04/27/2016 3:08PM

Bevin appoints 11 new members to Kentucky Horse Racing Commission


LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin on Wednesday named 11 new members to a revamped 12-member Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, overhauling a panel that had been praised in recent years for its attention to racing matters and the expertise of its members.

Frank Kling, a breeder who is the chairman and chief executive of FK Holdings, based in Cincinnati, was named chairman for a two-year term. Kling is a former member of the racing commission, serving from 2006-09.

The most recent iteration of the racing commission had 15 voting members. Bevin, a Republican who took office in December, succeeding the two-term Democrat Steve Beshear, has reduced the commission to 12 members, according to a release from his office.

The only member who was reappointed to the commission was David Richardson, a surgeon who is chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s Graded Stakes Committee. Another appointee, Kerry Cauthen, the owner of Four Star Sales, was recently on the commission.

Other appointments to the commission are John Roach, a former Kentucky Supreme Court chief justice who was appointed vice chairman; Lesley Howard, the general manager of Stonestreet, the multifaceted racing and breeding operation; Mark Simendinger, the former president of Turfway Park who is now the president of Kentucky Speedway; Brereton C. Jones Jr., the head of bloodstock services for Airdrie Stud, which is owned by his father, former Ky. Gov. Brereton Jones, a Republican; Pat Day, the Hall of Fame jockey; Kenneth Jackson, a founding member of the North American Standardbred Breeders Association; Gerald Holt, an owner and breeder; and Stuart Brown, a veterinarian who specializes in equine reproduction.

New governors in Kentucky often revamp entire state commissions to reward supporters of their campaigns and put their own stamp on the agency. The two governors previous to Bevin had also upended the racing commission. Most members of the commission said informal goodbyes to each other after the first meeting following the election, expecting that they would soon be replaced.

Many high-ranking employees of the commission have left or been replaced since Bevin won the election. The former chairman, Robert Beck, resigned within days of the election last November, and the commission’s executive director, general counsel, deputy general counsel, and director of parimutuel services have all left or indicated that they are leaving. In addition, the state’s chief veterinarian was also replaced.