Anne M. Eberhardt

KY Horsemen, Track Reach Out to Public

Kentucky horsemen and Turfway Park are planning a fan-focused day Oct. 2.

The Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association is teaming up with Turfway Park Oct. 2 for an interactive fan appreciation day designed to emphasize the importance of Thoroughbred racing to Kentucky.

The Kentucky HBPA voted to help finance the event, which comes at a time when Kentucky racing is struggling from gambling competition in neighboring states.

“Kentucky horse racing is rich in tradition and pageantry, and as owners and breeders we were looking for a way to showcase that,” Kentucky HBPA board member Dave England said in a statement. “What better way than a fun-filled day to interact with our fans and introduce new fans to the thrill of Kentucky racing.

“As horsemen, we’ve seen Kentucky’s grand traditions begin to erode, for reasons well documented,” England said. “We want to bring people back to the track, or introduce them for the first time to the excitement of racing. With all the events planned, fans of all ages will have great day.”

All events will be free and most will take place in a tent between the paddock and the rail. Draft beer, hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, popcorn, ice cream, and soft drinks will be offered for $1.

There will be games and events for children, and hands-on displays in the tent will include racing horseshoes, tack, and other equipment. A farrier will demonstrate the care given to racehorses’ hooves, and trainers and jockeys will be on hand to answer questions about their work and equipment.

Special guests will include Steve Cauthen, a Hall of Famer and the last jockey to win the Triple Crown; Mike Manganello, who rode Dust Commander to win the 1970 Kentucky Derby; and former locally-based jockeys Tony D'Amico, Bill Troilo, and Jeff Johnston.

The popular gelding Brass Hat will parade in the paddock before the featured ninth race. Trained by Buff Bradley, Brass Hat was based at Turfway through most of his career and owns two stakes wins at the track.

There will be various giveaways as well, including wagering vouchers and racing programs to fans that register in the tent.