Keeneland President Bill Thomason

Proposed Horse Racing Reforms Gaining Traction

Oct 4, 2019
Stu Johnson

The Thoroughbred racing industry has recently come under increased public scrutiny.  An unusually high number of horse fatalities, particularly in California, along with reports of Triple Crown winner Justify testing positive in 2018 for a banned substance are causing those in horse racing to do deep reflection on a sport which dates back to the 1600’s.  It’s an issue being discussed at racetracks in Kentucky all the way to Capitol Hill.

Tracks Announce Plan To Phase Out Lasix On Race Day

Apr 18, 2019
Wall Street Journal

Leading players in the horse racing industry are announcing the phase out of Lasix on race day.  The elimination of what has been considered a performance enhancing medication will occur over the next two years.

Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said  “this issue of race day medication has been the one place that has kept us inconsistent with the rest of the world." 

Thomason said it’s an issue that’s been debated for decades within the horse racing industry.

Stu Johnson

It’s all conjecture at this point.  Trying to predict what will happen at Churchill Downs Saturday in the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby.  As WEKU’S Stu Johnson reports, some of the focus of Thursday’s Lexington Rotary Club meeting went beyond this weekend’s race.

As tradition has it, the Thursday before the Kentucky Derby finds the president of Keeneland at the Rotary Club podium.  So it was for Bill Thomason. 

Stu Johnson / WEKU News

The president of Keeneland says the long term success of the historic track hinges on being able to attract youth to the sport. 

Bill Thomason offered his annual pre-derby speech to Lexington Rotarians Thursday.  "If you attach them to the horse, then you create life-long fans," said Thomason. "That's why even if they're picnicking on the grounds, which we love to see, we do things to make sure that they have the opportunity to get up next to the racetrack to see the horses and experience it."