KEEP Statement on Historical Horse Racing Ruling

KEEP Statement on Historical Horse Racing Ruling

Lexington, Ky. (Wednesday, October 31, 2018) – The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, issued the following statement on last week’s ruling on Historical Horse Racing (HHR):

After 8 years of litigation, on October 24th, Judge Thomas D. Wingate ruled that wagering on HHR machines developed by Exacta Systems should be considered pari-mutuel wagering, under Kentucky law.

KEEP worked closely with technology and machine developers in research of the initial games and with the Kentucky Racing Commission in introducing the machines. The case dates back to July 2010 when the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, Kentucky Department of Revenue and various racetracks sought confirmation from Franklin Circuit Court that the devices operated within state wagering laws.

Initially the court ruled in favor of the state agencies and race tracks, but the Family Foundation appealed the decision. Litigation continued in various Kentucky Courts until last week.

“The arguments raised by the respondent, the Family Foundation, are noble, moral and altruistic,” Judge Wingate wrote, “however, the arguments advanced by the Family Foundation fail as the Exacta machines are structured to operate in accordance with the pari-mutuel system of wagering. Furthermore, the Legislature has determined that historical racing machines are not gambling devices as long as they comport with pari-mutuel wagering.”

Exacta Systems machines are currently in use at Kentucky Downs, Ellis Park and Red Mile in partnership with Keeneland. Parimax and Ainsworth Game Technology machines have been approved by Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, but are not included in this ruling.

This is a big win for KEEP and for our entire industry. Since 2011 HHR has contributed over $31 million dollars the Kentucky Thoroughbred and Standardbred Development Fund. This has increased purses significantly at Kentucky Downs and in 2018 has provided for an additional $1.5 million dollars in purses at Ellis Park, Keeneland and Churchill Downs. The increase in purses at Kentucky Downs and Ellis Park have created a summer racing circuit in Kentucky with quality races that attract trainers and owners from all of the country.

The result of this successful wagering alternative has put Kentucky’s horse racing industry on a positive trajectory in nearly every measurable category, where many other competing states have plateaued or are shrinking. What this means for Kentucky is that the horse industry – which is responsible for $4 billion in economic impact and 80,000 direct and indirect jobs – remains robust and healthy.

“Obviously we are very pleased with the Court’s well-reasoned and detailed ruling,” said Kentucky Downs president and KEEP Legislative Committee Chairman Corey Johnsen. “Judge Wingate carefully considered the facts and found that Exacta Systems and our historical horse racing is pari-mutuel and complies with Kentucky law.

ABOUT KEEP
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 $141 million to Kentucky breeders since its inception in 2006, and pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse racing, which has been responsible for more than $32 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.

Learn About Equine Tourism in Kentucky at Castle & Key Distillery

Learn About Equine Tourism in Kentucky at Castle & Key Distillery

Join KEEP at Kentucky’s newest distillery, Castle & Key, on October 2 for the next event in the Equine Summit Luncheon Series. The luncheon topic will be Equines and Tourism in Kentucky. Learn more about this event and register here.

The event will feature special guest speaker Regina Stivers, Deputy Secretary of Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. 

Additional speakers include representatives of Horse Country, the University of Louisville and Visit Lex.

KEEP Announces Position on Legal Sports Wagering

KEEP Announces Position on Legal Sports Wagering

Lexington, Ky. (Wednesday, September 5, 2018) – Today, the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, released a white paper outlining KEEP’s position on legal sports wagering in Kentucky. The white paper details what will be critical to allow for a successful implementation of sports wagering in Kentucky, following the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling in May that struck down the previous law that limited sports wagering to just a few states.

