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Turfway officials hope the Derby winner's history there will bring more interest

kentucky derby winner rich strike
Jeff Roberson
Rich Strike, with Sonny Leon aboard, wins the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Louisville, Ky.

Turfway Park is betting the excitement surrounding Sunday’s Kentucky Derby photo finish will be good for the opening of its new grandstand and historical horse racing venue Sept. 1.

Rich Strike has a history with the Florence Park and so do the trainer and jockey. The horse’s win at Turfway April 2 ultimately helped the three-year-old get in the Derby. (With another horse dropping out, Rich Strike’s trainer learned he was in just 36 hours before the big race began.)

Turfway’s General Manager Chip Bach relived this weekend’s memories during Tuesday morning’s Eggs ’N Issues event put on by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

“Now we’ve got this yeomen trainer from Kentucky, a young man who rides in Kentucky (jockey Sonny Leon) — in the snow and the wind and the ice — win the Kentucky Derby and the story is just phenomenal,” says Bach.

Leon is well known in Northern Kentucky horse racing circles. Bach says he did five races at Anderson Township’s Belterra Park Friday.

“I know people are excited. I can’t have a conversation anywhere without talking about when we open, what we’re going to do, how it’s going to look,” says Bach.

Churchill Downs owns Turfway Park and Newport Racing and Gaming. The new $145 million Florence grandstand and historical horse racing venue features a large clubhouse, event center and improvements to the jockey dorms and new barns for the horses.

Turfway Park
Rendering of the new Turfway Park grandstand and historical horse racing venue.