investment will create an additional 200 new jobs in the Owensboro community, including more than 100 new construction jobs and over 100 permanent jobs once operations commence.  Hiring for the new full-time and part-time positions will begin late next year.

“Owensboro is excited to welcome Ellis Entertainment to the community and to help kick start the redevelopment of the Town Square Mall area,” stated Tom Watson, Mayor of Owensboro.  “We are very excited about the new jobs the project will bring with a unique entertainment destination to the market.”

Ellis Entertainment has also announced the continuation of several additional investments at Ellis Park.  These improvements include previously announced projects to widen the turf track by 20 ft, install a brand-new state-of-the-art tote board, track lighting, up to 100 new HRMs, with new and improved food and beverage venues at the 99-year-old track.  

“In 2022, Ellis Park will celebrate its 100th birthday, we couldn’t think of a better way to pay homage to the history of this iconic racing venue than by investing in the racing product and expanding our offerings to our loyal guests,” said Timothy Perkins, Ellis Entertainment Board of Manager Member.  “Restoring this famous park to its previous glory has always been one of our primary goals after we purchased the property in 2019.  Today we continue down that path.”

“On behalf of the Henderson Community, I would like to commend the leadership of Ellis Entertainment for their continued investment in the jewel of Henderson Kentucky.” said Brad Schneider, Henderson County Judge Executive.  “I have been visiting Ellis Park for years, these new plans ensure that the racing will continue to improve and that my children’s children will have a place to enjoy this summertime tradition in the future.”

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Jennie Rees