The white paper, which can be accessed here, provides four key criteria that any proposed legislation in Frankfort should include in order to secure continued success for Kentucky’s signature industry, as well as provide an environment for sports wagering that will benefit the state’s budget and Kentuckians across the Commonwealth. The four criteria are:

  • Sports wagering is made available at Kentucky’s racetracks
  • The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is named the regulatory body overseeing sports wagering
  • The tax rate on sports wagering is competitive
  • A portion of any revenues on sports wagering benefits the horse industry

Doug Cauthen, Chairman of the KEEP Board of Directors, commented on the release of the white paper, “KEEP has worked diligently, over the past several months with member racetracks, farms, owners and horse enthusiasts all throughout the industry, to reach a position on sports wagering that unifies the industry. Fortunately, the horse industry sees the great opportunities that exist for legalized sports wagering in Kentucky and have coalesced around this white paper.”

Elisabeth Jensen, KEEP’s Executive Vice President who oversees the organization’s daily operations added, “Now it is critical that the legislature takes up the issue in an expeditious manner to prepare for January’s session. With sports wagering already becoming available in a number of other states, Kentucky must be at the forefront of this opportunity and not wait until neighboring states have acted and it is too late. KEEP applauds the work of the bipartisan panel of legislators currently working on this issue and we look forward to sharing the white paper with them.”

“Coming to consensus on anything can be difficult in an industry with interests as disparate as our’s.” Jensen continued, “However, on this issue, we all see the great potential that sports wagering can bring to the state. Currently, Kentucky’s horse racing industry is unparalleled in nearly every metric when compared to other states. Not only could sports wagering benefit the state financially, but it can also be done in a way that will preserve and grow the success that horse racing has seen in this state over the last decade.”

ABOUT KEEP
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 $141 million to Kentucky breeders since its inception in 2006, and pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse racing, which has been responsible for more than $32 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 http://www.horseswork.com.

KEEP and Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center Announce Partnership to Address Equine Industry Job Needs

KEEP and Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center Announce Partnership to Address Equine Industry Job Needs

The two year project will work to build a talent pipeline in Kentucky for the equine industry

Lexington, Ky. (Wednesday, June 20, 2018) – The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, announced today that it has partnered with the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center’s statewide Talent Pipeline Management™ (TPM) initiative.

As one of three state chambers of commerce chosen by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to pilot this initiative, the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center project will focus on creating a talent pipeline of qualified candidates for jobs in the fields of manufacturing, healthcare, construction and more. Over the next two years, the project will work with these key industries to develop strategies to meet Kentucky’s growing workforce issues.

Recognizing that the horse industry is a unique and critical part of Kentucky’s economy, with an economic impact of nearly $4 billion annually and responsible for more than 80,000 jobs, KEEP and the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center embarked on this partnership to address the job needs within the industry across the state.

Elisabeth Jensen, KEEP’s Executive Vice President who oversees the operations of the organization, commented on this announcement saying, “During my tenure at KEEP, we have been focused on the economic impact the horse industry has on Kentucky and all Kentuckians. Addressing our industry’s labor issues is an integral part of that and we are looking forward to pioneering this approach to the issue with the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center.” Jensen also added, “With the improving economy, the demand for a capable workforce has increased at the same time that the industry has faced a shrinking and inconsistent immigrant labor pool. It is essential that we build a talent pipeline of Kentuckians to meet the opportunities and challenges that the horse industry will encounter in the near future.”

The Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center will hold meetings throughout the two year project to develop strategies to improve Kentucky’s workforce issues across six different industry areas, including the horse industry. Participating employers, employer-led associations and education providers will build partnerships while using a demand-driven concept in order to connect employees and employers.

Beth Davisson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center said, “We are excited by the opportunity to partner with KEEP to strengthen the equine talent pipeline in Kentucky. Together we will strengthen the Equine Workforce using an approach that is unique to Kentucky, and the nation through the Chamber Foundation’s TPM™ system.. The Kentucky Chamber’s Workforce Center is dedicated to supporting our state’s economy and ensuring we build the workforce needed to help Kentucky thrive. This partnership with KEEP will allow our state to better support the Equine Industry and honor its critical importance in Kentucky.”

Cheryl Oldham, Senior Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce, said, “Yesterday’s education systems aren’t meeting the needs of today’s learners and tomorrow’s workers. The state-based TPM Academy™ will empower state, local and industry leaders to tackle this problem. By coming together to develop a statewide strategy for closing the skills gap, business leaders will be equipped with the tools they need to hire and develop a strong workforce.”

