02/02/2016 12:26PM

Longtime Keeneland executive Rogers Beasley to retire

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W. B. Rogers Beasley, the vice president of racing at Keeneland since 2001 and the company’s former director of sales, will retire effective June 30 after 34 years at the company, Keeneland announced on Tuesday.

Beasley was director of sales for Keeneland from 1982 until 2000 and was named director of racing in 2001. His tenure in the auction division coincided with several boom and bust cycles in the bloodstock market, while his tenure in the racing division was marked by a time of rapid change for Keeneland’s racing product, including the modernization of the racing facility and the installation and then removal of an artificial racing surface.

In late October last year, Keeneland was the host of the two-day Breeders’ Cup event for the first time.

Keeneland was widely lauded for its role in hosting both racing fans and horsemen. In a statement, Keeneland said that Beasley was “instrumental” in attracting Breeders’ Cup to the track for its event.

For the past 15 years, Beasley has been Keeneland’s liaison to the state’s racing commission, and he has served on committees and boards of many high-profile racing organizations.

“Rogers has helped shape the history of Keeneland by playing an important role in nearly every major undertaking for the past three decades,” said Bill Thomason, Keeneland’s chief executive, in a statement. “He has assembled an extremely talented and well-respected team led by Racing Secretary Ben Huffman that represents a strong foundation on which to build the future of Keeneland racing.”

Beasley is a native of New Orleans. He graduated from Transylvania University in Lexington in 1973, and after nine years in banking, he joined Keeneland’s racing office in 1982, serving as an entry clerk for the Keeneland spring meet. He was named director of sales later that year.

“I have been honored to work for Keeneland for these many years and am very appreciative to all here at Keeneland,” said Beasley, in a statement.

Beasley did not immediately respond to a phone message.

Keeneland noted in a statement that auction revenues more than doubled, from $300 million in 1982 to $750 million in 2000, during Beasley’s tenure as director of sales. Keeneland also noted that the track had four Grade 1 races when Beasley took over as director of racing, and that the track has 11 Grade 1 races scheduled for 2016.