Kentucky Racing

Six-Strike Overhand Whipping Rule Could Be Legal in Kentucky by February

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) is on its way to a long-planned rewrite of the state's whipping rules, and the chief change would set a limit of six overhand hits per race with no more than two strikes in succession to give the horse a chance to respond. In addition, the penalty structure will be tweaked. As explained by Jennifer Wolsing, the general counsel for the KHRC, "The stewards would be able to impose a $500 minimum fine or a three-day minimum suspension. Or, if the stewards believe that...

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Under Glare of Probing Questions, Curious Answers in Kentucky

The Week in Review by T.D. Thornton In theory, state racing commissions are supposed to provide a layer of checks and balances by making both racetrack operators and horsemen accountable for their actions. In practice though, that often doesn't happen because regulators in many jurisdictions fail to ask probing questions of licensees during open, public meetings. In Kentucky, for example, if you want the most concise on-the-record snapshot of what's going on with the circuit, the best source generally isn't a Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) meeting. Instead, the proceedings...

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Laurel Locks Down Over EHV-1; Kentucky Urges Caution On Ship-Ins

Four barns at Laurel Park were placed under quarantine and shipping out was barred for horses stabled at Maryland's two Thoroughbred tracks Mar. 9 after a symptomatic horse at Laurel tested positive for equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1) and was removed to a veterinary facility. On a national scale, active cases of the highly contagious respiratory disease are being monitored in several states right now, including in Florida at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala. On Mar. 7, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture state veterinarian's office issued written guidance related...

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HHR Passes Ky House 55-38 After Emotional Debate

The bill to legalize historical horse race (HHR) gaming in Kentucky by defining "pari-mutuel wagering" to include previously run races passed in the House of Representatives by a 55-38 vote shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday, with seven legislators not casting votes. Capping an emotional and contentious—but always civil—floor debate that stretched over three hours Feb. 11, the most controversial bill of the 2021 Kentucky legislative session now heads to Governor Andy Beshear, who has previously indicated support for keeping HHR intact in Kentucky. The passage of SB 120 this week...

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Jason Litt: Why I Left the KTA

It's no secret the horse industry is struggling. But like any good optimist, I'm always open to new ideas. I recently read Simon Sinek's book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. The oversimplified concept of the book is how understanding your 'why' can contribute to your success. This is my 'why' I chose a career in horse racing. I love horses. From the unbelievable softness of a newborn foal to the rippling musculature of a stallion, they are majestic. As an agent, breeder and owner,...

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Letter to the Industry: Coolmore Calls on Industry for HHR Support

Dear Friend of Coolmore America, As a valued client and friend of Coolmore America we need your help to take action and keep the Kentucky thoroughbred business strong and vibrant. Due to a recent ruling by the Kentucky Supreme Court the future of the horse business in Kentucky along with the more than 60,000 jobs and more than $5.2 billion in economic impact is now at a crossroads and in jeopardy. Over the last decade historical horse racing has helped the horse industry flourish and has created thousands of jobs and...

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KTDF in 'Fragile' State; Ellis 'Moving Heaven and Earth' to Have Race Meet

As the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) closes in on the three-month mark without being able to generate money via historical horse race (HHR) gaming and on-track wagering, Bill Landes III, the chairman of the fund's advisory committee, warned in a public teleconference meeting Wednesday that the money that gets allocated to pay a portion of purses on the state's racing circuit is running dangerously low. Although no specific dollar amounts were mentioned about how dry the funding is because of the recent COVID-19 business closures, a real-life example of...

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Among Kentucky Trainers, No Consensus On New Lasix Rules

Though he won one of two races for 2-year-olds held last week at Churchill Downs, trainer John Hancock had hoped to do better. A day after the filly Hopeful Princess (Not This Time) broke her maiden, stablemate Cuz (Ironicus) finished seventh in a maiden race for juvenile colts. Hancock said he believes the reason Cuz didn't fare better was because he was, under new rules in place at Churchill, not allowed to run on Lasix. "[Cuz] is an exceptionably nice colt," Hancock said. "We scoped him and he showed signs...

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Monomoy Girl Set to Return After Third Comeback

Ever since Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) surged past the Churchill Downs finish line to take the 2018 GI Breeders' Cup Distaff, fans have eagerly awaited her return. It's been a long road over the past year and a half, but the now 5-year-old Eclipse champion is slated to make her 2020 debut beneath the Twin Spires Sat., May 16. The five-time Grade I winner will be the star of Churchill Downs' opening day, facing six other fillies and mares in a one-mile $80,000 allowance optional claimer. Her competition includes dual stakes...

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Gone Today, Here Tomorrow

The Week in Review, by T.D. Thornton The COVID-19 virus has quarantined this week's GI Kentucky Derby, which has been rescheduled for Sept. 5. The last time America's most famous horse race got pushed off its traditional first Saturday in May calendar spot was 1945, when the nation was embroiled in World War II. It's impossible to make accurate comparisons between a global conflict and a pandemic that are happening 75 years apart. But sifting through archived news clippings about how horse racing endured and eventually overcame that long, government-mandated...

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Thayer Calls Ongoing Shutdown of Racing in Kentucky 'Potentially Cataclysmic'

Damon Thayer, a former Breeders' Cup executive who is now the majority leader of the Kentucky Senate, continued to beat the drum Thursday for a return of racing in his state. In an interview with the TDN, he said he sees no practical reason why racing, without spectators in the stands, cannot resume within the next few weeks and warned that keeping the tracks closed indefinitely would create serious economic problems for the sport. "Staggering and potentially cataclysmic," he said when asked to predict the impact of racing in Kentucky...

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Annual KEEP Day to Be Held Mar. 12

The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) will host the fourth annual KEEP Day in Frankfort Thursday, Mar. 12, it announced Teusday. KEEP Day in Frankfort provides KEEP grassroots members, industry leaders and breed associations an opportunity to share with state legislators the importance of horses to their districts and to the state's economy. The event will take place from 8:30-10:30 a.m. in Room 125 in the Capitol Annex. "KEEP Day in Frankfort is a great opportunity for legislators to connect with the horse industry to learn exactly what makes this...

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