LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A prominent Kentucky horse owner and breeder has been banned from racing and sales at Keeneland Race Course after his racist post on social media.
Keeneland said Wednesday it was banning Tom VanMeter from the premises, including participation by his sales company, while the Lexington track further reviews circumstances related to the recent “reprehensible comments” he made online.
In Facebook post last weekend on Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers’ Club president Donnie Snellings’ page that called on followers to “Re-post if you are still boycotting the NFL.” VanMeter, who is white, responded with a post that used an abbreviation of the N-word. He later posted, “Put em back in their cage!!!”
“Over the weekend, comments I made on a private page of a social media platform surfaced which have since come under scrutiny due to their racist nature,” VanMeter wrote in a statement to the Thoroughbred Daily News.
“I will not attempt to deny that I wrote the comments, nor will I attempt to justify my actions. Certainly, I am frustrated with the current social situation in our country, however, what I wrote was unjustifiable. I was wrong and am disgusted by my actions. Contrary to what these comments might suggest, in no way do those responses represent my true feelings towards my friends and community members of color,” he wrote.
Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, said in a tweet that his organization will no longer accept financial contributions from VanMeter.
VanMeter has bought, sold and consigned bloodstock for many years in the industry. He foaled and raised 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah for Zayat Stables. Last year, VanMeter-Gentry Sales generated over $5.6 million in receipts from horses sold at public auction.