Ellis Park, constructed in 1922 as Dade Park by the Green River Jockey Club, is located on 214 Kentucky acres situated just north of the U.S. Hwy. 41 Twin Bridges. The track rests on the scenic banks of the Ohio River, between the communities of Henderson, Kentucky, and Evansville, Indiana.
In 1924, James C. Ellis purchased the facility from the financially-plagued Jockey Club and operated the track until his death in 1956. The track, officially renamed James C. Ellis Park in 1954, was then operated by his nephew, Lester E. Yeager. Yeager, teaming up with long-time track veteran Ruth Adkins, improved, expanded and successfully operated the facility for the next 25 years.
In 1985, Roger Kumar of Oldsmar, Florida, purchased the facility and later sold the track in 1990 to the Racing Corporation of America. In 1998, Churchill Downs, Inc. purchased the track. As a member of the Churchill Downs family, Ellis Park experienced on-going improvements to the facility, organization and its stakes and purse structure.
On November 6, 2005, a tornado ripped through northwestern Kentucky and southwestern Indiana, inflicting significant damage to Ellis Park. The track's grandstand terrace, adjacent to the main grandstand structure, sustained heavy damage, as did the paddock, jockeys' quarters and infield tote board. The tornado also destroyed 11 barns in the stable area and caused light-to-moderate damage to several others. Three of the 158 horses on the grounds died from injuries suffered in the storm. Despite the damage to the track, Churchill Downs, Inc. was committed to rebuilding the facilities needed to run the 2006 meet.
In September, 2006, Ron Geary, a local Kentucky businessman, purchased Ellis Park from Churchill Downs. On August 4, 2007, Ellis Park hosted the Claiming Crown, which was a first for a Kentucky track. The Claiming Crown featured seven races with total purses of $600,000.
Ellis Park's signature event is the Grade III Gardenia Stakes. The facility also offers race fans full-card simulcasting year-round from the best tracks across the country.