Does the KY Legislature Really Understand Racing?

It was a cringe moment, and not the first.

During his June 22 presentation before the Kentucky Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee, David Edmunds of the Family Foundation, in an attempt to show how bad gaming is, discussed how casino owner Louis DeNaples lost his license in Pennsylvania. Edmunds associated DeNaples with horse racing and called his operation the "Mt. Airy racetrack."

Wrong on both counts. Mt. Airy is a resort in the Pocono Mountains. DeNaples has nothing to do with racing in Pennsylvania.

Edmunds also failed to mention DeNaples lost his license temporarily. He was indicted for lying to investigators about mob ties, but the charges were dropped in April.

Earlier this year, during a hearing in the Kentucky House Licensing and Occupations Committee, The Innovation Group, working on behalf of the horse industry, gave out incorrect information pertaining to where Kentucky's tax rate on gaming fits in with other states.

In both cases, not one legislator questioned the mistakes. Not one legislator appeared to even know they were mistakes. Yet, votes were taken on public policy based on this information.

On June 22, Republican Sen. Charlie Borders, who voted against sending legislation to authorize racetrack VLTs to the Senate floor, said all 138 members of the General Assembly are committed to helping Kentucky's horse industry. The only plan he discussed is one that would increase taxes to support purses.

The Senate unanimously passed legislation to increase the pari-mutuel tax on out-of-state wagers. In effect, it would raise takeout, thus increasing the tax on bettors, a racing industry no-no. It also would put Kentucky tracks at a disadvantage in the simulcast marketplace.

Legislators probably don't know that, but they should if they are going to vote on such a plan.

I can count on two hands the number of legislators I've seen at Turfway Park in the past five years. Turfway races about 110 days a year and basically carries the year-round circuit in Kentucky. Start taking away pieces of that, and the dominoes start falling.

Maybe members of the General Assembly need to visit the place for some hands-on experience. Maybe they need to talk to horsemen and others who rely on Turfway and other tracks for year-round employment. 

It wouldn't hurt, because clearly they need an education on the issues and the facts. Maybe it's time for a legislative horse industry summit. We need to find out just how important the horse industry is to Kentucky--in both houses of its legislature.

48 Comments

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aspradling

It is amazing the misinformation that people work on and how they don't take time to learn both sides of the argument beyond face value.

23 Jun 2009 10:19 AM
jed_dog

If our Senator's fail to understand the states signature industry, I cringe to think how they handle other issues.  They should be fired come next election!  And they shouldn't bother trying to find a job in the horse industry.

23 Jun 2009 10:42 AM
Cangamble

This is what happens when the Religious Right sticks its nose in.

If it is that important that they live in a theocracy, they should all pick up and move to a middle eastern country.

23 Jun 2009 10:57 AM
Shawn P

The most ludicrous statement coming out of the Senate Panel that voted this down is the fact that 'gambling' creates so many issues. Uhhh what is betting on horses, lottery, Bingo? Guess the tobacco industry and whiskey distilleries are signs of moral standards??? Gambling is gambling, get real. The guy running the whole deal is from a very small representation of the KY population. Sad.

23 Jun 2009 11:03 AM
azeri77

VLTs have been around quite a while now.  I remember 10 years ago Fort Erie Racetrack lost VLTS (which they later gained) to Niagara Falls.  At that time, there was abundance of research that shows tracks with VLTs floursish while those that dont, essentially suffer and die.  That research has to be even more powerful todat when adjacent states offer VLTs.  Kentucky is horse racing and seeing 6 horse fields at Churchill is disappointing because and jackass senators are hurting their state but not getting with the program.  Has any of this research been shown.  Penn National, Mountaineer (one of the first successes, Woodbine, recently Indiana Downs and Hoosier and the many other tracks that turned it around with VLTs.  Senators, get your heads out of your keisters and save the industry before its too late!!!

23 Jun 2009 11:05 AM
Frank J.

Nice one Mr. Edmunds, I live in Northeast PA, not far from Mt.Airy CASINO, not racetrack, and yes he temporarily lost his license and has since resigned his position and has since turned all power over to his daughter who holds the license as of now. He has zero to do with horse racing of any kind in PA. What a crock of misinformation!

