Kentucky Derby and Preakness winning jockey Calvin Borel has joined the effort to persuade state lawmakers to legalize video gambling machines at the commonwealth’s horse racing tracks.
Borel is being featured in a direct mail campaign and this radio ad sponsored by KEEP, the Kentucky Equine Education Project. KEEP says Borel is not being paid for his promotional work.
“I see signs every day out there that our industry is in trouble,” Borel says in the ad. “Horses that are here are leaving. If we don’t do something soon, our industry will leave.”
Leaders of Kentucky’s horse tracks say they’re losing business to states that can offer higher purses subsidized by expanded gambling.
KEEP says some the equine industry employs 100,000 people in Kentucky, who have an annual economic impact of $4 billion.
Governor Steve Beshear has included the issue on the call of a special legislative session that begins June 15.
Gambling opponents say the state can find other ways to help the industry without legalizing slots at racetracks.