Bill Thomason

KEESEP in the Books, but Numbers Slide as Expected

While there were bright spots and plenty of successes, Keeneland's bellweather September Yearling Sale saw significant drop-offs in trade from last year's strong renewal as the Thoroughbred industry and world at large reel from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Conducted over 12 days this year compared to 13 last term and with strict safety protocols in place, the 2020 September sale grossed $238,454,300 from 2,346 head sold. The gross 12 months ago was $359,789,700 from 2,850 sellers. This year's average dipped 19.49% from $126,242 to $101,643; the median dropped...

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New Racing Facilities Planned for Southeastern Kentucky

Keeneland and the majority owners of Kentucky Downs have made application for a racing license and have proposed the construction of a state-of-the-art racing facility and associated track extension in Kentucky. The proposed facilities, to be located in Corbin and Williamsburg, would feature live Standardbred racing as well as historical racing machines. "Horse racing is an extremely vital part of the Commonwealth's economy," said Ron Winchell, who owns, controls and manages Kentucky Downs with Marc Falcone. "With the addition of a new race track and related amenities in southeastern Kentucky,...

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Dixiana to Sponsor QE II Challenge Cup at Keeneland

William and Donna Shively's Dixiana Farm is the new sponsor for the $500,000 GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, one of this country's most prestigious races for 3-year-old turf fillies. The QE II Challenge Cup Presented by Dixiana will be held on the second Saturday of Keeneland's fall meet Oct. 10. "Keeneland is pleased that Dixiana has become the sponsor of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup," Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. "Dixiana has been a valued corporate partner through its sponsorship of other stakes at Keeneland, and...

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Keeneland Announces Operations Realignment

Keeneland is undergoing a "strategic realignment of its core racing and sales operations to strengthen its ability to execute its mission and better serve the needs of its global clientele," it announced Thursday. Shannon Arvin, who it was announced earlier this month will succeed Bill Thomason as the company's President and CEO at the end of 2020, will serve as Interim Head of Sales while a search is conducted this fall to fill that role. While a partner at the Lexington law firm Stoll Keenon Ogden (SKO), Arvin has served...

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Keeneland Generates $63M in Handle

All-sources wagering during Keeneland's five-day summer meeting, which concluded Sunday, totaled $63,299,331, with average daily all-sources handle reaching $12,659,866. Wagering was boosted by a single-day all-sources handle for Saturday's 10-race Toyota Blue Grass card of $23,834,972, second only to the record $25,809,200 set for last year's 11-race Blue Grass Day card. The All-Stakes Pick Five Saturday handled $1,395,051, well above the former record of $1,079,197 set on Blue Grass Day last year. Keeneland's first-ever summer meet was created after the track's traditional 16-day spring meet was cancelled due to the...

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Keeneland Takes the Lead in Blue Grass Farms Charities’ Matching Gift Campaign

Beginning in July, Blue Grass Farms Charities will launch its inaugural matching gift campaign, "Gallop and Graze," to further the mission of the charity. Founded in 2003, Blue Grass Farm Charities' purpose is to provide health and human services to those working in the Thoroughbred racing community. With a commitment to this mission, BGFC is proud to announce Gallop and Graze, a matching campaign to provide continued services and assistance to our backstretch and farm community. Keeneland has kicked off this campaign with a $20,000 gift and the Mary K....

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Keeneland, UK Athletics Team to Deliver Racing Coverage

Keeneland and University of Kentucky Athletics will broadcast "A Day at Keeneland Presented by Toyota" to help deliver Keeneland's Summer Meet to the Big Blue Nation. The four-hour program, which airs Saturday from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. EST on the UK Sports Network, will feature continuous coverage of Keeneland's Saturday card that includes six graded stakes races and the GII Toyota Blue Grass S. Tom Leach, "The Voice of the Wildcats" and an Eclipse Award winner who serves as a Keeneland racing analyst, will anchor the program live from the Lexington...

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Shannon Arvin to Succeed Thomason at Keeneland

Shannon Bishop Arvin has been tabbed to replace Bill Thomason when he retires as Keeneland's President and CEO at the end of 2020, the racing and sales company announced Thursday morning. Arvin, a partner at the Lexington law firm Stoll Keenon Ogden (SKO), has served as corporate counsel to Keeneland since 2008 and as Secretary and Advisory Member of Keeneland's Board of Directors since 2015. She will serve as the incoming President-elect beginning Sept. 1 and will officially transition to President and CEO on Jan. 1, 2021. She becomes Keeneland's...

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Keeneland and Maker’s Mark Team up to Help Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund

Keeneland and Maker's Mark have announced the 2020 Maker's Mark commemorative bottle, with all proceeds to benefit the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF), an independent charitable organization that provides financial assistance to jockeys who have sustained debilitating on-track injuries. Each Maker's Mark bottle has been signed by the five leading active stakes-winning riders at Keeneland--Julien Leparoux, Robby Albarado, John Velazquez, Javier Castellano and Mike Smith--in addition to Maker's Mark Managing Director Rob Samuels and Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason. The bottle goes on sale July 3 in limited quantities...

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Keeneland At Home Unveiled

Keeneland announced Keeneland at Home, Presented by Central Bank, offering viewers the opportunity to remotely enjoy Keeneland's five-day Summer Meet. Conducted July 8-12, the abbreviated season accommodates a portion of the 16-day Spring Meet that Keeneland was forced to cancel due to the COVID-19 outbreak. "Fans flock to Keeneland during our race meets, and we will miss seeing thousands of faces in the stands for the Summer Meet, but we look forward to delivering their favorite race-day traditions so they can hold watch parties at home and enjoy Keeneland," Keeneland...

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Keeneland’s Summer Meet to Allow Participating Owners

Keeneland's Summer Meet, to be held July 8-12, has been given approval to allow a limited number of participating owners to attend on the day their horse is running. Officials at Keeneland worked with Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear and state public health officials on a plan to permit owners to attend while ensuring the safety of horsemen and track employees under the 'Healthy at Work' guidelines. However, as previously announced, spectators will not be permitted due to restrictions resulting from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "We are pleased to be able...

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Dr. Stuart E. Brown II Joins Keeneland as Equine Safety Director

Dr. Stuart E. Brown II, who cared for an international clientele during his nearly 30-year career with Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, will join Keeneland full time as Equine Safety Director. "Dr. Stuart Brown is uniquely talented for the position of Equine Safety Director and to be a leader in enhancing safety practices at Keeneland and throughout racing," Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. "During his career, his knowledge and expertise have been sought by horsemen around the world and by top industry and veterinary organizations alike. Stuart's...

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