23 Jun 2009 11:09 AM
JimboScully

The only thing you can to do influence Legislators is to hit them where it hurts - the voting stalls. I've heard several politicians concede that they don't want to vote 'for gambling' because it might hurt their political future down the line. However, the horse industry needs to publicly identify the Senators who voted against this measure and make sure this information is broadcast publicly the next time they are up for re-election. I can't imagine a more powerful tool in this state than to characterize them as ones who wouldn't allow horse racing in Kentucky to compete fairly with neighboring states - with no added expense to taxpayers no less.

Shame on those largely Republican Legislators for politicizing an effort to help grass-root farmers in Kentucky. It disgusts this Lexington-based Republican to my core.

23 Jun 2009 11:10 AM
LACS70

I thought for sure that this would be passed, but it sounds like politics and fundamentalism has gotten in the way of saving one of Kentucky's largest industries(the other one is illegal, so I wont say what it is!)

I live in Ohio, where the horseracing industry is also suffering. Gov. Strickland has approved the go ahead to pursue the issue of slots at race track, and I am all for it. Our local tracks, Lebanon(Harness)Raceway and River Downs are struggling to keep afloat, and many agree that in order for them to be competitive, they need what the tracks in West Virginia and Indiana have access to.  

23 Jun 2009 12:33 PM
FSF

Cangamble is absolutely right! Republicans at all levels of elected government seem hell bent on passing legislation that works against the self interests of their supposed constituency. The only problem is that that supposed constituency doesn't seem to care. I hope that the men and women most impacted by this legislation in this state remember this vote in the next election and vote in new legislators who will actually represent their best interests, not some religious-based rhetoric that is so incredibly disconnected from the reality of individual lives.

23 Jun 2009 12:38 PM
Zookeeper

California does not allow slots at racetracks either. Result: Bay Meadows is a pile of rubbles and Hollywood Park will soon follow suit.

Politicians only care about re-election. The horse racing industry and fans don't carry enough weight (votes) here in Calif. Is it the same in Kentucky?

Are enough voters dependent on (or supporters of) the racehorse industry to vote "yes" on this issue? If not...I shudder at the consequences.

23 Jun 2009 12:42 PM
jrstark

Politics is not pretty.  Listen to the various legislative debates live, both state and federal.  There are easily disproved, flat out lies spoken.  It is blatant.

23 Jun 2009 1:15 PM
Ange

We had these issues here in Vancouver for years and years. We didn't get the vote allowing us to install slots until about 3 years ago, and then we had a bunch of whiners in the neighbourhood launch a lawsuit trying to say that the City was wrong in awarding them, we finally installed the darn things last summer. And it's hurt us, bad. There were so many other locations that already had slots before us that we haven't been able to build a big base of regular players as they had already found somewhere else to go. It sounds to me like these US representatives have their heads up their butts. I fear for the future of horse racing in Kentucky.

23 Jun 2009 1:16 PM
Karatlam

You tell them!  I hope that if any members of the Kentucky Legislature monitor this site and its information that they all realize now how foolish they look for not making sure they had all the CORRECT facts before taking on an issue that will effect so many of Kentucky's citizens and its "signature" industry.

23 Jun 2009 2:00 PM
Speedball

Having worked in the medical field my entire adult life, I probably agree with what this Family Foundation is saying about the pitfalls of gambling and addiction problems, although I must admit I haven't read their statement; however, the survival of an entire industry and a vital part of Ky's economy seems to be at stake here. If they want to talk about family problems they need to think about the families that will be out of work if this industry collapses.  In my opinion, if someone has an addiction problem whether it be drugs, alcohol, or gambling, they are going to pursue their addiction until they receive treatment.  Adding video gaming at Ky's tracks is certainly not going to create a problem that they don't already have.  If they're worried about problems in Ky, they haven't seen anything folks until they see Ky's most valued industry go down the tubes.  I hope these legislators wake up before it's too late!!

23 Jun 2009 2:13 PM
shesfast

 Unfortunately bad calls and misinformation happen all the time. This situation is just an example of how parties twist and misinform voters and decision makers to get what someone else wants to happen. I want to puke whenever someone sighs and accepts that "that's just politics." The people of America need to stop being sheep to the government and state and be people.

