European Bluegrass

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 16, 2009 in General Discussion | 3 Comments >>

If you are a fan of grass racing, you have to enjoy the racing that will take place this weekend. It is unique, and is like no other in the states…

Kentucky Downs, located in rural Franklin, Kentucky, is a little slice of heaven.  It is a turf player’s dream and nightmare. The course is undulating, and is styled with hills and dips. The layout can be seen online, and it has a stretch that would remind you of a Saturday in England. It can break your heart when watching the simulcast feed. Just when you would swear that the race is over, you have little over an 1/8th of a mile to run. Good stuff….

I had the pleasure of working there in the 90’s as an on-site manager. It was shuttered, and re-opened by Turfway Park and Churchill Downs. Each weekend, I would go down and learn more about the track. I would get the place up and going, and leave it run with the people who live in surrounding communities; some in Tennessee, and some in Kentucky. I would walk the course, and it was a workout just going up and down the hills. It really made me take note as a handicapper. You may want to watch for runners who come back to run, and outfits that target the track.

I made many friends, and enjoyed the months that I spent at the old “Dueling Grounds” race course. The track itself is a mystery. It is located so close to the border of Kentucky – Tennessee, that when the horses make the final turn, they are actually in another state for about a 1/16th of a mile.

Originally named for all of the duels that took place on the site, it holds many stories, including being haunted. Needless to say, I left many times before all of the lights were turned off.  It was said that Sam Houston even took part in a duel on the grounds. But all of that came to an end in 1827.

This Saturday is Calvin Borel Day. He will be on-site to sign autographs and ride the undulating course. There are only a handful of days this meet, as the climate of racing in Kentucky has caused a cutback at many locations.

Make time to catch some of this meet. I will be there on the 26th with WinningPonies caps, as I am playing in a handicapping tournament. I will meet up with players from around the nation, and they always want one of the cool caps I have on my head. They will have to be on hand to get theirs, but all you have to do is send in a testimonial, and WP will send you one for checking in….

Good luck!