Pre-Derby talk to Lexington Rotarians includes focus on race and Keeneland’s upgrade project

Originally published by WEKU.

It is certainly the horse racing season in the Commonwealth. Saturday’s 150th running of the Kentucky Derby follows the 100th running of the Bluegrass Stakes last month at Keeneland. Lexington Rotarians got their annual Thoroughbred racing update Thursday.

Before longtime radio broadcaster and horse racing expert Tom Leach gave his picks for the Derby, Keeneland President Shannon Arvin briefed club members on the Lexington track’s $93 million construction project. Whenever there’s work done, Arvin says the question comes, ‘are you gonna mess up it up?’ She said steps are being taken to keep some of the old literally in the new building.

“It will be the same stone. Not just the same kind of stone. The same stone. We were able to save 80% of the stone from the ad min building that we took down,” said Arvin.

Arvin said two more meets will be held before projected completion in the fall of 25. As for Leach’s picks for Derby 150, he offered up “Just a Touch”, “Fierceness”, and “Sierra Leone,” which was Arvin’s sole pick

Stu Johnson

Lexington longtime sports announcer and horse racing expert Tom Leach before Lexington’s Rotary Club 05-02-24

The annual pre-Derby visit before Rotarians provides an opportunity for questions. Arvin fielded one about how the federal Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Authority is working. Arvin said HISA officials have stubbed their toes a couple of times, but every time been willing to listen to people in the racing industry.

 Afterward, the Keeneland CEO said there’s more work between HISA and the horsemen and the states to change the culture with rowing in the same direction.

“Every day they’re improving their practices. They are getting more qualified Vets to be doing the samples, taking the samples, and evaluating our horses.”

Arvin also talked about how the construction project at Keeneland; will mean 14 hundred more seats and get visitors closer to the saddling stall.

** WEKU is working hard to be a leading source for public service, and fact-based journalism. Monthly supporters are the top funding source for this growing nonprofit news organization. Please join others in your community who support WEKU by making your donation.

Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.