 Not that anyone here is interested as it sits way out in left field and doesn't belong on a horse racing blog, but has anyone heard of the Lower Snake River dams in southeastern Washington? Politicians and such want to breach these dams...especially representatives from Idaho. These four dams do everything that they can to ensure the safest fish passage possible...example barging fish to estuary past dams, specially fish passageways for both juvenile and adult salmon...HOWEVER not a single dam on the same river system upstream into Idaho has any kind of fish passage. This has caused extinction of wild salmon species above these dams by blocking off natural spawning grounds. If any dams are breached the dams in Idaho on the Snake and North Fork of the Clearwater should be the first to go. These hydroelectric dams do not even produce as much power as the four lower Snake River Dams. It is sad how real facts are twisted and non biologists that know nothing of ocean going fish species and their biology make these decisions.

 Very much so like Mr. Edmunds and his cronies.

23 Jun 2009 3:00 PM
JD

The irony is if the issue is morality David Williams and the Family Foundation should be advocating State sponsored treatment for problem gamblers as the vast majority of states already do today.  Ky is one of the few that doesn't.  I guess they think the internet is a fad and online gambling doesn't exist since it is illegal.    Based on the screams of the WTO to force the US to reverse its ban on internet gambling, Barney Frank has said he will reverse the law.  With gambling an online click away for every Ky citizen, I am sure we will feel good about running our signature industry into the ground.  

23 Jun 2009 3:01 PM
joe

A former professor of mine was a long time GOP activist; he got the boot from his own party-leadership role because he didn't meet the standards of these right wing religious groups.  'Shame that the party of Lincoln-a man who struggled in faith amid tragedy-sells out blindly to these pontificating hypocrites of the religious right.

23 Jun 2009 3:13 PM
Shawn P

Speedball, it would make sense if not for the fact that they already HAVE numerous forms of gambling. They already HAVE access to casino style gambling,just across the river.

A state which relies on horse racing, lottery for education, tobacco, whiskey, has Bingo etc is suddenly gaining a conscience? Which are the lesser of the evils here?

What would the Family Foundation suggest? The state which is 49th in drawing new industry? Have an entire population mirroring the very poorest, (who, by the way, don't go much of anywhere, let alone a race track) because the trickle down from lost revenue of race trackers devastates their already fragile economy?

My Dad is a Dr. Like he says you can't save most people from themselves. You can counsel them not to smoke, not to drink, to lose weight, exercise stay away from that which is harmful to them.

MOST won't even listen to that advice let alone act on it.

There is partisan politics in play here, plain and simple. A dangerous game, a power play and a p***ing contest. At the point the citizens can vote them out or do something else it'll be too late.

By the way do you know what % of the population Williams represents?

Miniscule #'s.

23 Jun 2009 3:31 PM
Ted from LA

Kentucky legislators are playing Russian Roulette only they have 6 bullets in the chamber instead of just one.  How can they not see the writing on the wall with the horse racing industry?  Will the last horse leaving Kentucky please kick off the lights?

23 Jun 2009 5:01 PM
Kristin

As a worker in this industry, it enrages me to see others who know virtually nothing about it decide its and perhaps my future. These guys need to get their heads out of their rears, quit playing party lines and buckle down and take care of Kentucky's top industry before it's too late.

23 Jun 2009 5:14 PM
da3hoss

Oh happy day, politics and religion bashing on a horse blog.

Why didn't anyone correct the wrong information Williams had? Has anyone from the racing industry sat down with the Family Foundation to discuss their concerns and perhaps find mutual ground? Are you telling me no one knew that family advocacy groups would be there?

Hard to tell a religious family group to "go back to where you came from"...that'd be the Colonists...and the King...and that pesky battle for right to religious beliefs and "the Free Exercise Thereof"...

What you need is some of those pesky religious thoroughbred people to help open the dialogue!

PS You know, religious groups pick up and help a lot of people get back on their feet when everyone else has given up on them...including addicts of all kinds, you can't blame them for being leery of an industry known for its not always positive effects on people.

23 Jun 2009 5:21 PM
CRob87

As an Ohioan, all I can say is...Woo-Hoo.  

At least for now I think Ohio just dodged a bullet.  

And also...Sorry about your luck Kentucky because I really thought it would Pass easily there.

For a while there I was starting to see Ohio as the Alamo.   About to be completely surrounded by all 5 states with gambling and us being the only state without it.

So again...Sorry about your luck Kentucky, but Ohioans are hurting far worse than you.

