114 North Main Street
Henderson, KY 42420

Ellis Park Racing & Gaming is thrilled to announce that for the first time in its 98-year history, Ellis Park will now host a Kentucky Derby qualifying race. Churchill Downs, Inc. released a new list of prep races for its “Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented By Woodford Reserve” yesterday and the Ellis Park Derby was elevated from a listed stakes race to a preparation race.

The Ellis Park Derby (50-20-10-5) will be held on August 8-9 and act as the fourth leg of the Midwest Region’s “Road to the Kentucky Derby.”

“Ellis Park is extremely grateful for this incredible opportunity,” said the track’s General Manager, Jeff Inman. “The Kentucky Derby is the most prominent racing event in the world. We are honored to be a part of this event and are thrilled to be able to offer this special race to our fans.”

Since 2013, a tiered point system in select horse races around the world is used to help determine which of the nation’s best three-year-old thoroughbreds make it to the Kentucky Derby.

“To host a Derby qualifier is really huge,” commented Jeff Hall, Director of Racing Operations. “These are not only the nation’s, but also some of the world’s best thoroughbred race horses and they’ll all be running for their golden ticket to the Kentucky Derby on our very own track.”

To make it to the starting gate, Derby hopefuls must travel the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” and race at the designated tracks listed throughout America, Europe, and Japan. The top four finishers in races at each track earn points based on finishing order. Then, at the end of the “Road,” the top twenty horses with the most points get to run in the Kentucky Derby.

Given the unprecedented effects of COVID-19 on the racing industry, the Kentucky Derby was postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5 and much is still unclear about the Triple Crown, Belmont Stakes, and overall racing schedule for the rest of the year. Ellis Park Racing & Gaming continues to work with the KHRC and Commonwealth of Kentucky to monitor when it is safe to reopen and is preparing for all scenarios regarding guests in the stands.

Ellis Park Racing & Gaming, also known as Ellis Entertainment, LLC, is a subsidiary of Laguna Development Corp (LDC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ellis Park was originally purchased in 1922 as 204 acres of wild river bottom land by A.B. Barrett Dade. In the 98 years since then, Ellis Park – formally Dade Park – has become a proud cornerstone of entertainment in the Henderson community with a lengthy history of development and growth in the Tri-State area. LDC purchased Ellis Park in June 2018 for $11 million and plan another $55 million of upgrades through the year 2025. For more information on Ellis Park Racing & Gaming, please visit www.ellisparkracing.com.

For media inquiries regarding Ellis Park, please contact Allie Sclafani at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For media inquiries regarding Ellis Entertainment, LLC, please contact Skip Sayre at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.