Phillips Named to Kentucky Racing Commission

The owner of Darby Dan Farms replaces John Ward Jr., the new executive director.

Darby Dan Farms owner John Phillips has been appointed to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission as a replacement for John Ward Jr., who recently was hired as executive director of the regulatory agency.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear announced the appointment May 2.

“John is a third-generation horseman who understands and is committed to our priorities of safety and integrity in this sport.” Beshear said in a release. “He brings a wealth of community and industry knowledge to the post, and his experience operating the legendary Darby Dan Farms is unmatched.”

Phillips will serve for the remainder of Ward’s unexpired term, which ends July 1, 2014.

Phillips, an attorney, is a member of The Jockey Club and has served as a board member for Breeders’ Cup, the Gluck Equine Research Center, and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. He also was on the executive committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association board, and the communications committee of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

“I am very excited to become part of an excellent horse racing commission that has already made great strides in improving the integrity of this sport,” Phillips said. “There are many important issues before us, and I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners as we continue seeking ways to maintain our status as the Horse Capital of the World.”

The KHRC at its next meeting later in May is expected to vote again on a proposal to begin the phase-out of the race-day medication furosemide, also known as Salix or Lasix. In April, when the 15-member commission was one member short because Ward’s spot hadn’t been filled, the panel voted 7-7 on the Salix issue, meaning it failed to pass.

A modified proposal by KHRC member Tom Ludt was tabled at the last meeting but is expected to resurface.