23 Jun 2009 6:15 PM
Shamfan49

Four Ronald Reagan quotes just to show that there once were Republicans who got it:

1) I've often said there's nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.

2) The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would steal them away.

3) The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.

4) Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem."

23 Jun 2009 6:52 PM
pg303

and how about this:  the small group of politicians who derailed this train apparently feel they need to "save" us from the evils of slots, but then they turn around and want to raid a state pension plan instead?  Is that even legal? Have they lost all common sense and reason? Unbelievable.  

23 Jun 2009 8:11 PM
Curlin

    Unfortunately, I fear it will take tracks like Ellis Park and Turfway Park closing their doors for good to make the point that VLTs are needed to help keep racing alive in this state.  Then again, most KY senators won't care because they will still have a job.  Each individual senator is supposed to represent the best interests of their district or at least that's the idea when they're elected.  However, Sen. Kerr from Lexington is very opposed to VLTs.  Are you kidding me?  One of the biggest employers (horse racing industry) in her district is in desparate need of help and she is opposed to the idea of VLTs.  Bottom line is, it's going to take either some officials being voted out of office or a state amendment being placed on the ballot in order to get VLTs in Kentucky.  How sad is it that racetracks in the supposed "Horse Racing Capital of the World" have to ask for a reduction in live racing days because they are losing horsemen and horses to states like Indiana & West Virginia because of, you guessed it, purse increases due to VLTs?  Those states are largely Republican as well, yet legislation was still passed to allow VLTs at their racetracks.  It's absolutely pathetic.

    VLTs will raise money for more than just the horse racing industry.  I think that is what some of our elected officials in Kentucky are failing to truly realize.  How hypocritical is it when government refuses to pass a bill allowing VLTs to raise money for the horse racing industry and other programs in the state because they don't want to "prey" on the state's "vulnerable" citizens, then turned around and make proposals to raise money for the horse racing industry that raise taxes?  I guess they'll get the money one way or another.  Can you imagine the amount of revenue that would be raised for the horse racing industry and all the other programs in the state that would benefit from VLTs on Kentucky Oaks day, Kentucky Derby day or the years when Churchill hosts the Breeders alone?  Those days historically attract some of the biggest crowds at thoroughbred racing events in North America.  Isn't it something like 5 of the 6 largest crowds in Breeders Cup history were when it was hosted by Churchill Downs?  Hell, on Kentucky Derby day, between the Woodford and Derby people have almost 2 hours to kill.  What better way to pass the time, lol.  

    Then I love those in government who are saying VLTs will hurt the horse racing industry because people will choose to spend their dollar on slot machines instead of parimutuel wagering.  WOW!  You're still going to have the same people who wager on horse racing today, wager on horse racing when VLTs are in place at racetracks.  That won't change.  You'll attract a more people to the track that usually wouldn't be there just so they can put their nickel in the slot machine.  Obviously that leads to an eventual increase in purses because of the gained revenue.  Increase the purses and the horsemen stay around which means more than just the 6 or 7 horse fields we've become accustomed to at Churchill Downs these days.  Increase the field sizes and it peaks the horse players interest.  Increased field sizes, in general, lead to better odds, which is what all horse players want.  I mean what do you want as a horse player, a horse you like who is 5/2 because they're in a 6 horse field or that same horse who goes off at 6-1 or better because they're in a 11 or 12 horse field?

    In retrospect, VLTs need to become part of Kentucky racetracks.  They'll will benefit a wide demographic, not just the horse racing industry.  I understand the feeling that you want to "look out" for the vulnerable citizens of Kentucky, but then again, they are adults.  It's a catch-22.  Without VLTs, you're not looking out for other vulnerable citizens, like horsemen, who need the increase in purses to keep they're livelihood in tact.  This was a nice little article Tom.

23 Jun 2009 8:32 PM
rowner

I am so tired of governments trying to legislate morality, telling me how I should spend my money.

23 Jun 2009 10:03 PM
Karen in Indiana

I don't think any of this matters when this is an industry that is not so outraged at Ernie Paragallo that he is held to the highest accountability. His hearing yesterday was postponed for the second time with an undisclosed date 'sometime in late July' set for the next hearing. How can someone like that be allowed to do what trainers with drug violations are allowed to do - postpone and postpone until people quit thinking about it and then let it slide? I'm mad as hell about that.

