FanDuel Becomes Title Sponsor Of Kentucky Downs Races

Posted on August 30, 2021 - Last Updated on March 6, 2024

The online sports gaming brand FanDuel has announced a three-year partnership with thoroughbred horse racing venue Kentucky Downs.

This announcement came last week ahead of the race track’s annual six-day meet, which runs Sept. 5-6, 8-9, and 11-12.

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FanDuel strengthens ties with Kentucky Downs

FanDuel Group operates as the parent company of TVG, the official racing network and advance deposit wagering (ADW) platform of Kentucky Downs.

With this deal, TVG was named the exclusive television partner for all Kentucky Downs races, and the upcoming event will be known as the FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs.

In addition, Sept. 8 is now referred to as “TVG Day,” and the network sponsors the races during the day.

Marc Falcone, the co-owner and manager of Kentucky Downs, is eager for what this partnership means for the brands.

“FanDuel and TVG recognize our value, and we’re immensely proud that Kentucky Downs has been added to their sponsorship portfolio that includes the Breeders’ Cup, Keeneland, and Del Mar in horse racing, as well as FanDuel’s association with the NFL, NBA, MLB, and PGA Tour. That’s impressive company to be keeping.”

NBC, the traditional television partner of the Breeders’ Cup, will still broadcast the two Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races on Sept. 11.

Every other race, however, will be available via TVG.

FanDuel sponsors Challenge Series race

Two Challenge Series races are are also incorporated into the lineup. One is a race that transitioned from being named the Tapit Stakes to the FanDuel Turf Sprint.

Originally a $400,000 race, it is now a $1 million Grade 3, and its winner will advance to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

Andrew Moore, the FanDuel Group’s vice president of racing, also commented on the new partnership.

“It is very exciting to sponsor the FanDuel Turf Sprint. Any owner of a classy turf sprinter is going to be attracted to a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race with a purse of $1 million, and the race is sure to be a top-class event. The FanDuel brand will be exposing the Kentucky Downs product to millions of sports fans nationally.”

The second Challenge Series race is a $1 million Grade 2 Calumet Turf Cup. The winner of this race will advance to the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Kentucky Downs sustains races with HHR revenue

Kentucky Downs operates only six days each year. Its track, a 1 5/16-mile European-style turf design, is the only track of its kind in the US.

Thanks to the revenue generated off Historical Horse Racing (HHR) games each year, the track is able to offer especially competitive purses to its contestants.

The track’s 16 stakes-races offer a record-breaking $10 million in prize money.

The track’s six graded-stakes races each feature a purse of $600,000 or more.

Moreover, three of those races offer $1 million purses:

  • FanDuel Turf Sprint
  • Calumet Turf Cup
  • Grade 3 WinStar Mint Million

Kentucky Downs co-owner Ron Winchell said the partnership felt like a natural progression for the brands.

“TVG is America’s undisputed leader in television horse racing, and Kentucky Downs has developed arguably the best betting product in the industry. That includes the largest purses and field sizes in the country, combined with takeout rates that are very horseplayer-friendly.”

Wagering on Kentucky Downs races in Tennessee

Wagering on horse racing has always existed in a legal grey area for Tennessee residents.

The Racing Control Act was approved in 1987, legalizing pari-mutuel wagering in the state. However, in 2015, lawmakers eventually repealed the Racing Control Act.

For now, it is up to operators whether or not to offer horse race wagering in the state. While both FanDuel and TVG offer horse wagering for bettors throughout the US, neither currently offer it in Tennessee.

Tennesseans looking to bet on horse races will need to use TwinSpires. The brand launched its sportsbook back in March, offering sports betting in addition to its traditional horse race betting platform.

Photo by Associated Press
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Alec Cunningham

As a college athlete, Alec Cunningham played Division II golf at Tusculum University. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. She then returned to her love of written word in 2000 after working in the music industry as a concert promoter, tour manager and artist developer. As a journalist, she's covered a variety of topics and currently specializes in Tennessee online sports betting and Virginia casino news. She served as a panelist at this year's All American Sports Betting Summit, discussing the ever-evolving role of women in the gambling industry.

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