Saratoga Casino & Hospitality Group now has full ownership of Ellis Park, as the sales transaction was completed by the group on July 30, 2018.
Located in Henderson along the Kentucky–Indiana state line, Saratoga Casino & Hospitality Group already owned 30 percent of the Thoroughbred racetrack. At a special meeting of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on July 17, SCHG revealed its intent to purchase the remaining interest in the venue from majority owner Ron Geary.
In the official press release, President of Saratoga Casino & Hospitality Group, Daniel Gerrity said…
“We’re very excited to own such a historic property,”
“We look forward to learning even more about the Henderson and Evansville communities, and we’re eager to work towards our goal of delivering an experience that goes above and beyond guest expectations.”
No changes expected:
In July, a group of executives was sent to the racetrack by Saratoga Casino & Hospitality Group to determine what, if any, areas could be improved, and to conceive a plan to heighten the total guest experience. At that time, it was reportedly confirmed by the group that they don’t have plans to change the park’s current management team.
The 71-year-old Geary recommended that the current staff management, led by general manager Jeff Hall, remain intact and that he is pleased that Saratoga Casino & Hospitality Group indicated that there would be no changes.
“This is going to be one of our best operating years in our history, especially if we ever get a break with the weather, and I just think it will get better and better,” said Geary.
Increase in operation:
The Historical Horse Racing (HHR) operation at Ellis Park was up 10% for the fiscal year that recently concluded, over that of the prior year, according to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. The commission reportedly said that for the past three months, the HHR product is up 40% from the same three months last year.
In 2012, Geary sold Saratoga Casino and Hospitality Group a 30% stake in Ellis Park for $4 million. The deal enabled the business to invest in Historical Racing Machines, which helped to supplement the track’s Thoroughbred racing offering. The most recent deal transferred Geary’s remaining 70% stake to the group.
Headquartered in Saratoga Springs, New York, Saratoga Casino & Hospitality Group is a subsidiary of Saratoga Harness Racing Inc. The latter oversees the day-to-day operations of Saratoga Casino Hotel and Saratoga Casino Blackhawk in Black Hawk, Colorado.
Geary on choosing Saratoga:
“Back in 2011, I was trying to figure out what it took to get Ellis into the black and make it profitable. I decided I had to invest in Instant Racing, called Historical Horse Racing now. I took a whole year and visited 44 different racetracks, casinos, racinos and met a bunch of people and talked to them that I would like to bring in a 20 to 30-percent partner to help me launch Instant Racing. Seven groups or people were interested. One of the last groups I met with was Saratoga, and there was kind of a bond immediately. We always got along great. We always dealt with each other with openness and candor. They are a very dependable group of people, ones you can trust. I went with them. They put up $4 million to get the original Instant Racing open in the clubhouse, and we’ve been working together ever since. They are good people,” explained Geary, according to the Paulick Report.