12/12/2017 11:10AM

Lisa Underwood, former executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, dies at 57


LEXINGTON, Ky. – Lisa Underwood, the former executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, died on Saturday morning of a heart attack, according to an obituary appearing in the Lexington Herald-Leader. Underwood was 57.

Underwood, an attorney, served as executive director of the KHRC for five years, from 2006-2011, after being appointed to the post by Gov. Ernie Fletcher. Under her tenure, the racing commission modernized its racing and drug-testing rules, bringing the state into closer alignment with states with stricter medication regulations, and she also presided over the hiring of the commission’s first equine medical director.

Also while at the KHRC, the commission charged its chief state steward John Veitch with five violations of racing rules regarding his role in the Life At Ten incident at the 2010 Breeders’ Cup. Veitch was given a one-year suspension in a case that was not fully settled until earlier this year, when the suspension was stricken from his record.

In 2009, Underwood was given the Len Foote Award of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. The award is given to honor executive directors for their “outstanding contributions to the racing industry.”

A graduate of the University of Kentucky’s College of Law, Underwood began her legal career in Nashville before becoming partner at Wyatt Tarrant & Combs, the large Lexington law firm. She also served as the deputy commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Protection, which oversees the racing commission, from 1996-1999, while also serving as senior corporate counsel for Mason and Hanger Corporation.

Underwood is survived by her husband, Richard Young, her father, Tom Underwood, a brother Trip, and a nephew and niece.