Thoroughbred racing was held at the Kentucky Association track in Lexington for over 100 years, until 1933 when the facility closed at the end of the spring meet. That left Lexington without a racetrack until Keeneland opened in 1936.
With the passage of time, there are now likely very few people alive that actually attended the races at the Kentucky Association track – and there are certainly even fewer that worked there. Fortunately, thanks to Tom Eblen and the Lexington Herald-Leader, we at least know of one such person – Elias 'Shug' White.
White, who is 95, will be honored Thursday at the second annual Phoenix Festival, to be held at the Issac Murphy Memorial Art Garden. In an interview with the Herald-Leader published Wednesday, White recalled how he used to sneak off to the track early every morning so he could exercise horses for Dixiana Farm. He did that all the time, until his grandfather caught him.
“One day he followed me up to the racetrack and I didn't know it and when he got up there I was walking these horses around,” White said.
“Boy, he got on me something terrible. He told me he didn't want me to do it anymore because he felt like kids who worked around a racetrack didn't amount to much.”
Even though his grandfather put the brakes his on working at the track, White has remained a lifelong fan of the sport.
“I was always fascinated by horses,” he said. “Always liked to go around the track early in the morning and see them exercise. Didn't I love horses!”
Read more in the Lexington Herald-Leader
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