Churchill Downs Inc. announced Oct. 19 that Senior Vice President of Racing Donnie Richardson will leave the company at the end of the year.
A reason for the departure was not offered by the company in its release.
After a previous stint at the Louisville track, Richardson rejoined Churchill Downs in 1990 as the track’s stakes coordinator. Later, as senior vice president of racing for CDI, Richardson was responsible for policy development, strategy, and horsemen’s services for the company and its racing markets in Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, and Louisiana.
"Donnie has brought with him a vast knowledge of all facets of the Thoroughbred industry and has been an invaluable contributor to the company and the industry over his many years of service," said CDI President Bill Carstanjen. "Donnie worked tirelessly to build and protect the racing programs for both the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and the success of those days for many years to come will reflect his many contributions to the racing office, front office, and backside of Churchill Downs Race Track."
Richardson worked for Churchill Downs or CDI for more than 30 years. At age 14 he sold programs at the Louisville, Ky. track and in 1969 he joined the racing office as a patrol judge.
After holding racing positions at tracks throughout Kentucky, as well as racing positions at Hialeah Park and Oaklawn Park, Richardson returned to Churchill as assistant racing secretary from 1973-1978 and served as racing secretary for the extended spring meet at Churchill in 1978.
In 1979, Richardson moved out of the racing office and into a new career as a jockey’s agent, in which he guided the careers of such notable riders as Chris McCarron and Don Brumfield and veterans such as Jim McKnight, Keith Allen, Darrell Haire, Mike McDowell, Earlie Fires, and others.
Richardson, a Louisville native, has spent a lifetime around racing. His father ran the program department at Churchill Downs, Louisville’s defunct Miles Park, and the old Latonia (now Turfway Park) for more than 30 years.