The KHRC is composed of 15 voting members appointed by the governor and three members who serve by virtue of being cabinet secretaries. The KHRC staff is headed by an executive director. KHRC personnel are located at a main office at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, as well as at the racetracks when there is a live meet.
The five thoroughbred and three standardbred racetracks in Kentucky are licensed by the KHRC and race dates are awarded every year. All persons who participate in horse racing activities in Kentucky must receive a license from the commission.
The KHRC employs a chief state steward and presiding judge who have immediate supervision and control over racing at each licensed meet. The chief racing veterinarian, also an employee of the KHRC, supervises the operations of the test barn at each racetrack to ensure that urine and blood samples are properly collected and transported to the testing laboratory. The samples are tested for regulated and prohibited medications on equine athletes to ensure the integrity of horse racing in Kentucky. Prior to racing, the official veterinarians monitor each horse for soundness and racing fitness to ensure the health and safety of every horse, jockey and driver. Enforcement personnel of the KHRC investigate violations of laws as they pertain to horse racing.
The KHRC also oversees several funds related to racing. The commission manages breeders’ incentive funds for thoroughbred, standardbred and non-race breeds. In addition, a five-member advisory committee advises and assists the KHRC with the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund, which supplements purses in Kentucky thoroughbred racing. The Kentucky Standardbred Development Fund is used to promote races and to provide purses for races sired by stallions standing in Kentucky. The Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council makes recommendations to the commission on drug research and testing research in Kentucky and the use of money from the Kentucky Equine Drug and Research Fund. The commission also monitors the Backside Improvement Fund, which is used to improve the condition of the backside at thoroughbred tracks.
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