KY racetracks could soon see 'historical racing'

Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY)
Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY)
Patrick Neely
Patrick Neely

Louisville, KY - By Marisela Burgos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission modified regulations that would allow historical racing at racetracks.

"The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission took important steps toward helping our state's endangered horse industry," Governor Steve Beshear said Tuesday afternoon.

That step is in the form of historical racing, basically people will have the opportunity to bet on old races and they won't know the names of the horses, jockeys, and trainers.

The Family Foundation of Kentucky is surprised by the deal.

"It's a backdoor way to simply bring casino-style gambling to Kentucky and the big winner is the government for its share and the racetracks," said Kent Ostrander, executive director of The Family Foundation of Kentucky.

Ostrander said the government isn't protecting the people of the Commonwealth. Instead, Ostrander said it is setting people up to get ripped off.

"That's a little bit like saying let's set up slot machines at 7-11 so that tobacco farmers can continue to make money even though they can't sell tobacco like they used to," said Ostrander.

Patrick Neely, who is for gaming, gives historical racing two thumbs up.

"Fundamentally it's the same thing as what you do when you go to Churchill Downs you handicap the race, you place your wager, and if you handicapped correctly then you win," said Neely.

According to Neely, this so-called instant racing has been successful for many years in Arkansas, bringing at least $3.5 million a year to purses. But what about its potential impact in the Commonwealth?

"What it does us to do is get money into purses and into Breeder's incentives in the short term and really it's going to help us stop the bleeding we hope," Neely said.

Those for expanded gaming have said more money in purses would keep horses, trainers, and the 100,000 jobs surrounding the industry here in Kentucky. But leaders with The Family Foundation of Kentucky said not so fast.

"In past five years as they've tried to expanded gaming, they have always overestimated their abilities to succeed and they have failed time after time," Ostrander said.

It is unclear when the proposed regulation could go into effect. Family Foundation of Kentucky leaders are looking at options to challenge the Horse Racing Commission's decision. We have learned the Racing Commission, along with Kentucky's racetracks, have asked for a declaratory judgment on the decision.

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