Fund Established for Children of Keeneland’s McKee


Ava, Katherine and Walker McKee | Keeneland photo

A fund has been established for the benefit of the children of Katherine McKee, who died July 27 after a three-year battle with melanoma. She was 40 years old.

McKee had worked at Keeneland for 15 years, most recently serving as the director of racing administration, where she was the company’s primary contact for horsemen.

“For nearly three years, Katherine has battled advanced melanoma defying odds from the beginning,” said Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason in a statement sent to Keeneland staff and trainers. “Besides her unwavering grace, commitment and eternal optimism, Katherine miraculously overcame medical hurdles that would cripple even the strongest. Her courage and determination are unmatched and a testament to the power of positivity.

“As Katherine’s family grieves this tremendous loss, I know many of you want to celebrate her life and the impact she has made on all of us. Below are details on a memorial fund as well as the address for Katherine’s parents as we support them through this unfathomable time.”

For the benefit of her children, donations can be made to the McKee Memorial Trust c/o Keeneland Association, PO Box 1690, Lexington, KY 40588, or through Keeneland’s website at

The daughter of Herb and Kass McKee, Katherine was born and raised in Henderson, Kentucky along with her brother Herbie McKee. Katherine found her home when she moved to Lexington to begin her degree at Transylvania University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.

McKee had recently been a part of a clinical trial at the University of Louisville, where she saw some initial success before facing complications.

She leaves behind two young children, Ava and Walker.

“Katherine had a way of touching everyone and no matter how long it had been since you last talked, you always picked up where you left off,” Thomason’s statement read. “Her ability to love, her authenticity, spirit, humor, openness and her forever caring and selfless heart create the legacy we will never forget. Second to her family, this team meant the most to her. With 15 years here, she loved Keeneland, the horsemen, her team and the entire Keeneland family. While she felt privileged to work at this great place, we are the ones who are truly privileged. It has been an honor to work alongside such an extraordinary person. She is a true inspiration.”

A celebration of her life will be announced at a later date.

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.