Lexington, KY (December 16, 2008) – Keeneland announced its 2008 contributions at its annual holiday luncheon today, reporting for the first time funding for community and charitable organizations as well as the association's reinvestment in equine-related initiatives.

Keeneland’s funding program is supported by profits generated through its Thoroughbred racing, sales, and simulcast operations.

In 2008, Keeneland contributed $887,739 to community programs which focus on education; health and human services; and arts, preservation, and animal welfare. To date, Keeneland has given more than $17 million to support a variety of civic initiatives in the Central Kentucky area. This year’s total includes a $200,000 “pass through” donation from Maker’s Mark Distillery to the Keeneland Foundation for the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center. Those proceeds and related matching fund efforts from the 2006-2008 Keeneland-Maker’s Mark Mile limited edition bottles will net $3 million for cancer research.

Keeneland also provided more than $1.2 million to help fund global equine research, safety and welfare, and betterment initiatives in 2008. In addition to this total, Keeneland reinvested more than $18 million in purse money during its 2008 spring and fall race meetings – $7.4 million in excess of requirements – to achieve its mission of showcasing the finest traditions of racing by attracting the world's best horses, jockeys, and trainers.

“We are fortunate at Keeneland to be able to provide financial support to a variety of programs which enrich the community and the horse industry,” said Fran Taylor, executive director of the Keeneland Foundation. “We owe our thanks to our horsemen and fans who, by supporting our racing, sales, and simulcast operations, help make these contributions possible.

“Reporting community and industry contributions is more reflective of Keeneland’s overall contribution and funding efforts, and a change from our past when we more narrowly defined our giving as community-based,” Taylor added.

Community Contributions

Keeneland contributed a total of $245,050 to education initiatives, including $90,290 to the University of Kentucky in support of its programs, colleges, and medical center. Kentucky Educational Television received $56,450, of which $50,000 is a final payment on a $250,000 pledge toward an endowment for original programming. Among other recipients were the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities ($10,000) and the Fayette County Farm Bureau ($10,000) to fund higher education scholarships; in partnership with the KTA/KTOB, $20,000 in scholarships for students attending College Scholarship Day; the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship’s Inaugural Student Congress ($10,000); the Pritchard Committee for Academic Excellence ($7,500); and Interact for Change ($5,000), which focuses on early childhood development.

Contributions to health and human service organizations accounted for $270,425, led by a donation of $50,000 to the United Way of the Bluegrass. Other contributions included payments to the Blue Grass Community Foundation ($25,000 as final payment for a three-year, $75,000 commitment to support the Kathleen Riley Torok Fund); the Lexington Hearing and Speech Center ($12,285) to purchase diagnostic equipment; and the HOPE Center ($10,000).

Keeneland gave $172,264 to civic, arts, preservation, and animal welfare programs in 2008. Lexington Strides Ahead, an economic development effort coordinated by Commerce Lexington, received $15,000. Contributions totaling

$12,114 were made to support community events administered by the LFUCG, specifically the Patriotic Concert and Christmas Chorus. Among the preservation groups to receive contributions were Fayette Alliance ($10,000); Blue Grass Trust ($7,500); Logan's Fort ($5,000); Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill ($2,500); and the McDowell House Museum ($2,500).

Arts funding was a focus this year for Keeneland with LexArts 2008 Campaign receiving $10,000. Other arts and cultural program recipients were Red Barn Radio ($6,000); WoodSong’s Old Time Radio Hour ($5,750); Kentucky Classic Theatre Conservatory ($5,000); and Downtown Lexington’s Best of the Bluegrass ($5,000).

Animal welfare groups such as the Humane Society of the United States, Lexington Humane Society, and Woodford Humane Society received grants and other funding ranging from $1,000 to $2,500.

Equine Reinvestment

Keeneland provided more than $1.2 million in financial support to various equine-related initiatives in furtherance of its mission to preserve and promote Thoroughbred racing worldwide. Recipient programs and organizations encompass a broad range of projects, including research, health and safety, marketing and promotion, charitable, and educational efforts.

Funding was provided to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association ($455,342) for programs to develop new race fans and assist in marketing Thoroughbred racing nationally; and the Kentucky Equine Education Project ($75,000) in support of organizations representing all breeds in Kentucky.

Keeneland Association made a $100,000 commitment for three years (a total of $300,000) to the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation to underwrite the equine drug research initiative. An additional $12,500 was donated to the Grayson-Jockey Club from the Keeneland Foundation.

Keeneland also contributed more than $175,000 to underwrite racing sponsorships in such international markets as Peru, the Philippines, Dubai, Australia, and Ireland.

Among other organizations to receive funding were the American Horse Council ($11,000); the Kentucky Equine Humane Center ($10,000); Horses in Hope ($10,000); the Race for Education ($6,170); the North American Racing Academy ($5,000); the Kentucky Equine Management Internship program ($5,000); Thoroughbred Charities of America ($5,000); Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center ($2,500); and Old Friends ($2,500).

Additionally, Keeneland launched an initiative in 2008 with a $10,000 investment to assist organizations involved in Thoroughbred retirement and adoption programs. Keeneland donated copies of Anna Morgan Ford’s highly acclaimed book Beyond the Track: Retraining the Thoroughbred from Racehorse to Riding Horse to more than 200 nonprofit organizations nationally whose mission is to find adoptive homes for Thoroughbreds. These organizations in turn provide free copies of the manual to individuals who adopt a Thoroughbred from their group.