Churchill Downs has become an Ed Brown Partner, the organization announced during a press conference with Governor Andy Beshear in attendance Wednesday morning. The Ed Brown Partnership of $50,000 is the highest level of participation in support of the work of the society, which is named in honor of Edward Dudley Brown, who was born into enslavement in Lexington, and went on to become one of the most accomplished horsemen in the history of Thoroughbred racing. The society is dedicated to increasing minority participation in the industry.
Wednesday's press conference marked the one-year anniversary of Beshear's declaration of Derby Week 2021 as “Ed Brown Society Week.”
“The Ed Brown Society has an incredibly important mission: Providing mentorship to the next generation of African-Americans in the multi-billion-dollar horse racing industry,” Beshear said. “Thank you and congratulations to both of these institutions for moving our commonwealth forward with this innovative partnership.”
“Churchill Downs is committed to strengthening diversity both within our own organization and across the entire industry,” said Cathy Shircliff, Director of Community Relations. “We look forward to deepening our partnership with the Ed Brown Society to further their work to create inclusive opportunities for young people of color in the horse racing industry. This company hopes to be one of the many launch pads to the success of future Ed Brown Scholars.”
Ed Brown Society Chairman Greg Harbut, whose great-grandfather was the world-renowned groom of Man O' War, said, “As a third-generation horseman, and one of the few African American professionals in the industry, I am extremely excited about the work of the Ed Brown Society and I am delighted that Churchill Downs has joined us to advance our mission.”
Also Wednesday, the Ed Brown Society announced the hiring of Executive Director Daryl Love. Love most recently served as the Executive Director of Career Services at Kentucky State University, a role that will be utilized greatly in the placement of Ed Brown Scholars within partner organizations like Churchill Downs.