‘Little Guy has nowhere to go’: Ashwood Training Center in Lexington to close July 1 – Horse Racing News
Entrance to Ashwood Training Center
In early April, trainer Sherri Boland moved her small stable of eight horses from Florida to the Ashwood Training Center on Russell Cave Road, just outside of Lexington, Ky. The daughter of Hall of Fame jockey Bill Boland was confident enough in setting up a store the right thing to do that she bought a house nearby.
Less than three weeks after her arrival, Boland said she and more than a dozen other coaches received eviction notices telling them they had until July 1 to vacate the Ashwood premises and find another place to stable and train their horses. The property owner is seeking approval from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Planning Division to have a dozen football fields built on the property – and possibly a stadium for a professional football team coming to Lexington .
Horse people usually know how to roll with the punches, and Boland was no different.
“I assumed since we’re in Kentucky, the horse capital of the world, that there would be a lot of booths,” Boland said.
She soon discovered that was not the case.
“The Thoroughbred Center (on Paris Pike) said when it was rebuilt it had lost 300 stalls from before,” Boland said of the Keeneland-owned property. “I’m on a waiting list there, but they don’t have room. Keeneland said they were renovating and had no booths. Turfway is closed for the summer. The farms are private. There are no options. The little guy has nowhere to go.
“I’m very surprised this is happening in Kentucky,” she said. “Some trainers have already left the state – some for Ohio, some for Indiana. The approximately 250 horses there employ a lot of people.
On Monday, June 13 at 1:30 p.m. in the council chambers at 200 E. Main Street in Lexington, the Planning Division Board of Adjustment will hold a public hearing into Anderson Communities’ conditional use application, which leases the Ashwood Training Center property from Marc Ricker. The site plan indicates that the football pitches are located where the practice track is and near the southeastern border of Fasig Tipton The Sale Grounds of Kentucky. The fields are adjacent to trainer Ken McPeek’s Magdalena Farm. The site plan also provides for 750 parking spaces.
The land is currently zoned Agriculture Rural (AR).
Planning Division staff are recommending a deferral of the matter when it comes up at the June 13 meeting, citing questions about the relationship between the proposed recreation grounds and what it says is a commercial stadium.” planned” for a USL League One professional. football franchise coming to Lexington in 2023. Plans for a downtown football stadium have failed and no new plans have been announced. The site plan did not include a stadium, although Planning Division staff said the “separation between uses” (recreational football grounds and professional stadium) needed to be more “clearly delineated”.
William J. Shively, owner of Dixiana Farm in Lexington, brought the franchise to Lexington. Vince Gabbert, vice president of Keeneland, is the franchise’s president.
Gabbert declined to comment on the proposal, referring all questions to the owner, Anderson Communities, who did not return phone messages.
The facility, formerly known as Victory Haven, was opened by Ricker in the spring of 2019 and features a six-stadium track, nearly 300 stands, 30 paddocks, and indoor and outdoor arenas.
Ricker did not return a phone message seeking comment.