KEEP Commends the Department of Homeland Security for Releasing Nearly 65,000 Additional H-2B Visas

Lexington, KY. Friday, October 14, 2022 – The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) released the following statement after the Department of Homeland Security’s announcement that it released an additional 64,716 H-2B visas to meet labor demands for FY 23:

KEEP commends the Department of Homeland Security for releasing an additional 64,716 H-2B visas to meet the labor demands for FY 23. KEEP has long been a member of the H-2B Workforce Coalition, which urges Congress to increase the statutory cap on H-2B visas to meet the demands on the program. However, short of action by Congress to address this issue, this announcement by the Department of Homeland Security is much needed to ensure a robust workforce in non-agriculture fields.

Kentucky’s horse industry relies on H-2B workers at tracks and training operations to meet the labor needs of the growing industry. The unreliable nature of the H-2B visa program is part of the reason why KEEP and the KEEP Foundation started the Equine Workforce Initiative in 2019. This initiative is working with industry stakeholders to create a talent pipeline and offer career pathways for more Kentuckians to work in the Commonwealth’s signature industry. Learn more about the Equine Workforce Initiative at: www.thekeepfoundation.org/initiative/.

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 $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 $40 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.

Act Now! Support HB 606 to Legalize Sports Wagering

Act now and support the passage of HB 606 to legalize sports wagering!

KEEP and Kentucky’s horse industry have been actively involved for the past several years in advocating sports wagering legislation that protects the role of Kentucky’s signature industry in the landscape of wagering options.

HB 606 accomplishes this by allowing for sports wagering to be offered in-person at Kentucky’s racetracks. Additionally, sports wagering will be governed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, a testament to the trust that wagerers place in Kentucky’s horse industry.

Overall, this bill will benefit Kentucky’s horse industry and community by offering new revenue sources for the industry, as well as attracting new fans to the sport through the in-person experiences at Kentucky racetracks.

Please contact your Senators and ask them to vote in favor of HB 606.

Annual KEEP Day in Frankfort to be Held January 27

Lexington, Ky. (Monday,  January 24, 2022) – The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) announced that it will host its annual KEEP Day in Frankfort event on Thursday, January 27, 2022. KEEP Day in Frankfort provides KEEP grassroots members, industry leaders, breed associations, and other industry partners an opportunity to share with Kentucky lawmakers the importance of horses to their legislative districts and the state’s economy.

The event will take place from 9:00 AM – 10:45 AM in Room 113 in the Capitol Annex.

Elisabeth Jensen, KEEP’s Executive Vice President who oversees the daily operations of the organization, commented, “Kentucky’s horse industry and community create an annual economic impact on the state of $6.5 billion. More important, though, are the tens of thousands of jobs and thousands of businesses that contributed directly and in-directly to the state’s horse industry. These businesses and industry partners are the lifeblood of small towns across the state and it is critical that the industry flourish to support the small businesses and equine operations that are at the heart of Kentucky’s signature industry.”

Created in 2004 to preserve, promote, and protect the state’s horse industry, KEEP represents and advocates on behalf of Kentucky’s entire industry – all breeds and equine pursuits.

Jensen continued, “KEEP Day in Frankfort brings industry participants together with lawmakers to share how the policies developed in Frankfort have real impacts in the industry across the state. We look forward to showcasing all facets of the industry, including tourism and recreation, racing, non-racing breeds, and more.”

RSVP to attend KEEP Day in Frankfort by emailing brittany@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 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 $40 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.

KEEP Applauds the Pari-Mutuel Wagering Taxation Task Force

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Monday, November 22, 2021) – The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) released the following statement following the final hearing of the Kentucky General Assembly’s Pari-Mutuel Wagering Taxation Task Force:

KEEP is grateful to the legislators that served on the Pari-Mutuel Wagering Taxation Task Force for their thorough and fair-minded examination of the many facets of Kentucky’s horse industry, the industry’s economic ecosystem, how the industry impacts the state, and the potential outcomes of adjusting the current varying tax rates on the different forms of pari-mutuel wagering.

KEEP was honored to be asked to testify during one of the five public hearings held by the Task Force. Elisabeth Jensen, KEEP’s Executive Vice President who oversees the daily operations of the organization, provided testimony on the current state of Kentucky’s entire horse industry, all breeds and disciplines, and its economic impact on the state including tourism, equine events, educational opportunities, the ripple effects across other sectors throughout the state, and more.

