LEXINGTON, Ky. (Thursday, February 4, 2021) – The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, commends the Senate Licensing and Occupations Committee for passing Senate Bill 120 today, which will keep historical horse racing in Kentucky and protect critical jobs, investment and economic development across the state. The legislation, sponsored by Senator John Schickel and Senate President Robert Stivers, now heads to the Senate floor for a full chamber vote.
The committee heard powerful testimony today in support of the bill from Kelli Pendleton, president/CEO of the Christian County Chamber of Commerce and Tom Drury, a horse trainer and Kentucky native.
KEEP issued the following statement regarding the legislation’s passage out of committee:
“We thank the members of the Senate Licensing and Occupations Committee for voting to move Senate Bill 120 forward. This is a critical step toward ensuring historical horse racing can continue in our state, just as it has for the last ten years. Now, we urge our elected officials in the Senate to act swiftly in passing this bill and sending it to their colleagues in the House.
“SB 120 is solely about maintaining the status quo and preserving the jobs and economic development opportunities that historical horse racing has consistently provided our state. We are continuing to work alongside a broad coalition of organizations and constituents from all parts of the state who understand the importance of keeping HHR in Kentucky.”
The legislation was introduced to address the Kentucky Supreme Court’s ruling against historical horse racing and will define pari-mutuel wagering to be consistent with how the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has regulated live racing for decades and historical horse racing for the last ten years. The legislation also reaffirms that only pari-mutuel wagering on simulcasts of live racing can occur at simulcast facilities. In effect, this maintains the status quo that Kentucky has known for the last decade, ensuring HHR venues can continue or resume operations that are so beneficial to our signature horse industry and statewide economy.
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.