Kentucky Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Beshear, speaking before an enthusiastic group of horse owners and breeders Sept. 6, said he will not only work to get a casino measure passed by the state legislature but should that happen, will travel the state to promote passage of the measure.
Beshear, who spoke in Lexington at a fundraiser hosted by horsemen, said he wants to “help ensure that the state’s signature industry remains its signature industry.”
Beshear is running against incumbent Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who has come out against casino gambling and made it the biggest issue in the November election.
The legislature would be asked to approve a constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot. Citizens of the state would then be able to vote on allowing alternative gaming in Kentucky.
Beshear recounted how a Thoroughbred trainer told him he was stabled at Churchill Downs but was vanning horses to run at Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort in West Virginia because its purses are higher. The track has video lottery terminals and soon will add table games such as blackjack.
“I understand how important the horse industry is to Kentucky,” Beshear said. “Whether that trainer wants to run at Churchill, Turfway, or Keeneland, he needs to be running for competitive purses.”
Beshear and his running mate, Rep. Daniel Mongiardo, were introduced by Brereton Jones, the former governor of Kentucky and owner of Airdrie Stud near Midway, Ky. Campaign officials said the event raised more money than any fundraiser held for Beshear, with money still coming in.
Beshear also said he is in favor of “treating horses the same as cows,” a reference to the industry’s desire to end the sales tax on items for horses, such as feed, that are not collected by the state for the same item for other agricultural purposes.