- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Churchill Downs and Kentucky Downs settled their differences over September racing dates that had overshadowed efforts to set next year’s calendar for the state’s tracks, state horse racing regulators said Wednesday.

Each track would have fewer racing days than they requested under the compromise announced by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

The tracks would run on the same days twice next September. An earlier proposed schedule called for three overlapping days of racing.

The racing commission’s executive director, John T. Ward, had served as a mediator in the negotiations.

Churchill Downs track President Kevin Flanery praised the commission’s role in achieving the agreement. Churchill, home of the Kentucky Derby, had raised concerns about overlapping racing days due to smaller foal crops that have reduced the availability of thoroughbreds.

“We appreciate the agreement as a signal that all Kentucky tracks are focused and working together to deal with the issues of field size, a dwindling supply of available horses and the impact of shrinking foal crops that affect us all,” Flanery said.

Racing dates must still be approved by the full racing commission, which meets next Tuesday.

Under the agreement, Churchill would have 11 racing dates next September.

The Louisville track had 12 days of September racing this year, and originally applied for 12 dates for September 2015.

Under the agreement, Kentucky Downs would have five racing dates on its turf track next September, the same as this year.

The Franklin track near the Tennessee border had requested seven dates for September 2015. Kentucky Downs has seen wagering and field sizes go up at its track, where revenues from the slot-like Instant Racing game have boosted purses.

“We would like to offer more live racing days, but it just didn’t work out for next year,” Kentucky Downs President Corey Johnsen said Wednesday.

Racing at Churchill and Kentucky Downs would overlap on two Saturdays in September 2015 under the agreement.

An earlier proposed schedule included three days of overlapping racing at the tracks.

Also under the agreement, Churchill gave up a racing day on Sept. 10 of next year - which would have been the opening of the track’s September meet. Instead, Kentucky Downs would race that day.

As part of the deal, Kentucky Downs and Ellis Park at Henderson would both race on Saturday, Sept. 5 during the Labor Day weekend.

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