Sandy Ridge at Red Mile draws praise from participants and fans alike
Thousands of horse racing fans welcomed quarter horse racing back to Kentucky last week, with 36 races taking place over six successful days at Sandy Ridge at Red Mile.
More than $1 million in purses were awarded, including a pair of $45,000 stakes races. Multiple trainers were awarded more than $100,000 in purse earnings, while seven horses recorded world-class times, including four reaching over 100 on the speed index.
“We could not have asked for a better week of racing or stronger support from Kentucky’s horse racing fans,” said Larry Lucas, Chairman of Revolutionary Racing Kentucky, which secured the Commonwealth’s ninth and final horse racing license last year and hosted the week of races.
“We are incredibly appreciative of all the support and feedback and already talking about ways to build upon this success with next year’s races.”
Revolutionary Racing Kentucky, in partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, is investing $55M to build Sandy’s Racing & Gaming, a world-class quarter horse racetrack, equestrian center and gaming facility in Eastern Kentucky. As the track – Sandy Ridge – is under construction until Spring 2025, they are racing at the Red Mile in Lexington this year and next year. Sandy’s Gaming, a historic horse racing facility, is expected to open later this year.
The inaugural races took place April 1-6 and were highlighted by the opening day Cherokee Stakes and the final day’s BoCo Overnight Stakes.
The Cherokee Stakes, honoring the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, saw a $45,000 purse and was open to 3-year-olds and up. That 220-yard race was won by Hallmarke, marking her fifth straight win, with Gilbert Ortiz as jockey, trainer Justin Powell and owner Laney Fowler.
The BoCo Stakes, recognizing Sandy Ridge’s future home in Boyd County, was a 300-yard race with a $45,000 purse. There, jockey Jorge Torres rode 5-year-old Jess B. One to victory for trainer Clint Crawford and owner Gene Cox. Hallmarke finished second in that race.
The week’s top jockeys were Torres, Ortiz, Luiz Daniel Martinez and Danial Antonio Torres. The top trainers were Powell, Crawford, Anthony Cunningham and Hector Sanchez – with Powell and Crawford battling to the very final race to determine the week’s top trainer.
Quarter horse races are expected to again take place next Spring at the Red Mile.