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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ellis Park offering the public an up-close look at preparing horses for races

Photo by Coady Photography
Ellis Park is teaming with its the Kentucky HBPA to provide the public with a behind-the-scenes look at preparing horses for the races.

“Making of a racehorse: Let’s get started!” will be held Saturday, July 30 from 7:30-9 AM Central at Ellis Park. The free event will give racing fans, sports enthusiasts, horse lovers and the simply curious insight into all the preparation that goes into horses springing from the starting gate. Ellis Park starter Scott Jordan will explain the learning process as it unfolds in front of the attendees.

This is a daily-double event. The public will go from the starting gate to the barn of John Hancock, a third-generation trainer at Ellis Park, for a look and lively discussion about everything that happens in a stable in the morning.

Ellis Park provides a unique opportunity for people outside the racetrack to get an up-close view of morning “schooling” as well as horses having timed workouts while breaking from the starting gate. That’s because Ellis’ starting gate during morning training is positioned in its mile chute on the first turn, adjacent to the easily-accessed southern parking lot closest to the Ohio River levee.

Adults and kids of all ages are welcome. The public is invited to start at 7:00 AM CT in the parking area nearest the starting gate, with the program to begin at 7:30. Afterward, fans are encouraged to watch Ellis Park announcer Jimmy McNerney discussing his picks for the day’s races at 9:30 in the lower clubhouse.

The event is a collaboration between Ellis Park and the Kentucky division of the Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, which represents more than 6,000 owners and trainers in the commonwealth. The gregarious Hancock, a board member of the Kentucky HBPA, presented the idea of the fan-education event to Ellis president Ron Geary, who embraced the concept.

“We can offer an experience that few tracks can provide,” Geary said. “No one is more passionate than John Hancock when it comes to horse racing, Ellis Park and preparing young horses for the races. Scott Jordan not only is one of the finest starters in the country but he’s outstanding at explaining how young horses go from a potentially scary contraption like the big metal starting gate to walking right in and breaking on cue.

“We encourage existing fans and anyone wanting to learn more about the great sport of horse racing to come out the morning of July 30 for this unique event.”

Said Kentucky HBPA executive director Marty Maline: “The horsemen are always looking for ways to bring new fans into racing, as well as providing even longtime fans with additional insights. We think the public is going to love getting this peek behind the scenes, and we hope this is just the beginning.”

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