Letters to the Editor for Feb. 11, 2021
Published 10:35 am Friday, February 12, 2021
Historical horse racing ensures Kentucky’s signature industry’s future
Kentucky’s horse racing industry leads competing states in virtually every metric thanks, in large part, to the success of historical horse racing (HHR) over the past decade.
Five racetracks across the state currently feature HHR venues with two additional locations planning to open in 2021. In addition to attracting new audiences to the sport of horse racing and enhancing racetrack facilities, HHR has injected new revenue and life into Kentucky’s signature industry.
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As a result, Kentucky has built a strong racing circuit offering competitive purses year-round and incentives to breed and race more horses in the commonwealth.
Since 2000, my horse racing operation has won 2,215 races and employs over 40 people. On September 1 alone, we had a choice to race in over 30 racetracks in the U.S. hosting live racing, including Saratoga Racetrack in Saratoga Springs, NY. However, my top horses were not racing at Saratoga or any of the other tracks around the country that day. They were at Kentucky Downs in Franklin, KY.
HHR has allowed Kentucky racetracks to offer the best purses in the country, if not the hemisphere. That’s why more and more owners and trainers are choosing to race in Kentucky rather than in New York and California.
As Kentucky’s racing circuit has grown stronger, we’ve been able to keep more horses, trainers, breeders and industry activity here at home, while drawing new activity to our state at the same time. That’s good for our economy and good for Kentucky.
I am writing to express appreciation for a special resident of Jessamine County, and for the faithful, hard work he has done in Career Technical Education for our students and community. I’m not a lifelong resident of Jessamine County, but have lived in several other towns similar in size and culture to Nicholasville. After a while, I realized each place had some element of distinction for which the citizens were proud. One town I lived in had a statue in the middle of town in a fountain with a boll weevil on top! Quirky, but it had significance for the town’s agricultural history. Another place boasted of Ed’s World Famous Hot Dogs on the town square where you could also get oysters on the half shell. I don’t know that the world would recognize Headland, Alabama, and Ed’s world famous hot dogs, but they sure were good.
Rather than a material representation such as those previously mentioned, in Jessamine County our special element takes its form in Mr. Dexter Knight. His influence upon Career Technical Education provides a lasting influence on our Jessamine County students. With support from the Jessamine County School Board, this remarkable contribution began 15 years ago under his leadership. Mr. Knight has been able to assemble a strong faculty because he knows Career Tech Ed (CTE), and knows the right questions to ask of applicants. His participation in the classroom as an Agriculture Teacher, alongside his representation at the state and national levels of CTE gave him a sterling background from which to draw upon during the creation and opening of the Jessamine Career and Technology Center, located at 881 Wilmore Road in Nicholasville.
Over the years the school and its students from East, West and Providence began to take on the personality of Mr. Knight’s leadership. Students from each school, all backgrounds, and program area disciplines expressed great joy in taking classes at JCTC. Mr. Knight is an educational leader who sincerely puts his students first in every way possible. His spirit of generosity and grace permeate the school. The unique culture he created affects the faculty and staff in remarkable ways, too. As someone who has been part of that staff for the past 13 years, I can say with confidence he is one of the best supervisors under which I’ve ever served. He always takes a sincere interest in our families. He accompanies each of us in our personal journey through life as we work with our wonderful students. Coming to work at JCTC under his leadership is a joy. Our loyalty to the students is formed through Mr. Knight’s example.
CTE has expanded in Jessamine County to the extent that its various programs are taught at four different locations. Now, campuses are located at East Jessamine High School, JCTC, West Jessamine High School, and the Eugene S. Peel Diesel Mechanics Center, located at the Jessamine County Schools bus garage. Just as the proverbial pebble dropped in the middle of the pond sends ripples to the shore, Mr. Knight’s influence upon our students and Career & Technical Education continues to permeate the workforce and spirit of our community. I hope the citizens of our county realize the rare gem we have in him. Thank you Dexter for your generous leadership, and for sharing your gifts with Jessamine County.
Carla Coulliette Palmer
College and Career Readiness
Jessamine Career and Technology Center