Statement from KEEP Regarding Legislation to Maintain Historical Horse Racing in Kentucky
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Tuesday, January 12, 2021) – The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, released the following statement on the importance of legislation to maintain historical horse racing in Kentucky:
Kentucky’s signature equine industry has a simple request for state legislators in 2021: maintain the status quo and protect local jobs and investment by allowing historical horse racing to continue in Kentucky. Inaction would cost us thousands of jobs, millions in tax revenue and significant economic development opportunities at a time when they are needed most. The longer-term impact to Kentucky’s world-renowned horse racing industry, including the breeding, farming, training, tourism and other sectors it supports, is of even greater concern.
Historical horse racing is a popular form of entertainment that has been taking place in the commonwealth for a decade, while providing important jobs to Kentuckians, driving local investment and breathing new life into our signature equine industry. Much of this activity has been taking place in smaller communities throughout the commonwealth, where job creation and investment opportunities aren’t always abundant.
Historical horse racing has allowed Kentucky’s racing circuit to remain competitive with neighboring states by increasing purses and promoting higher quality racing. These benefits extend far beyond the racetrack, as a healthy racing circuit also benefits the vast network of businesses and individuals who work tirelessly in support of the horse industry, including breeders, feed and bedding suppliers, tack and equipment dealers, veterinarians, farm hands, blacksmiths, owners and trainers, among others.
A strong equine industry means a strong Kentucky and that’s something we should all support.
Unfortunately, a recent ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court has put historical horse racing—and our entire industry—in jeopardy. Now, we need the General Assembly to act quickly and address the simple fixes outlined by the court. Legislation will soon be introduced to do just that.
During the last ten years, historical racing has helped our equine industry grow and become the very best version of itself. By taking action to protect the future of historical horse racing, our legislators are protecting critical jobs, state revenue and economic development—all of which greatly benefit their constituents and their communities. Now is not the time to dismantle the vital industries that have continued to generate revenue and sustain jobs in Kentucky during the pandemic. Without historical horse racing, our industry will suffer, as will the people who call Kentucky home.
Our efforts to keep historical horse racing in Kentucky are just that. This is not about expanding gaming or allowing any new form of gaming in the state. It’s about maintaining the status quo, protecting businesses that are already and have been operating for years and ensuring that one of our most impactful industries—one synonymous with Kentucky—can continue investing in our communities and moving Kentucky’s economy forward.
The Kentucky Equine Education Project, Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, is a not-for-profit grassroots organization created in 2004 to preserve, promote and protect Kentucky’s signature multi-breed horse industry. KEEP is committed to ensuring Kentucky remains the horse capital of the world, including educating Kentuckians and elected officials of the importance of the horse industry to the state. KEEP was the driving force in the establishment of the Kentucky Breeders Incentive Fund, which has paid out more than $177 million to Kentucky breeders since its inception in 2006, and pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse racing, which has been responsible for more than $50 million to purses and more than $24 million to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.
KEEP works to strengthen the horse economy in Kentucky through our statewide network of citizen advocates. To learn more about how you can become a member or support our work, please visit www.horseswork.com.