The horse racing industry has been under intense scrutiny lately. As many have been feeling that the sport of horse racing is being threatened, Governor Steve Beshear made the decision that aggressive action needed to be taken to restore the integrity of the sport and to bring positive changes to racing as a whole. In his bid to renew the image of horse racing, he started with the reorganization of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, which has now been renamed to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
With this reorganization came the appointing of new members to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, of which only Thomas Gaines and Tom Ludt were retained from amongst the previous members. The member numbers have also increased from thirteen to fifteen, including representatives from the Economic Development Cabinet, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, Tourism, and the Public Protection Cabinet.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will therefore consist of Robert Beck (as Chairman), Tracy Farmer (as Vice Chairman), John T. Ward Jr, Dr. Foster Harold Northrop, Edward D. Bonnie, Elizabeth Stone Lavin, Jerry Yon, Wade Houston, Francis Thomas Conway, Michael Anthony Pitino, Frank Jones Jr., Alan Leavitt, Burr James Travis II, Tom Ludt and Thomas Gaines.
The responsibilities and the goals of the new horse racing commission have not changed. They will still uphold their duties as the regulators of racing, racing related issues and the overseeing of pari-mutuel wagering and betting. The commission will also continue to monitor breeding and work with the racing community throughout the process of steroids being banned from horse racing. With so much controversy surrounding horse racing presently, the new commission would like to be constructive in resolving issues and problems that are hampering the growth of the industry.
The reorganization of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has been criticized by some because of its timing. However, it is hoped that the new commission will continue and improve on the quality of service that was delivered by the previous Kentucky Horse Racing Authority. With dedicated members and the tireless efforts of the horse racing community to reinstate horse racing as a leading sport and industry, the future of horse racing stands a good chance of surviving the current hard times.