KEEP applauds the Task Force for its work on its final report and is supportive of the final recommendations that will be considered by the General Assembly during the next legislative session. KEEP looks forward to working closely with the legislature as it considers the Task Force’s recommendations.

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 $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.

KEEP and The Race For Education Announce  2021 Scholarship Recipients

Lexington, Ky.  (Monday,  June 28, 2021) – The Kentucky Equine Education Project Foundation (KEEP), and The Race For Education (RFE) are proud to announce their 2021 scholarship recipients.

The KEEP Foundation board of directors approved over $35,000 in scholarships to 11 students attending 10 universities across the Commonwealth. All of the 2021 scholarship recipients are students currently enrolled with a university or college in Kentucky in an equine and/or agriculture related major.

In addition to these 11 Kentucky students, the Race For Education awarded its annual Robert J. Frankel Scholarship to 3 New York state students: Reina Ceballos, Joseph Lee and Carlos Lopez. Now in its 11th year, the Robert J. Frankel Scholarship, in honor of the late Robert (Bobby) J. Frankel, is awarded to a student whose family is employed in the Thoroughbred industry, pursuing any field of study at a college or university in California or New York state. All three Frankel Scholarship recipients, whose parents work in the barns at various tracks in New York, will be attending universities in New York.

“Kentucky is the horse capitol of the world and having the Commonwealth’s colleges and universities prepare the next generation of leadership is vital to the horse industry’s continued success. KEEP congratulates this year’s scholarship awardees and looks forward to the future impact they will have on the industry,” said Elisabeth Jensen, KEEP’s Executive Vice President.

2021 Race For Education KEEP Foundation Scholarship
Ambre Azcona – University of Kentucky
Lily Crouch – University of Kentucky
ALeah Gardner – Morehead State University
Harrison Goode – University of Kentucky
Wheaton Hardwick – Kentucky Community & Technical College
Emma Ingalls – Asbury University
Emily James – Midway University
Alina Knore – Morehead State University
Elizabeth Lynch – Midway University
Kaitlyn Praisler – Morehead State University
Ava Simmons – Murray State University

ABOUT THE KEEP FOUNDATION
The mission of the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), established in 2014, is to support the economic success of Kentucky’s signature industry by ensuring its continued economic viability, making the industry accessible for all who want to participate, introducing more young people to the industry and its opportunities, and educating the people of the Commonwealth about the importance of horses to the state, its economy, its heritage, and its people.

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, visit www.HorsesWork.com.

ABOUT THE RACE FOR EDUCATION
Through academic development programs, tutoring, internships, financial literacy training and scholarships; The Race For Education provides opportunities for educational success for young people with significant financial need and academic challenges.

The ultimate goal of The Race For Education is to ensure our young people become successful in life and assets to their community – www.raceforeducation.org.

KEEP Statement on the Appointment of the Pari-Mutuel Wagering Taxation Task Force

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Tuesday, May 25, 2021) –The Kentucky Equine Education Project, Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, released the following statement on the appointment of the Pari-Mutuel Wagering Taxation Task Force:

“The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) commends the appointment of the Pari-Mutuel Wagering Taxation Task Force, the first step in ensuring an equitable tax rate for historical horse racing (HHR) that will result in increased revenue for the state and promote continued growth for Kentucky’s nation-leading horse industry.

“During the legislative session when the preservation of HHR was discussed, Kentucky’s horse industry pledged to work with the legislature to assess the tax structure of HHR, how those funds are allocated, what the impact would be on the industry and Kentucky’s economy if the tax rates are changed, and determine if any changes should be made to the existing structure.

“KEEP stands ready to work with the Task Force and be part of the conversation on HHR to ensure that entire horse industry – all breeds and disciplines – continues to see benefit from HHR through incentive funds and other state programs. Additionally, it is paramount that changes to the tax structure of HHR are not detrimental to the horse industry’s 60,000 direct and indirect jobs and its $6.5 billion impact on Kentucky’s economy. KEEP looks forward to working closely with the Task Force to accomplish these goals.

“KEEP extends its gratitude to Representative Matt Koch and Representative Ruth Ann Palumbo for their legislative efforts to establish this Task Force.”

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 $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.

