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Ellis Park

On this page, you will learn everything you need to know about Ellis Park in Kentucky, including how to get in touch, if you can bet on sports at Ellis Park, and much more.

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Open for more than 100 years, Ellis Park is a horse racing track in Henderson, KY that offers both quarter horse and thoroughbred horse racing action throughout the year. Affectionately known as the “Pea Patch”, Ellis Park in Kentucky hosts live horse races throughout the summer and historical racing machines available year round.

With a storied history that lives on today, let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know about Ellis Park in Kentucky.

About Ellis Park in Kentucky

Situated right along the Ohio River in Henderson, KY, Ellis Park opened its doors in 1922 as a thoroughbred and quarter-horse racing track. Known as “Pea Patch” to locals due to the soybean fields that surround the track, Ellis Park in Kentucky has long been a staple in the BlueGrass state.

During the spring and summer months, Ellis Park offers live horse racing, with both quarter-horse and thoroughbred horse races held every week. Known for its family-friendly atmosphere, it’s a popular place to take both horse-racing die-hards and casual fans looking to check out the action.

Added in recent decades, Ellis Park now also has historical racing machines, which are electronic machines similar to slots, that allow customers to bet on past horse races. Using a historical random generator with results from past races, visitors can take advantage of the machines and bet just like they would traditional slot machines in casinos.

One of the most picturesque race tracks in the country, just over the walls of Ellis Park sits the Ohio River, making a great backdrop for the races there. In addition to a grandstand, Ellis Park in Kentucky has made comfortable accommodations for spectators throughout the year, showing a commitment to enhancing the experience as time has gone by.

Can you bet on sports at Ellis Park?

Yes, as of August 2023, you can bet on sports at Ellis Park with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) granting temporary licenses to open a KY sportsbook to the iconic race track. The announcement came with six other operator licenses including Churchill Downs, Derby City Gaming, The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland Run, The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland, Newport Racing and Gaming, Oak Grove Gaming and Racing, The Red Mile, and Turfway Park.

The announcement came less than six months after the state of Kentucky passed House Bill 551, legalizing retail and online sports betting officially on March 31, 2023. All licensed and regulated by the KHRC, national operators including BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, and Ceasers operate online sportsbooks in the state.

Which Kentucky sportsbook is present at Ellis Park?

The sportsbook at Ellis Park is operated by Kambi, which is the service provider for all retail operations in the state. While there are no betting windows at the sportsbook present at Ellis Park, there are a handful of self-service kiosks that allow bettors to get in their wagers after following intuitive prompts.

Ellis Park in Kentucky serves as one of just nine retail sportsbooks in the state along with Churchill Downs (FanDuel), Cumberland Run, Oak Grove Racing & Gaming, Red Mile Racing & Gaming (Caesars), Sandy’s Racing & Gaming (BetMGM), Turfway Park Racing & Gaming, Newport Racing & Gaming, The Mint Gaming Hall at Cumberland Run in Corbin and Williamsburg.

Does Ellis Park have other types of gambling?

Throughout the summer months, visitors can watch and bet on the thoroughbred and quarter horse races held there directly at the track. That is the only form of gambling available at Ellis Park in Kentucky, however, as we look at everything else they have to offer when it comes to gaming.

  • Horse Racing: Throughout the summer months, fans can watch and bet on live horse racing, with thoroughbred and quarter horse racing offered.
  • Historical Horse Racing (HHR) Machines: Electronic machines similar to slots that allow customers to bet on replays of past horses.
  • Instant Racing Machines: Similar to scratch-off tickets offered by the Kentucky Lottery, instant racing machines are another type of electronic gaming available at Ellis Park which chooses winners based on historical horse racing data.
  • Simulcast Betting: A form of off-track-betting (OTB), visitors to Ellis Park can also bet on horse races from tracks across the country. This service, similar to HHRs, is offered year-round.
  • Sports Betting: With odds provided by Kambi, visitors to Ellis Park in KY can now also bet on sports. Despite there being no traditional sportsbook with live tellers, visitors can use one of nearly a dozen self-service kiosks to engage in KY sports betting.
  • Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS): Available throughout Kentucky, visitors to Ellis Park can participate in DFS contests from their mobile devices while at Ellis Park Race & Gaming.

History of Ellis Park

With a history dating back more than 100 years, the history of Ellis Park is a long and storied one. Let’s take a closer look at some key dates in the history of Ellis Park, and how we got to where it is today.

  • 1922: Initially named Dade Park when it opened, Ellis Park Race Track as we know it today opened its doors in Henderson, KY, initially offering mostly thoroughbred racing.
  • 1954: Just over 30 years after initially opening its doors, the track known as Dade Park was purchased by James C. Ellis, who renamed it Ellis Park to honor his family.
  • 1966: A first in the state of Kentucky, Ellis Park installed a turf course to further enhance their horse racing offerings.
  • 1985: Still happening today, Ellis Park introduced the Gardenia Stakes, one of their first signature races each year.
  • 1998: With new funding, Ellis Park underwent significant renovations to bring their race track into the 20th century. This included modernizing the amenities and facilities to enhance the visitor experience.
  • 2005: Following a severe tornado that ripped through the BlueGrass state, Ellis Park incurred damages that would lead to a temporary closure while undergoing repairs.
  • 2006: For the second time in the track’s history, Ellis Park was sold, this time to Kentucky businessman Ron Geary who further enhanced the track with modernizations and innovations.
  • 2012: Adding to the Ellis Park gaming options, Geary and his team introduced historical horse racing (HHR) machines that offered electronic gaming that results come down to historical race outcomes.
  • 2018: With partner Kentucky Downs, Ellis Park began offering simulcast racing and betting opportunities via a simulcast facility located on the grounds
  • 2023: Following successful sports betting legislation, Ellis Park opened a sportsbook in August 2023, with services and odds provided by international oddsmaker Kambi.

Contact & opening hours

Address: 3300 US-41, Henderson, KY 42420
Opening hours: Opens at 11:00 AM daily during the live racing season
Website: http://www.ellisparkracing.com
E-mail address: [email protected]
Phone number: (812) 425-1456