23 Jun 2009 11:00 PM
Alfred Nuckols, Jr.

I was present at the committee hearings yesterday afternoon and was truly amazed by how the advocates for HB 2 put up facts, figures and projections while the opponents had nothing but speculation and conjecture to offer.

It was not a fair hearing as Senator Shaughnessey pointed out. Those originally opposed to the Bill did nothing but distort or misinterpret the facts presented by those supporting the Bill without any attempt to truly understand the underlying issues.

I was extremely shocked by the total lack of understanding of the horse industry by those Senators in opposition to HB 2. If I was voting on the survival of the signature industry of my Commonwealth, I would certainly make sure that I truly understand their needs and what this legislation would or would not accomplish. It was purely a charade put up by those with a fear of David Williams and what might happen to their political committee appointments if they did not follow party lines. I really respect Senator Buford for crossing party lines. I do not understand Senator Kerr's vote as she read a statement from one of her constituents stating that her job was to represent them and not vote her personal feelings about the issue. I cannot imagine a representative not voting the feeling of her constituents when that is why she was elected in the first place and she is from the district representing Keeneland, Calumet, Gainesway, Overbrook, Juddmonte, Darley and other major nurseries.

One thing I would like to know is if Senator Williams has every received any contributions or PAC funds from the casino and riverboat operators in Indiana and/or Illinois. If he has, I think that he should recuse himself and disclose this conflict of interest.

Without a year-round racing circuit in Kentucky, smaller training operations will be forced out of business, Kentucky-breds will not have as much market value and the smaller farms will be forced out of business because of a lack of demand for their Kentucky-bred product. Keeneland sales will also suffer, resulting in less commissions which will mean a drop in Keeneland purses as well. Churchill Downs has already cut dates and purses and the likelihood of a public corporation dipping into their profits from operations in other states and their racino operations is nil because they are all about the bottom line.

As I see it, the horse business in Kentucky as been dealt a tremendously hard blow. Can we survive until our legislature authorizes alternative gaming? I have always been an optimist because I have had to be to survive in this industry. But I am afraid that now they have put us too far behind other jurisdictions that are actively supporting their breeding and racing industries. Without a year-round racing circuit and a decreasing demand for Kentucky-bred thoroughbreds, I see a large demand for horse vans heading out of Kentucky.

23 Jun 2009 11:03 PM
EBlythe

BRAVO JimboScully! Your Dad would have been proud.

24 Jun 2009 2:15 AM
Bellwether

THE WW2 CROWD HAS BEEN HOLDING THIS NATION BACK SINCE 1945...THIS MY FRIENDS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE...THE STEWARTS OF OUR NATIONAL TREASURE HAVE BEEN ASLEEP @ THE WHEEL...LONG LIVE THE KING!!!...

24 Jun 2009 2:39 AM
Jim P

Racing and the Thoroughbred industry are the only ones who can correct this. When I worked in child welfare we made sure we set down with every legislator and we also got legislators to every office across the state and to multiple events. You have to work your butt off. There is no "easy button". If they don't know, educate them.

24 Jun 2009 3:03 AM
Soldier Course

The State of Maryland finally sat up and took notice when word began to spread that its prominent horse farm owners were seen shopping around for real estate in Pennsylvania with a view to relocating their operations.

There's not enough time left to "settle this in the voting booth".

24 Jun 2009 8:54 AM
MikeM

Of course they received PAC money.That's what their opposition is all about. Politicians (both parties)first and foremost act in their own best interest.

24 Jun 2009 9:22 AM
Smarty1217

Do they not realize that the horse industry is a huge part of Kentucky's industry? If they kill the VLT bill, they're nearly killing the racing industry, which as I said, is a big part of the state's industry.

24 Jun 2009 9:52 AM
Ray Chatsworth

1) I'm shocked...SHOCKED, I say, to hear politicians are idiots.

2) Don't get caught up in what goes on in legislative hearings. It's all theater. David Williams told you what was going to happen anyway before the hearings even started.

3) Why the concern about the demise of a year-round circuit in Kentucky. Lexington has always been dependent on exporting their product to other racing centers. The Big Time breeders of Central Kentucky aren't going anywhere if Ellis Park closes.