ABOUT KEEP
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 $141 million to Kentucky breeders since its inception in 2006, and pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse racing, which has been responsible for more than $32 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 http://www.horseswork.com.

KEEP Announces New Board of Directors Leadership and Members

Doug Cauthen will serve as Chairman and four individuals join the Board of Directors

 

Lexington, Ky. (Wednesday, June 13, 2018) – The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, announced changes and additions to the KEEP Board of Directors.

Doug Cauthen, who has served on KEEP’s Executive Committee, is the new Chairman of KEEP’s Board of Directors. Cauthen is a founding board member of KEEP and is currently a partner of Doug Cauthen Thoroughbred Management, LLC. Cauthen’s wealth of experience in the horse industry and his role in shaping KEEP make him a natural choice as leader of the organization.

Cauthen will be joined in leadership of the KEEP Board of Directors by Ken Jackson who will serve as Vice Chair. Jackson is a partner of Kentuckiana Farms and Lexington Selected Sales Company. Jackson also currently serves on the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Elisabeth Jensen, KEEP’s Executive Vice President who oversees the organization’s operations, said, “I am excited about the new additions and changes to KEEP’s Board of Directors. KEEP’s influence grew leaps and bounds under Corey Johnsen’s tenure as Chairman and we will continue to build on that success with Doug Cauthen and Ken Jackson’s leadership.”

Corey Johnsen, the immediate past-Chairman of KEEP’s Board of Directors will serve as Chairman of KEEP’s Legislative Committee. The Legislative Committee advises KEEP’s advocacy and policy goals.

Additionally, four new individuals were added to KEEP’s Board: Kiki Courtelis, David Ingordo, Dan Real and Adrian Wallace. Courtelis is the CEO of Town & Country Farms and a member of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Ingordo is a bloodstock agent for Ingordo Bloodstock Services. Real is Regional President of Caesar’s Entertainment, South. Wallace oversees Nomination Sales for Coolmore America at Ashford Stud.

Jensen added, “Kiki Courtelis, David Ingordo, Dan Real and Adrian Wallace bring fresh perspectives to the Board and we have all of the right components to advance KEEP’s mission and strengthen the economic impact that the horse industry has on Kentucky and all Kentuckians.”

Chairman Cauthen said, “KEEP plays a critical role in promoting, growing and protecting the horse industry in Kentucky. We are at an important moment in determining the future of the equine economy in Kentucky and KEEP’s work is more important now than ever. I have pledged to serve as Chairman of KEEP during this upcoming year while there are plenty of opportunities and challenges ahead of the organization. I plan to pass the torch to another pair of able hands next year. We want vibrancy in our leadership and keeping fresh hands involved is one way to do that.”

ABOUT KEEP
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 and pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse racing, both of which have greatly contributed to Kentucky’s continued success across all metrics in the horse racing industry.

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 http://www.horseswork.com.

KEEP Launches Equine Summit Luncheon Series

KEEP Launches Equine Summit Luncheon Series

Lexington, Ky. (Tuesday, May 15, 2018) – The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky’s equine economic advocate for Kentucky’s horse industry, officially announced the KEEP Equine Summit Luncheon Series. The luncheon series will be a near-monthly event, taking place across the state and featuring keynote speakers who will address topics of critical interest to the horse industry and horse people across the Commonwealth.

Discussing topics such as stallion seasons, marketing and advertising, handicapping, workforce issues, employment, tax laws and more, the luncheon series will feature individuals at the top of their fields in the horse industry, political leaders and academic experts.

In 2016 and 2017, KEEP hosted an annual conference in October, but according to KEEP’s Executive Vice President, Elisabeth Jensen, the luncheon series will allow more individuals around the state to participate in these important discussions throughout the year.

“The KEEP Equine Summit Luncheon Series allows KEEP to take the issues most important to the industry and focus on them in a way that we were unable to during our annual conferences. Additionally, because the luncheon series will travel throughout the state, we can reach and inform more Kentuckians about the importance and impact of the horse industry on the state,” said Jensen.

