(Rich Strike / Coady Photography)

On Friday, Dec. 16, The Louisville Thoroughbred Society will be hosting a Holiday Celebration “Open House” for all current members and investors. The gathering is an opportunity to raise some significant money and assistance for the community of backside workers who are so vital to the horse racing industry.

Just last week, Churchill Downs announced that it would keep its backside open this winter to assist horsemen who are planning to run horses at Turfway Park in Northern Kentucky for the winter meet. Traditionally during this time, the customary movement of the backside community would be to relocate to the south for the winter with their respective trainers and barn operations to work at places like Tampa Bay Downs, Oaklawn Park and Fair Grounds Race Course.

The opportunity to remain in Kentucky to race is a positive development for both industry employees and the Kentucky racing circuit. However, for the highly migratory backside community who are not accustomed to seasonal temperature changes, it will require a major climate adjustment and in most cases find them unprepared for extreme cold conditions and with limited resources.

The Louisville Thoroughbred Society invites horsemen to join in to help ensure these essential workers have a safe and comfortable winter in Kentucky as they work to care for these marvelous horses and to keep our Commonwealth’s signature industry running stronger than ever.

In order to assist these workers with that immediate need, The LTS will also host a fundraising event on the same night as the “Open House” on Dec. 16.

The Louisville Thoroughbred Society is asking that all its members, investors and their guests bring a new article of winter clothing; gift cards; or other winter items to donate that night. These donations will be collected and transported to the Churchill Downs’ Backside Learning Center to guarantee that they are assembled correctly and made available to those that need them the most. A variety of sizes are welcome and would be put to good use.

To add to this fundraising effort, The Louisville Thoroughbred Society will also conduct its first “Coats for Coats” auction that evening as well.

The Louisville Thoroughbred Society plans to “auction” some “Sports Coats” from local sports, political and entertainment celebrities who have donated their own coats to help raise funds for those on the racetrack backside this winter.

Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is donating a sports coats that he has worn to help raise money for the worthy cause.

The Louisville Thoroughbred Society also plans to “auction” several “Horse Blankets” from some of Kentucky’s most famous horse residents, whose connections have donated their own “horse coats” to help raise funds for the backside community workers.

The list of “Horse Blankets” that have been donated for this silent auction include garments worn by Triple Crown winners Justify and American Pharoah; the popular young sire Not This Time; and the magnificent and now legendary Into Mischief and 2022 Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike. A letter of authenticity will accompany each donated item.

In addition, there are some other donated items – which range from memorabilia to premier tickets — that will be offered, as well.

LTS members, investors and their guests will be able to bid on any of these items at the Dec. 16 event. But anyone interested in bidding on any of these once-in-a-lifetime collectibles will also have a chance, too. The LTS will set up a phone-in bidding process for all non-members on Dec. 16.

Starting at 6 p.m. ET, phone lines will be made available for call-in bids. All high bids will be posted on the website, www.thepressboxlts.com, throughout the night and updated every five minutes for the duration of the auction. Once the auction is over, the highest bids and the winners will be announced.

The Louisville Thoroughbred Society will announce the phone numbers that will be utilized on Dec. 14.

For more information, feel free to contact the LTS at [email protected] or [email protected].

LIST OF SOME AUCTION ITEMS

  1. Horse Blanket worn by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (Reserve set at $1,000). Donated by Ashford Stud, with many thanks to Charlie O’Conner and Dermot Weld. Special Note: If the final bid reaches $2,000 or more, then Ashford will donate a second blanket and make it available to the under-bidder for the same final price as the first, as well.
  2. Horse Blanket worn by Triple Crown winner Justify (Reserve set at $1,000). Donated by Ashford Stud, with many thanks to Charlie O’Conner and Dermot Weld. Special Note: If the final bid reaches $2,000 or more, then Ashford will donate a second blanket and make it available to the under-bidder for the same final price as the first, as well.
  3. Horse Blanket worn by Into Mischief, one of the world’s leading and most successful sires. (Reserve set at $1,000). Donated by Spendthrift Farm, with many thanks to Mark Toothaker. The amazing son of Harlan’s Holiday has led the North American sire list in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
  4. Horse Blanket worn by Not This Time, the sire of 2022 KY Derby runner-up Epicenter and one of the top young stallions in the industry today. (Reserve set at $1,000). Donated by the Albaugh Family and Taylor Made Farm, with many thanks to Jason Loutsch.
  5. Horse Blanket worn by 2022 Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike. (Reserve will be set.) Donated by trainer Eric Reed, with many thanks to the KY and National HBPA.
  6. Sports Coat worn and donated by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, with many thanks to Kentucky State Senator Damon Thayer.
  7. Sports Coat worn and donated by Wes Henderson, owner and Master Distiller at Angel’s Envy Distillery in downtown Louisville. The select bourbon has rapidly become one of the most sought-after bottles in the world today.
  8. Admission and a reserved Table for 8 (which includes all food and alcohol sales) for one day of the Opening Labor Day Weekend Card at Kentucky Downs. Valued at $1,200.
  9. A 3-bottle set of select Bourbons, crafted and bottled specifically for the Louisville Thoroughbred Society.