4) Those of us in the industry just have to get our minds wrapped around the fact that Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will be the places where minor league racing will take place instead of Turfway and Ellis. Bad news if you work there, but racing fans haven't been going to these places anyway.

5) VLT's are subsidies for small-time horsemen and racetracks. It would be nice to get the handout - and I've been close to operations at racinos in other places - but they don't save the game. Gulfstream and Oaklawn are the two places where racing remains vibrant thanks to slots. They both have short meets. Delaware, Presque Isle and Mountaineer are just factories where horsemen punch the time clock and get paid.

6) This opinion still doesn't change the fact that no single political figure should have the emperor-like power over a single industry that employs so many and produces real, primary source tax revenue. They had a similar situation in Massachusetts - and the last two guys in that post were both forced to resign under threat of indictments. So maybe there's hope...

7) I'm hoping my state senator has the guts to stop by my house during his next campaign the way he did last October. I will invite him in, show him my family and all my racing photos. Then I will ask him why he didn't show up for the committee vote.

8) I wonder if the senators from Bowling Green and Georgetown thought it would be a good idea to help GM and Toyota by taxing every other kind of car not made in Kentucky.

24 Jun 2009 10:29 AM
Shawn P

You people are on the outside looking in for the most part.

You cannot sit down and speak with some of these people. They bow down to special interest groups and they may even KNOW the correct information, they choose to overlook it. How many times have we seen that in our country?

Those of you who keep dragging all the issues that are isolated or not truly relevant to THIS particular issue are poser's as fans of racing. THIS is NOT the time to attack from within. This will devastate a state and our signature industry. I think it should be considered what domino effect might occur when a state that is built around the industry may not even have that industry.

belleweather? The 1945 etc, ignorant trying to push your own agenda in here. Besides the only Stewart that I know in racing is Dallas and Stewie Elliot. Now if you're speaking about the stewardship, maybe we need a 20 something leader in the industry. Not enough action for most of us that age. The old guard has really fallen by the wayside in the last 10 years. The guys with the violations and the issues people keep trying to interject? They are 40 something guys who have NOTHING to do with the old guard. Too Bad.

You have some kind of promotional firm for Horse Racing? Maybe THAT is what's wrong with it.

24 Jun 2009 10:41 AM
berttheclock

His answer was "That's a qualified yes"  So, what is your qualification?

St Ronny, also, said that "If you've seen one red wood tree, you've seen 'em all"  and he thought trees caused smog.  Yeah, some of the brightest did go into business instead of government.  How has that Wall Street mess turned out?  St Ronny may have like to ride horses, but, it was a Democrat, Ken Maddy, who moved California racing forward by passing a series of measures which created and expanded the system of off track betting and inter and intra state betting.  The expansion came in short steps.  It seemed to take forever to bring the tracks, the horsemen and the unions together to realize all would benefit.  Of course, it, also, took forever, to dump the old 5 dollar minimum exacta bet.  The Sport of Kings often moves at a snail pace.  However, observing the right wing religious politicos at work in Kentucky, makes me think of that great comment from an Aussie, which said, "Thank Whomever, that we got the convicts and America got the Puritans"

24 Jun 2009 11:14 AM
Ange

For those of you who think that gambling shouldn't be allowed, wake up! Why should the majority of us who don't have an addicition to gambling, alchohol, drugs, food, etc be denied these things because the vast majority of the population can't control the things they do?

24 Jun 2009 12:51 PM
Tony

As Kentuckians, it is our responsibility to ensure that all state reps who helped defeat this bill be held accountable come election time.  We must make sure that this is a primary issue in their reelection attempt.  I hope the Senate AP committee is totally gone in 2 years, just as the horse industry as we know it will be.

24 Jun 2009 5:01 PM
Shawn P

Here's a newsflash Ray, it isn't just Turfway and Ellis.

Some MAJOR trainers at Churchill have already said they are going elsewhere. Did you READ what Dale had to say in the CJ?

24 Jun 2009 5:21 PM
Soldier Course

I live in South Carolina, a "family values" state with a large population of fundamental conservatives. These citizens have looked to our state politicians to represent and preserve their values. And their trust has been rewarded tonight by the lead story on the national evening news, a lurid scandal of proportions not seen before in SC in my lifetime.

