Destination Lexington: Downtown Midway

On a sunny Friday in August, a vanload of a dozen wide-eyed tourists step onto Main Street in Midway, Kentucky. The picturesque town with a population of fewer than 2,000 is easy to miss passing through, but for travelers who do happen upon it, the charming community is one they'll soon be eager to revisit. "This is just a lovely town," said one woman from Kansas after touring Midway's historic downtown for the first time. "It's amazing how clean the storefronts are and how friendly all the owners are." "There's...

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This Side Up: Tiz the Story of a True Magician

Nothing, it seems, will help you see through the vanity of materialism quite like a $4.1 billion fortune. A few summers ago, I was sitting alone in the baronial boardroom at Spendthrift, waiting to interview the farm's owner. It was a hot day, but here all was panelled cool, the venerable furnishings slumbering through the prosperous drone of a lawnmower. I was thinking about this apt conflation of heritage and modernity when startled by the entry of a tanned octogenarian whose casual apparel, in the round, must have cost rather...

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KY Committee Unlikely To Recommend Tax Increase for HHR Machines

A special legislative committee charged with studying the taxes and rates paid by Kentucky racetracks, including the tax rates on profits from Historical Horse Racing (HHR) machines, seems set on recommending the status quo rather than a tax increase. That's good news for the state's racing and breeding industries, which have flourished since HHR machines were introduced in the state some ten years ago. The Pari-Mutuel Wagering Taxation Task Force met Monday and the meeting turned into something of a cheerleading session for the sport, its economic impact and the...

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KTFMC Meeting: Labor Crisis in the Thoroughbred Industry

LEXINGTON, KY-The ongoing labor crisis in the Thoroughbred industry was the focal point of discussion at the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club's monthly meeting, which was held on Tuesday and brought in a large audience for a discussion on the talk. A panel of five industry participants and educators was on hand to give their perspective on the history of the issue and how the situation has worsened over time. They also spoke on projects currently in the works that have potential to bring in skilled labor and shared their...

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Destination Lexington: What's New on the Food Scene

The 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale is just around the corner and soon, buyers from around the globe will be scouring the expansive sales grounds in search of their next star. Such intense scrutiny of the thousands of impressive yearlings at the annual auction is sure to work up an appetite, and thankfully the culinary scene in Lexington is vibrant with a diverse group of restaurants that can appeal to any palate. For many visitors, it will be their first time in town in two years, so we paid a...

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KY Shippers To Maryland Won't Face Return Restrictions

Kentucky-based horses that ship to Maryland for this week's GI Preakness S. and supporting races will no longer face health-related return restrictions when they try to re-enter the state, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture announced Monday. According to a press release issued by the agency, "Effective Monday, May 10, [the] Office of State Veterinarian rescinds restrictions on horses originating from both Pimlico and Laurel. All horses from these facilities that meet the standard health requirements for Kentucky tracks and training centers (including EHV1 vaccination, 72-hour Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, and...

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Arrest Made in Bourbon County Animal Cruelty Case

Xavier McGrapth, who is the operator of McGrapth Breaking and Training and Whispering Creek Thoroughbreds, was arrested Tuesday by the Bourbon County Sheriff's office, it was announced Wednesday. The sheriff's office released a brief statement Wednesday, which read "On the afternoon of April 13, 2021, Xavier McGrapth who is a suspect in an active investigation involving Equine in Bourbon County came into the Bourbon Sheriff's Office for an interview. Upon conclusion of the interview McGrapth was arrested on an active warrant that was tied to the same case. The Bourbon...

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Slack Buys Kilflynn Farm

Florida businessman, Robert Slack, founder of Robert Slack, LLC, a Florida real estate brokerage, purchased Kilflynn Farm on Winchester Rd. near Paris, Kentucky. The 417-acre farm, formerly owned by Denis Brosnan, was originally part of Stone Farm. Joe Riddell of the Riddell Smith Group at Rector Hayden Realtors handled the sale. "I have been interested in a farm in Kentucky for many years, and when this one became available, I finally took the plunge, and I am excited to be in the same neighborhood as Claiborne, Machmer Hall, Hidden Brook,...

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Prime Factor Puts Two Hearts Farm Back in the Spotlight

Tony Braddock's Two Hearts Farm made quite a few headlines back in 2015 when their mare Fioretti (Bernardini) marked herself as a Breeders' Cup contender with wins in the Roxelana S. and GII TCA S. With that mare now retired to the Two Hearts Farm broodmare band, talented sophomore Prime Factor (Quality Road) has put his breeder back in the spotlight and looks to add another feather to Braddock's cap Saturday in the GII Fountain of Youth S. Braddock was interested in horses and racing from a young age, attending...

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For Stallion Cap Protectionism Lesson, Read Kentucky's Tobacco Leaves

Lexington native Frank Penn raised both Thoroughbreds and tobacco for the better part of 50 years at Pennbrook Farm, his 300-acre spread out on Mt. Horeb Pike. Based on that experience, he has some words of caution for the bloodstock industry as it enters a new era of protectionism with The Jockey Club's recent rule change limiting to 140 the number of mares a stallion can cover, starting with foals of 2020. In short, Penn said, the Thoroughbred industry should read Kentucky's now-withered tobacco leaves to glean a lesson in...

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KY Governor Signs HHR Legislation

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed a bill on Historical Horse Racing (Senate Bill 120) Monday, which would assure that betting on historical machines is legal. The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky's equine economic advocate, released the following statement in response: "We thank Governor Beshear for signing Senate Bill 120 into law, which ensures the future of our equine industry while protecting thousands of local jobs. Kentuckians and the legislators who represent them have made clear that they support historical horse racing and the many benefits it brings to our...

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Vote on HHR By Full KY House Could Come Thursday

A vote on the fate of historical horse race (HHR) gaming in Kentucky by the full House of Representatives could come as early as Thursday after lawmakers Wednesday morning continued to fast-track the "emergency" Senate bill to legalize the slot machine-like form of betting by defining "pari-mutuel wagering" to include previously run races. About 17 hours after SB 120 passed the full Kentucky Senate by a 22-15 vote, the proposal sailed through the House Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations Committee Feb. 10. Representative Adam Koenig (R-Erlanger), who chairs that committee,...

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