(Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Chairman Jon Rabinowitz and your’s truly at Turfway Park on Jeff Ruby Steaks Day)

It didn’t make the headlines on the daily newspapers, if there were still such a thing.

It didn’t lead the nightly news segment on either the local channels or the national bias reports of the day.

It didn’t even make it on social media, and if you know anything about Twitter (now know as “X,” for some damn reason), those folks (blush) will opine on anything. Any. Thing. That. Moves.

But it is critical, vital and very important news — just the same.

On March 28, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear wisely and correctly renamed Jon Rabinowitz, an attorney in Versailles, Ky, and one of the best horsemen in Central Kentucky, Charlie O’Connor, as the Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively, of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Bravo. Bravo. Bravo.

Plaudits. Plaudits. Plaudits.

Hands Clapping emoji. Hands Clapping emoji. Hands Clapping emoji.

Despite rumors that some horse people insiders were making a power play, of sorts, and a political maneuver, to be polite, to oust the duo as the leaders of the Commission, the Governor restored hope in humanity and absolutely did the right thing for the Commonwealth and the industry by renaming Rabinowitz and O’Connor to their positions.

Not only are Rabinowitz and O’Connor above reproach and have both the professional ethics and depth of professional knowledge it takes to maneuver their way through one of the most important and critical economic engines of the Commonwealth, they are truly committed to building and maintaining the credibility of our industry worldwide.

Just look at what this duo has done in leading the entire Commission through over the past few years:


They have dealt with the entire Medina Spirit and Bob Baffert debacle and litany of frivolous lawsuits with serious confidentiality, professionalism, and the highest ethical standards without buckling to insider pressures like the California Horse Racing Board and the Arkansas Racing Commissions have done in the past, when faced with similar incidents.

They kept the credibility of our sport and the law.



They have dealt with the passage of Legalized Sports Betting and oversaw a rollout timeline that was unprecedented in any other jurisdiction that has previously and has since passed such a law.

And, they did it all with spotless perfection, guaranteeing the credibility of the wagers and the process at both on-site locations and mobile applications.

Without question, it has been one of the smoothest and most professional start-ups of legalized sports wagering in the entire world.



They have worked closely with HISA, the new federally-mandated oversight organization, AND horsemen’s groups to ensure that all new guidelines that pertain to permissive, therapeutic drugs and the penalties associated with positive drug tests that indicate the presence of illegal, performance-enhancing or medications that are over the permitted levels of application are being strictly adhered.

This has not been an easy transition. This has not been an easy process. And, it has not come without some fear, trepidation, and consternation.

But both Rabinowitz and O’Connor have steadfastly stuck to the mission, and have worked tirelessly to create a fair, equitable and level playing field where all can have confidence in the credibility of our sport.

Is that job over and completed? Absolutely not. Kentucky still has much to do.

Like ensuring a top-notch testing lab that can process all pre- and post-race tests, with a chain-of-custody that all can feel confident in knowing that the end result is credible and complete.

Like working with trainer’s organizations to ensure that due process is honored, and that there are accommodations to those that handle, treat, and condition all performance horses in a fair and equitable way.

Like working with our government officials to develop, create, and fund a top-notch veterinarian school in the Commonwealth, where all our deserving students can stay at home and obtain the proper education that will allow them to work here, in the Horse Capital of the world.

Like so many other important jobs that must be done on a daily basis to license and oversee all those that work in our industry on a daily basis.

They have done that, to date. They will continue to work on in the future, too.


There are many people who think they want to serve on the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. There are many more who think they “deserve” to be “on” the Commission. There are even more who would love to have the “pin” and all the amenities that come along with being with the Commission.

On the other hand, there are few that can do the job. There are fewer that are willing to work hard enough to get the job done.

Jon Rabinowitz and Charlie O’Connor are two of the few.

And, this entire industry is lucky to have them at the helm.