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Keeneland And The University Of Kentucky Partner On Innovative Initiatives

In furtherance of our commitment to equine safety and welfare, Keeneland continues its longstanding philanthropic relationship to fund ongoing research at the University of Kentucky. Keeneland has long championed UK’s goal to become an industry leader in equine safety, integrity and research, and has been an instrumental partner in both establishing and supporting equine research at UK for more than 30 years. 

Keeneland’s Support of Ongoing Equine Research at UK

Equine Analytical Chemistry Lab Provides Drug Testing of the Highest Standards

Keeneland recently gifted $1.3 million to the Keeneland Endowed Chair in Equine Veterinary Science. This gift enabled the establishment of the Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Gluck Equine Research Center, under the guidance of its internationally recognized director, Dr. Scott Stanley. The Equine Analytical Lab, chaired by Keeneland’s Vice President of Equine Safety Dr. Stuart Brown, has a mission to provide drug testing that meets the highest industry standards and helps promote the integrity of the equine industry as well as the health and welfare of the horse. The facility, which serves a diverse equine clientele that includes racing and performance disciplines, is the official lab for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and was granted full laboratory accreditation by the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium.

Keeneland officials serve active leadership roles at both the Gluck Equine Research Center and for the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium.

Messenger RNA Study at Gluck Equine Research Center Offers Exciting Potential

Keeneland, along with other racing organizations, is providing funding for a groundbreaking study being conducted at UK’s Gluck Equine Research Center titled “Pre-Race Inflammation in Catastrophically Injured Horses,” which seeks to analyze messenger RNA markers in blood samples as a way to identify racehorses at risk for catastrophic injury. Led by Dr. Allen Page, a scientist and veterinarian at UK, the study has the goal to develop mRNA technology into a practical and reliable tool that horsemen can use to improve the health and welfare of their horses. 

UK HealthCare is the Official Health Care Provider for Keeneland Race Meets

Keeneland partners with UK HealthCare to provide first aid and emergency medical services to racing participants, fans and staff during race meets.

Led by Medical Director Dr. Bryan Atkins, UK HealthCare staffs and equips Keeneland’s state-of-the-art First Aid center. A full-time physician specializing in trauma care, nursing staff and a team of paramedics are onsite each race day, providing an extension of the Level 1 trauma service available at UK HealthCare’s emergency room. Medical staff have the expertise, in the event of a racing incident, to clear jockeys to ride or transport for additional medical care.

A specially designed “chase vehicle,” developed and co-branded by Keeneland and UK HealthCare, follows horses and riders around the track during every race. The chase vehicle optimizes the efficiency and effectiveness of the coordinated response as it carries paramedics to care for a fallen rider and an expert horse handler to address the welfare of the horse in the event of an incident.

Keeneland’s onsite medical teams are supported by Lexington Fire and EMS service, which stands ready to provide transport to an injured rider if needed.

Collaboration with UK’s Sports Medicine Research Institute to Optimize Jockey Wellness

Keeneland and UK’s Sports Medicine Research Institute, with the support of the Jockeys’ Guild, is undertaking a groundbreaking project to assess and optimize jockey health and fitness. Dr. Kimberly Tumlin, Research Director for the Equestrian Athlete Initiative in the Sports Medicine Research Institute housed in the College of Health Sciences, leads a team that works with jockeys during Keeneland’s race meets to measure and track data regarding such factors as balance, fatigue and the body’s ability to absorb the rigors of daily riding and develop baseline metrics that can be applied in the field to enhance jockey wellness.

Keeneland is already incorporating information gained from this Equestrian Athlete Initiative into the existing Jockey Health Information System. In 2008, Keeneland, in association with the Jockeys’ Guild, The Jockey Club and Lexington physician and then Keeneland Medical Director Dr. Barry Schumer, created and launched the Jockey Health Information System. This technology enables emergency personnel at race tracks throughout North America to immediately access a jockey’s updated medical history in the event of an injury.