Our governor Mark Sanford has admitted to having an illicit relationship with a married woman from a foreign country. Gov. Sanford is also married and has four sons; his paramour allegedly has two children. He disappeared from public view several days ago, and supposedly his wife, children, office staff, and Lt. Gov. Bauer knew nothing of his whereabouts. Father's Day came and went during this time. Sanford managed to float a ridiculous lie about walking the Appalachian Trail to clear his head after the recent legislative session. And this is just the beginning.  

I share this cautionary tale with the good people of Kentucky, and in doing so I am reminded of powerful words from a Presidential Inaugural Address of almost 50 years ago: Sincerity is always subject to proof.

24 Jun 2009 8:40 PM
Bellwether

@ the very least we get some responce...GET A REEL PROMOTOR...

25 Jun 2009 12:48 AM
Zookeeper

Soldier Course,

I used to think that politicians had the best interest of their contituents in mind. That's when I was young and naive. Years of disapointment have taught me otherwise. I now think that if their mouths are moving, they are lying. No more disapointment...only a bad taste in my mouth when I learn of another "family values" failure or, as in Kentucky, the "guardians of morality" imposing their sanctimonious attitude on the state's signature industry.  

25 Jun 2009 9:48 AM
Thomas S. Ballard

"We need to find out just how important the horse industry is to Kentucky--in both houses of its legislature."

Sadly, the answer to that question is; "It isn't." Go ahead and tell a legislator that so-and-so is taking his horses to Delaware if VLTs or gaming isn't legalized and see if he flinches. I doubt he will.

Racing isn't anywhere near the top of the list of priorities of Kentucky's politician's and anyone believing otherwise is deluded. Politicians care about votes and those not involved in the racing industry in KY by far outnumber those who are. The masses of this state aren't planning on breeding to A P Indy or any other stallion in KY next year. They're worried about their job at the auto factory or the hardware store. They don't give a hoot in hell about breeding or racing and it's those Kentuckians who are going to get the politicians re-elected. Not the horsemen. There simply aren't enough of us. We're the minority and we're being treated as such. I'm surprised any of us would believe we're going to be awarded special consideration from the legislators in light of our ranking on the proverbial food chain.

The thoroughbred industry in Kentucky is going to suffer as every other industry in the country is suffering right now. We're about to embark upon a new way of doing business- a way that's going to require creativity and ingenuity. The strong will survive while the weak fall by the wayside. We have to accept that change is no longer on the horizon- it's here, now and we have to adapt in a hurry or accept the consequences for lack of good planning and taking measures befitting the times.

25 Jun 2009 12:17 PM
Zookeeper

Thomas S. Ballard,

Thank you for answering my question about the "make up" of the voters in Kentucky.

I'm a California resident. The racehorse industry is a very small portion of our economy and does not stand a chance in the legislature or the voting booth.

If you are correct, I was under the misguided impression that Kentucky was different. WOW! What a rude awakening!

25 Jun 2009 12:50 PM
Jonnyspark

The problem with KY is that the presidents of the race tracks are the ones that have no idea how to run their own sport.

29 Jun 2009 6:34 PM
Benjamin LaRue

We need VLT's bad here in KY. Other states Horse Racing tracks across the country are getting them. I think it's silly. People say that Slots will cause more issues. I think the issues already exist. If people want to gamble in KY they already have BINGO, LOTTERY, and across the river in INDIANI  we can go to River Boat Casino’s. So the temptation is already there for Kentucky Residents that want to gamble. Why not keep the money in Kentucky. (I think that’s to easy).   Senator DAVID WILLIAMS he goes across the river to play blackjack at casinos. Why would he VOTE no. I think that he doesn’t want to be judged. Well he has been judged. Ellis Park was my place while growing up, Along with Lary Jones. Ellis park has so many childhood memories for me. Its Home, Its Family. My parents don’t know yet what there going to do with there horses. But when the pea patch closes at the end of the summer meet. I know I will shed a tear. It's been a very sad week here in KY. When and what will happen before KY gets slots?  Benjamin Henderson KY

01 Jul 2009 10:10 PM
CHECKMATE

I'm from Canada and I'm confused.

Don't people in Kentucky "gamble" on the parimutuel system at the tracks? If the politicians were consistent wouldn't they bring in legislation to discontinue parimutuel betting???That might just get thed public's attention.

You can't be morally half right can you? Unless you're a politician?

06 Jul 2009 3:35 PM

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