A unique advertising campaign has been undertaken by the Kentucky Equine Education Project to alert drivers to competition faced by the Thoroughbred industry from other states.
"Welcome to New York, Horse Capital of the World," reads a billboard in Louisville, Ky. that is part of KEEP's campaign. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal
, eight to 10 such billboards will be placed in Louisville and Lexington and several more in the state capital of Frankfort.
The billboard's mention of New York is in reference to the success of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Funny Cide, who was conceived in Kentucky but foaled in New York. New York offers a fund for state-bred horses, an incentive Kentucky does not.
Claria Horn Shadwick, KEEP's executive director, wouldn't disclose the cost of the billboards, but said they are part of the group's goal of educating the state about the economic importance of horses in Kentucky, according to the Courier-Journal
"It's an extension of KEEP's educational phase, which is to make the point pretty forcefully and bluntly that our state can't take the industry for granted," Shadwick said. "We're the horse capital of the world, but we're not doing anything to protect it."
Shadwick said the billboards will be along interstate highways and other major roads.
KEEP has 4,300 members representing nearly all breeds of horses. According to the Courier-Journal
, the organization's board is not expected to take a stance on expanded gambling legislation during the General Assembly, although chairman Brereton Jones has said it might back other measures that could aid the industry.