Eastern Kentucky’s Sandy’s Racing and Gaming holds grand opening ceremony

The grand opening ceremony for Sandyโ€™s Racing and Gaming in Boyd County was officiated on Thursday, paving the way for legal betting and gaming in eastern Kentucky. Governor Andy Beshear, along with other community leaders, joined the ribbon-cutting ceremony to welcome the new gaming center.

During the event, Governor Beshear said: โ€œThis whole region, you got your own racetrack. Youโ€™ve got your own tourism draw and you have your own sportsbook.โ€ Beshear also placed the first wager after the ceremony, betting on the upcoming Kentucky Wildcats basketball game against Tennessee.

The $75 million entertainment facility creates nearly 250 new jobs and millions of dollars in new tax revenues are expected, as per a news release. The venue stretches across 75,000 square feet and houses nearly 700 historical horse racing games, two performance stages, and a BetMGM Race & Sportsbook.

“Last year, we promised to bring a first-class facility to Boyd County,” said Larry Lucas, Chairman of Revolutionary Racing Kentucky, which is making the investment together with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. “Today, we can say โ€“ promises made, promises kept.”

Sandy’s Racing & Gaming is bringing top-tier racing, gaming, and entertainment to Northeastern Kentucky, along with hundreds of new jobs for the people who call Boyd County and the surrounding region home,” Governor Beshear added in a statement. “Congratulations to Revolutionary Racing and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians for creating this exciting destination.”

The project will also include Kentucky’s only quarter-horse racetrack and an equestrian center, located on 182 acres behind Sandy’s. On Thursday, the construction for the quarter horse racetrack was kicked off at the end of the ribbon cutting, when Revolutionary Racing representatives set off an explosion behind the gaming center where the new track will be built. As per a press statement, track construction is officially set to begin in early 2024 and the first races are expected in 2025.

Last summer, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission awarded the state’s ninth and final horse racing license to Revolutionary Racing Kentucky. Construction began in April and was led by Lexington’s D.W. Wilburn Construction and the Tri-State Building Trades. More than 300 local union workers were employed throughout the project and 90% of all materials and supplies were made in the US.

Amenities include a 5,200 square-foot sportsbook, which features dozens of leather recliners and three cinema-sized screens. Daily entertainment will take place on two stages, which include dueling pianos, as well as local and national performers.

On Thursday country star and Boyd County native Cole Chaney starred as the opening-night headliner and last year’s “American Idol” winner Noah Thompson delivered a surprise performance.

The gaming center also has a craft-focused kitchen that offers a variety of dining options, with all meat locally sourced from AW Meat House in Argillite. Menu highlights include the Big Sandy Burger, flatbreads, root beer floats made with The Peddler in Huntington, West Virginia, and Sandy’s Ale โ€“ a craft beer made by Mikerphone Brewing in Illinois, which is only available at Sandy’s.

Located at 10699 US 60 in Ashland, Sandy’s is open from 9:00 AM to 4:00 AM Sunday through Thursday and 9:00 AM to 6:00 AM Fridays and Saturdays.