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Kentucky Downs: Season of giving is year-round

Chamber's Thurmond: Giving back to community in track DNA

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(Photo at left courtesy Boys & Girls Club of Franklin-Simpson)
Kentucky Downs recently completed its Marines Toys for Tots drive, but the racetrack and entertainment center’s season of giving spans the calendar.
“Giving back to the community is in Kentucky Downs’ DNA,” said Steve Thurmond, executive director of the Franklin-Simpson Chamber of Commerce.
“Kentucky Downs takes seriously our mission to bring pride and economic stimulus to the area,” said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs’ senior vice president and general manager. “We are proud to be part of this great community and are just thankful to be in position to help some of the terrific social-services programs and charitable organizations in Franklin and Simpson County. The Kentucky Downs staff and I look forward to even more involvement in 2019 and finding meaningful ways to contribute to the non-profits throughout our home turf that do so much good work.”
Kentucky Downs’ Players Club members who brought in a new, unwrapped toy between Nov. 1 and Dec. 12 had 25 points added to their Players Club account. Kentucky Downs staff shopped for an additional $2,000 in merchandise, with the scores of toys presented to Marine representatives Dec. 13. 
Throughout the year, Kentucky Downs donated more than $75,000 to a variety of non-profits in the region and racing-connected charitable fund-raising projects in 2018, including more than $25,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Franklin-Simpson; $10,000 for the SKYCTC Foundation for Simpson County On-Track Scholarship Fund; $5,000 apiece to the Franklin-Simpson Industrial Authority for economic development, Franklin-Simpson Renaissance Inc. for summer-concert series sponsorship and Simpson County Tourism Commission for Love In Bloom Festival sponsorship; and $1,800 to Simpson County Board of Education’s backpack program; $1,000 to the Bowling Green Chamber Orchestra, as well as to a variety of school clubs, teams and projects.
Kentucky Downs donated $5 for every racehorse starting at the 2018 meet, totaling $2,760 to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (matched by horse owners); more than $8,500 to Old Friends equine retirement farms, and financial gifts to other racing-connected charities.
In addition, Kentucky Downs played host to Simpson County’s annual Independence Day fireworks and festivities; staged free Family Fun Days during its live race meet; brought in Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith to sign free posters of Triple Crown winner Justify to raise money for three charities; had the Boys & Girls Club out to Old Friends at Kentucky Downs, and staged a family day including waterslides and tours as an Old Friends’ fund-raiser before the live meet.
“Besides being a major sponsor of Chamber of Commerce events and programs, Kentucky Downs supports other organizations like Boys & Girls Club of Franklin-Simpson, Franklin-Simpson Renaissance and the Franklin-Simpson Community Arts Council,” Thurmond said. “Simpson County Schools benefit tremendously from the generosity of Kentucky Downs from educational support to athletic teams. 
“Each July, Kentucky Downs opens its property for Fireworks at the Downs, a family-friendly event that draws thousands who enjoy all types of entertainment during the day and evening. Simply put, Kentucky Downs is an outstanding corporate citizen of this community.”
Kentucky Downs' staff presents scores of toys to the Marines Toys for Tots drive on Dec. 12. Morgan Noe photo
Kentucky Downs was a sponsor of the Simpson County Tourism Commission's Love In Bloom Festival. Facebook photo
Kentucky Downs stages free Family Fun Days on its three weekend live-racing dates, including bouncy races on the course. Heather Garcia photo
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith was brought in to sign posters of Triple Crown winner Justify to raise money for three charities. Heather Garcia photo
Boys & Girls Club of Franklin-Simpson received a $25,000 contribution, as well as an event at Old Friends at Kentucky Downs. Morgan Noe photo
Kentucky Downs is among the sponsors of Franklin-Simpson Renaissance Inc.'s summer concert series on the downtown square. Heather Garcia photo
About Kentucky Downs
Located near the Kentucky-Tennessee border off Interstate 65, the year-round entertainment center offers live racing on its unique 1 5/16-mile European-style turf course with its five-date meet in 2019 being Aug. 31 and Sept. 5, 7, 8 and 12. Simulcasting is available seven days a week, as well as pari-mutuel wagering on Historical Horse Racing, charitable gaming, dining and other events. Racing has been conducted at the facility since 1990, when it was called Dueling Grounds.
Address: 5629 Nashville Road, P.O. Box 405, Franklin, KY 42135
Phone: 270.586.7778

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