The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) released the following statement in response to the Kentucky Supreme Court’s Opinion calling into question the operation of historical horse racing (HHR) in the Commonwealth:
“Thursday’s ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court is devastating to the Commonwealth, the horse industry and the tens of thousands of Kentuckians who work in the industry.
The result of this ruling, if there is no action by the state legislature to enact law permitting wagering on HHR, would severely impact the horse industry at a time when Kentucky is leading all competing states in nearly every metric. That success is largely based on HHR and the financial incentives it has funded that have led to more horse operations moving to Kentucky, more horses being bred in Kentucky and more horses racing in Kentucky. The competitive advantage that Kentucky has over competing states will disappear overnight with the absence of HHR.
The potential elimination of HHR will have an immediate negative impact on the value of Kentucky horses and investment in Kentucky. This will lead to hardships for Kentucky’s racetracks and horse operations, loss in real estate values and tourism and, ultimately, to job losses across the industry. Kentucky’s signature industry has suffered a massive blow, from which recovery will be very difficult. This does not affect just the horse industry, it affects all Kentuckians as tax revenues from HHR and other industry programs will decline.
While this is devastating news for Kentucky’s horse industry, there are possible solutions and there may be an opportunity to create a permanent legislative fix for HHR. KEEP will continue working with the industry, the state legislature and the governor to advocate for policies to address immediate and long-term needs to build not just a stronger horse industry, but a stronger Kentucky.”