On May 30, 2018, KEEP will kickoff the luncheon series at the famed Taylor Made Farm. The topic of this first luncheon is “The Dollars and Cents of Standing Stallions.” The luncheon will focus on the economics of Stallion Seasons, from standing to breeding to seasons and shares and everything in-between.

To ensure that the luncheon series is accessible to any individual interested in learning more about the issues that impact the horse industry, KEEP announced that the prices for the inaugural year of the luncheon series will be just $10 for KEEP member and $25 for non-members.

Online registration for the first luncheon is now open. Visit https://horseswork.com/equine-summit-luncheon-series for more information about the series and access to registration for the luncheons. For inquiries about joining the Equine Summit Luncheon Series as a sponsor, email info@horseswork.com.

ABOUT KEEP

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 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 http://www.horseswork.com.
KEEP Members Tell Frankfort to Not Saddle Our Horses with the Pension and Budget Crises

KEEP Members Tell Frankfort to Not Saddle Our Horses with the Pension and Budget Crises

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Thursday, March 15, 2018) – Facing threats in two introduced bills and with other proposals being considered, the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky’s Equine Economic Advocate, urges Kentucky lawmakers to not increase the tax burden on Kentucky’s signature horse industry.

Through an email campaign by KEEP’s grassroots supporters and through one-on-one meetings in Frankfort, KEEP’s message to legislators has been simple: proposals to increase the tax burden on the horse industry would irreparably cripple Kentucky’s competitive edge for equine business, threatening the economic engine that provides 80,000+ direct and indirect jobs for our Commonwealth.

In two tax reform bills that have been introduced so far, the six percent sales tax exemption for the purchase of horses two years old or younger by out of state buyers would be eliminated. With similar sales tax exemptions provided in competing states such as Florida, Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania, Kentucky’s horse industry would be dealt an immediate blow as those states would likely become the recipients of increased equine business.

“Eliminating the sales tax exemption for out of state buyers gives other states a competitive advantage over Kentucky,” said John Sikura, owner of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm, leading consigner and KEEP board member. “At a time when our industry is shrinking we need to strengthen Kentucky as the center of our industry and not create vulnerabilities to our position as the thoroughbred capital of the world. The industry is not a birth right to Kentucky but one we need to protect and incentivize not tax out of state buyers and give them a reason to buy and sell elsewhere.”

The horse industry contributes significantly to the Commonwealth’s bottom line. In addition to the nearly $4 billion annual impact of the industry, including the rapidly growing tourism sector, more than $21 million was collected in total excise tax from Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing in 2017 alone. When including breeding and other equine related fees, that number raises to more than $40 million.

Duncan Taylor, president of Taylor Made Farm and KEEP board member noted the negative impacts that the loss of the sales tax exemption could have on the Commonwealth, “Kentucky has a chance to become the next Napa Valley with the Bourbon Trail and Horse Country tours allowing people behind the scenes to be our guest. This builds a tax base on food and beverage, hotel rooms and more. Some job estimates for the horse industry range as high as 96,000 when considering secondary impacts such as tourism. That will only grow if the state doesn’t tax us out of the state. Taylor Made sells 1,000 horses a year and 970 of them are sold in Kentucky. If you start to tax out of state horse buyers, the horses Taylor Made will sell in Kentucky will drop to zero rather quickly.”

“With the budget and pension crisis and impending tax reform, everything is on the chopping block. Our legislators need to hear from us,” commented Elisabeth Jensen, KEEP’s Executive Vice President, after multiple meetings with leadership and members of the relevant committees.

KEEP encourages industry participants and horse enthusiasts to contact Frankfort and ask that they do not increase the tax burden on Kentucky’s horse industry. Kentucky residents can go to horseswork.com/advocacy to send a message to their legislators.

 

ABOUT KEEP

The Kentucky Equine Education Project 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 works to strengthen the horse economy in Kentucky through our statewide network of citizen advocates and our foundation, which has awarded more than $700,000 to local Kentucky equine organizations. To learn more about how you can become a member or make a contribution, please visit www.horseswork.com.