Cumberland Run concludes a successful first meeting
November 9 – CORBIN – Mountains – or at least part of a hill – had to be moved to create the Cumberland Run harness route. But once it was built, the first horse racing meeting in southeastern Kentucky went off with little impact.
The 12-day Cumberland Run meet ended on Tuesday. More than $1.4 million has been paid out to horse owners, not including the lucrative Kentucky Sire Stakes series that covers 12 divisions by age, gender and movement.
“The meet itself went really well,” said Ted Nicholson, Vice President of Racing for The Mint Gaming Hall properties, which include the Kentucky Downs thoroughbred track. “There were no hiccups. That’s amazing when you consider that this is a complete ‘ground up’ race track. It’s a testament to everyone who put their blood, sweat and all tears to be realized.
“It was a strong meeting when you think about our purses and how happy the riders were with the physical racetrack. Everyone who came loved the feel of the racetrack itself. It’s set on the side of a mountain and with the fall colors it was beautiful.”
The Ron Burke-trained Hungry for Love went 3 for 3 at the meet, including Sunday’s $70,000 final of the Kentucky Sire Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Owned by Thomas Dillon and Scott Dillon of Anson, Maine, Hungry for Love was the track’s only three-time winner and top earner at $65,000. She was bred by Brittany Farms of Versailles, Ky.
Andrew Miller was the leading driver with 17 victories and a record $403,700 in purse earnings. His 90 starts second only to Tony Hall’s 93 (resulting in 15 wins and $343,200 in second-place purse earnings). One of the most successful drivers was Dexter Dunn, who had five wins and four seconds from just nine starts.
Tony Alagna leads the meet in most trainer statistics, including starts (61), wins (12), seconds (13), thirds (10) and purse earnings ($408,370) . Two of his wins came with 18-time winner and millionaire I Did It Myway, a Lexington-bred starter leg winner and the $70,000 final of the Kentucky Sire Stakes series for 4-year-old male packers. Alagna also went 2-for-2 with Brittany Farm’s local Honey, including the $70,000 final of the Kentucky Sire Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters.
“We were thrilled to be a part of the first meeting,” Alagna said by phone. “We’re a big supporter of Kentucky racing – we love what they’ve done with the Kentucky Sire Stakes program. ‘ looking forward to next year and supporting the meet more. Lovely facility. They have done a great job. The track, for being new, was in excellent shape. I would say it is the beginning of greater things.”
The Cumberland Run held its 2021 and 2022 race dates at The Red Mile in Lexington while the five-eighths mile course was under construction in Corbin.
Nicholson said to pull off a successful meeting, Cumberland Run drew on employees who worked at nearby gaming and entertainment operations at Cumberland Run as well as those at The Mint Gaming Hall Cumberland in Williamsburg, along with a few from other properties in Franklin and Bowling Green.
“They poured everything into the meeting while they were on duty because they have other work on the side of the game,” said Nicholson. “The staff did an amazing job. It’s very similar to the way we can pull off a seven-day Kentucky Downs meet. It gets a lot of people to roll up their sleeves and do a lot of things that they wouldn’t normally do. be. do. But you make it work.”
The 2024 Cumberland Run dates follow a similar Sunday to Tuesday format: October 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 and November 3, 4, 5.
“With any new operation, we have a list of things we want to improve, and most of them would be things we do for the riders in the paddock,” Nicholson. “Over the next few years, we will see the purses go up. I think the riders really appreciated the purse structure.