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Ray Paulick has an upbeat and important commentary on the influence of racing men and women in the life and prosperity of Kentucky and the Bluegrass in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

In defiance of the positive and forward-thinking tendency of Paulick’s editorial, there are the usual spiteful and foolish comments in reply.

Why, do you think, so many feel envy for the success of the few and the benefits that racing’s prominent leaders can offer the community?

My thoughts on the subject run thus:

The men mentioned in Ray Paulick’s editorial were largely builders of businesses and corporations who developed great wealth over the course of their lives in the last century. That they chose to live in the Lexington area is an endorsement of its beauty and attractions. That they chose to share their wealth with their friends and neighbors, as well as the larger community of the Bluegrass that includes us all, is an endorsement of their generosity and benevolence.

These horsemen formed a superstructure of business prosperity that associated itself with racing and with horses, whether involved with the sport socially or integrally as a participant, that strengthened the Bluegrass and that has made it culturally and economically richer than most.

This superstructure has allowed literally tens of thousands of people to make a decent living and participate in a sport that enriched their lives. Some formed businesses that have prospered in this environment, and others found means of serving the community. Yet none would have been able to do so without the flush of capital that the great entrepreneurs and the great sport have moved through the Bluegrass economy for the greater part of a century.

We are all better for the involvement of the great sportsmen and businessmen, as well as the involvement of the associated tens of thousands who are associated in the greater web of our community. Racing and horse sports are part of our heritage here in Kentucky, and surely we feel it most here in the Bluegrass. It is a tradition that has made this area internationally known, and if we do well to honor our traditions and rightly value their benefits to us.

If we ignore the heritage which has brought us thus far, we may well lose it. Then what would we be?

Frankly, if Kentucky didn’t have horse breeding and horse racing, I would be living someplace else.

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