KEEP Announces New Board Leadership

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Monday, April 5, 2021) – The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, announced the new leadership of KEEP’s Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors unanimously approved the promotion of Case Clay to become the Board’s Chairman. David Ingordo was unanimously approved to become the Board’s Vice Chairman. Clay and Ingordo replace Doug Cauthen and Ken Jackson, who will both continue serving on the KEEP Board. Additionally, Courtney Schneider was added to the Board of Directors.

Clay is the Chief Commercial Officer of Three Chimneys Farm. Ingordo is the owner of Ingordo Bloodstock. Schneider is the Director of Sales at Shawhan Place and is the current President of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club.

Elisabeth Jensen, KEEP’s Executive Vice President who oversees the daily operations of the organization, commented, “I am thrilled to have Case and David taking on the leadership roles of the KEEP Board. Doug and Ken did an incredible job over the past three years, shepherding KEEP through an evolution that led to our investment in workforce development and our recent legislative successes in Frankfort. I know that Case and David will build on this success and take KEEP to even great heights.”

Clay, added, “I am very excited to continue working with the staff and the Board at KEEP and building on the momentum that we have at the moment as a result of tackling the challenges we recently faced with historical horse racing. I was encouraged to see the industry come together for the greater good in a short amount of time. I think we have opportunities ahead of us with regard to growing our relationships in Frankfort, as well as engaging and including all horse breeds and disciplines in the Commonwealth.”

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 $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.

KEEP Commends U.S. House of Representatives for Passage of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Thursday, March 18, 2021) –The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, released the following statement today regarding the U.S. House of Representatives passage of H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021:

“KEEP commends the U.S. House of Representatives for its the passage of H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2021, which addresses the labor crisis facing many agriculture operations across the country by reforming the H-2A visa process, providing a path to legal status for farm workers, and implementing a nationwide E-Verify system.

“While this bipartisan legislation does not affect H-2B visas, which are also used by the Kentucky horse industry, it does impact H-2A visas, which are critical to horse breeding operations. KEEP calls on Congress to address the vast shortages of H-2B visas in future immigration legislation to meet the needs of Kentucky’s horse industry.

“In addition to advocating in support of smart and sensible immigration reforms to address the labor shortages of Kentucky’s horse industry, KEEP has invested heavily in promoting career opportunities within the industry to Kentuckians in order to create a homegrown 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 $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.

KEEP Applauds Kentucky Legislature for Passage of HB 229

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Tuesday, March 16, 2021) – The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, released the following statement regarding the Kentucky Legislature’s passage of HB 229:

“We applaud the Kentucky Legislature’s passage of HB 229. By broadening the definition of property destruction crime to include livestock, this legislation is a big step forward in further deterring the abuse of horses. KEEP has long been a leader in advocating for the health and welfare of Kentucky’s horses and is wholeheartedly supportive of this legislation.

“KEEP is grateful to Representative Matt Koch for his work to advance this legislation. Representative Koch is a champion for Kentucky’s horse industry and community and we appreciate his work to ensure that the horse industry’s $5.2 billion economic impact on the state continues to grow.”

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 $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.

KEEP Thanks Governor Beshear For Signing Historical Horse Racing Legislation

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Monday, February 22, 2021) –The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, released the following statement today regarding Governor Beshear’s signing of Senate Bill 120:

“We thank Governor Beshear for signing Senate Bill 120 into law, which ensures the future of our equine industry while protecting thousands of local jobs. Kentuckians and the legislators who represent them have made clear that they support historical horse racing and the many benefits it brings to our communities. We are optimistic about the horse industry’s road ahead and remain committed to keeping Kentucky a world-class racing destination for many years to come.”

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 $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.

KEEP Applauds Congress for the Inclusion of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act in the FY 2021 Omnibus Spending Bill

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Monday, December 21, 2020) – The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) applauds the United State Congress for its inclusion of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act in the FY 2021 omnibus spending bill that was passed by Congress tonight.

KEEP is thankful for Senator Mitch McConnell and Representative Andy Barr’s longtime leadership on this issue. Additionally, KEEP is grateful for Representatives James Comer, Brett Guthrie, Hal Rogers, and John Yarmuth’s cosponsorship of the House of Representatives’ version of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.

Elisabeth Jensen, KEEP’s Executive Vice President who oversees the daily operations of the organization, commented, “KEEP has been at the forefront of the industry in calling for uniform safety standards. This legislation is critical for Kentucky’s signature industry and we are thankful to the Commonwealth’s members of Congress who championed this issue. We look forward to working with our industry partners in the implementation of these new safety standards.”

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 $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.