Churchill Downs gets OK for racing dates at planned track in Oak Grove, Ky.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Churchill Downs Inc. says a legal challenge won’t stop its plan to build a $150 million racetrack, hotel and gaming facility this year in Oak Grove, Ky.

Kentucky Downs filed a lawsuit earlier this week to appeal the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s decision in November to award a license to a joint venture of Churchill Downs and Keeneland Association for the live horse racing component of the project.

In the lawsuit, Kentucky Downs claims the Churchill-led venture was given preferential treatment by the commission, which regulates horse racing in the state.

In a statement, Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said the company is moving “full speed ahead” with the project.

“It is unfortunate that some, in a fit of sour grapes, are asserting baseless allegations to delay this exciting project, along with all of its accompanying economic benefits and job creation for the local community, the Commonwealth and the horseracing industry as a whole,” Flanery said in the statement.

The track is scheduled to open for live racing dates beginning in October.

The Churchill Downs-Keeneland venture still needs separate approval by the commission to install up to 1,500 historical racing machines at the site.

The terminals mimic slot machines but actually offer wagering based on previously run horse races.

The facility is planned in Christian County, on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, just north of Clarksville, Tenn.

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Chris Otts reports for about business and economic topics, higher education and local / state government. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after seven years with The Courier-Journal. Got a tip? Chris is at 502-585-0822 and