County gets grants for horse track

The county has more than $200,000 in grants that could help build a new horse racing track, but officials aren’t yet sure if they want it.

This year, the county received two grants from the state and a horse racing group that could help build a new racing track at the Johnson County Park, in the southern part of the county.

The half-mile horse track at Hoosier Horse Park has been an addition county officials have been discussing for more than a year.

But officials want more information on how much the track would cost to build because they know the grants won’t cover the full cost, county parks superintendent Megan Bowman said.

The next step would be to work on designs for the facility, but that work has not been started, she said.

“There are still quite a few steps before we can make a decision,” she said.

And the county would also need to find ways to come up with money to match what was awarded in the grants, county commissioner Brian Baird said.

Officials have two years to make the decision or return the money, Baird said.

The track would give the Indiana Standardbred Association a venue in Johnson County similar to ones at county fairgrounds across the state. The park would be used for training, standardbred harness racing and quarter-mile horse racing, which do not allow betting because of state regulations and guidelines. The facility also would have barns, stables and a veterinarian facility, officials have said.

If built, the horse track would be the 10th facility on the Indiana Standardbred’s schedule and would host about five events per year.

But the county could also use the facility, and it fits well with the horse park’s other equestrian facilities, commissioner Ron West said.

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Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2718.