Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
KHRA Concludes Investigation of Churchill Downs
The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority (KHRA) and Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) have reached an agreement related to the interpretation of regulations and procedures governing the use of an assistant starter during the running of Kentucky Derby 134. Under the agreement CDI will pay an agreed administrative penalty of $15,000, but there is no admission of wrongdoing on the part of CDI.
The agreement resolves questions raised concerning CDI’s role in the hiring of an assistant starter, Clinton Beck, who handled the Steve Asmussen trained horse, Pyro, for the Derby, at Asmussen’s request. The KHRA regulations involved govern the starter’s assignment of assistant starters prior to a race.
KHRA staff interviewed witnesses and the stewards reviewed isolation tapes of Pyro being loaded into the starting gate. They concluded that there was no evidence of inappropriate behavior by Beck during the loading. They also noted that Pyro finished eighth in the Derby.
Race stewards continue to investigate the actions of Asmussen and Beck for possible violations.
“The authority is charged with maintaining the integrity of horse racing in Kentucky,” said Lisa Underwood, KHRA executive director. “We are satisfied the running of Kentucky Derby 134 was not impacted by the assignment of the assistant starter to this particular horse. This agreed administrative penalty signifies the importance the KHRA places on ensuring the process for conducting every race is fair.”
The KHRA is an independent agency of state government charged with the responsibility of regulating the conduct of horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing and related activities in Kentucky. The authority is attached to the Public Protection Cabinet for administrative purposes.