SMITH: Okay. This is Kim Lady Smith. It is August 1, 2007, conducting a second interview with David Switzer, um, here in Lexington, Kentucky, at his office at the Horse Park. Um, this is for the University of Kentucky project, uh, on the state's horse industry. Okay. Uh, I did go back and, and listen to the interview, and, and I will be getting a copy to you in a couple of weeks of both of these. Um--


SMITH: And, uh, one of the things we were talking about last time was your work with Calumet as one of the three musketeers I believe it was called.

SWITZER: (laughs) Yeah.

SMITH: So tell me. How, um, how did John Ward get involved with, uh, how was he asked to be involved with Calumet?

SWITZER: One of the, uh, financial institutions that was deeply involved or in debt with or Calumet was in debt to, they wanted to find someone 1:00to save the farm; save the bank, too, actually. Uh, and so they, uh, they talked with various people in the industry.

SMITH: Um-hm.

SWITZER: I think it boiled down to two people. I think it was Mr. Robert Courtney--

SMITH: Yeah.

SWITZER: --Mr. Bob Courtney, um, who, um, I think declined--I don't know why, but I'm going to say because of age maybe--uh, and then, and John Ward. Now if there was anybody else that was in the mix, I wasn't aware of that.

SMITH: Now those two people are horsemen--

SWITZER: Oh, yes.

SMITH: --more than business.

SWITZER: Well, yes, although Mr. Courtney had a banking background. His family was in banking. I believe it was, uh, First National or Citizens many years ago. Um, John, um, he has a degree in, in ag econ from the University of Kentucky, but he managed his own business--his 2:00training stable--so he had that as a background for managing business. I think it was important that there be someone who had a knowledge of the horse industry particularly because of pedigrees and values, et cetera--(clears throat)--and, uh, so John was offered and he accepted. I think, and he was--(clears throat)--trying to manage Calumet Farm's financial situation and at the same time run his own business which took an awful lot of time. He didn't have much spare time in between.

SMITH: Now when, when they asked, um, Mr. Ward to become involved was there an understanding that J.T. Lundy would be stepping down?

SWITZER: Oh, yes.

SMITH: Okay.

SWITZER: Yeah. Uh, in fact, I think Mr. Lundy and some of the other members of the family or other folks that were associated with Calumet Farm walked out the gate one day and John walked in the gate the next.


SMITH: Okay.

SWITZER: Type thing.

SMITH: Did Robey know about--not Robey. I'm sorry. Um--

SWITZER: No. Robey was once one of the advisors to, to J.T. Oh, yeah. It was all--I mean, they, I'm sure the bank, one of the financial institutions--I'm trying to think which bank was in the lead at that time, um, on this and I'm, I'm drawing a blank--but they had met with the family and the trustees and they said, "Look, things aren't working. We got a problem. We're going to bring in our own management people here."

SMITH: So how soon after, um, Mr. Ward took over did you get involved?

SWITZER: Oh, probably within a month, I would say. Uh, again, our friendship, relationship, um, and the fact that I had an insurance agency and was doing some bloodstock work, he had confidence in me and, and, uh, trust.

SMITH: Right.

SWITZER: So, uh, he asked if I would join he and Ron Sladon in, uh, trying to figure this thing out, and I was, I was on board to deal 4:00with the insurance and some of the bloodstock work. Um, the insurance part was, uh, was a, uh, a challenge because there weren't very many insurance companies that wanted to go on this risk without having some guarantees that premiums were going to be paid. Um, we were fortunate that I had a very good working relationship with the owners of American Livestock Insurance Company and, uh, the trust there as well, and, uh, they agreed to take the risk when others, many others didn't even want to talk to us.

SMITH: Now was this to reinsure some of the horses or, or what, what was--what were you asking them to take on?

SWITZER: We were asking them to take on the, uh, mortality insurance on all the livestock. In the event that one died there would be insurance to offset that value of the horse. That's an asset that the banks had, and so the banks basically agreed--the creditors that 5:00were heavily in debt there--they agreed that they would put up x number of dollars to help with the funding of the insurance. Now let me go back a little bit. That really didn't occur until we filed for bankruptcy. There was insurance in place prior to filing bankruptcy. The only problem was nobody was paying premiums, and of course I'm probably going to have my time frames off a little bit, Kim, but, um, we actually thought we were going to be able to save the farm and not have to go into bankruptcy when we first took over--John did--when he looked at the books and he looked at the value of the animals we had there, et cetera, and supposedly the debt was less than a hundred million dollars. Well, the debt kept growing every day, and it finally got to a point where the assets, there wasn't any way it was going to 6:00cover the debt and, um, we had no cash flow. So how do you try and stop the bleeding there and continue to still operate and try and find a buyer for the farm, a buyer for the bloodstock, the horses. Uh, and so it was determined that the only thing we could do was file for bankruptcy. That's when it then became a little critical about could we obtain insurance, uh, because everything started at ground, at zero forward there for, uh--and that's when we were able to, to negotiate with the creditors, with the bankruptcy courts that they would be able to put money toward insurance, and American Livestock was willing to take that risk. You have to go back also to the death of Alydar. There was always a question there of was that accidental or was it not accidental. Were some of the employees that were still around at Calumet still there? And so was there a concern about could more foul 7:00play occur, and I think that's where a trust came in to play between John, myself and the insurance carrier that agreed to take on the risk.

SMITH: Um, let me back-track a little bit here with your insurance background. Now Alydar was, uh, insured for a huge amount of money. What was it? Thirty-five million I think I wrote down somewhere here.

SWITZER: I'll have to go with your notes, Kim. I don't remember.

SMITH: Thirty-six point five million was what it stated in the, in the book, um, now that's pretty amazing, isn't it? Isn't that pretty high?

SWITZER: Well, yes and no. One of the things that got Calumet Farm into their trouble is that they sold seasons to Alydar years in advance, and so that was revenue that was going to be coming in and so they had 8:00to have this insurance to offset in case something happened to Alydar, they were not able to fulfill their obligations on the seasons. And if they were prepaid seasons then they were going to owe that money back to whoever bought them. So they had to have that type of insurance. Um, you know, $36 million back in--that was the '92, '93 era there-- um, that probably wasn't out of--it might have been a little high but it wasn't out of line. We did discover that there were a number of horses that we felt were over-insured to what their real value was. Uh--

SMITH: But not necessarily Alydar?

SWITZER: But not necessarily. Yeah. Although that kind of money, that thirty-six million dollars possibly, uh, could have helped the farm stay afloat a little bit longer or something, but it was--I would have to say, in my opinion--it was just managed so poorly that it was 9:00never going to recover, unfortunately. They say that, uh, the first generation builds a business, the second generation maintains the business and the third generation goes to the country club and drinks the business. This was the third generation.

SMITH: Yeah. Well, there may be some truth to that. Um, in the insurance world, uh, I mean, I have read of instances where horses were purposefully killed in order to collect insurance. That wasn't particularly common or--did you ever have an experience like that as an insurance agent--


SMITH: --where there was anything suspicious?

SWITZER: No. I never, and, and, uh, part of that is because of the clientele that I dealt with, uh, but sure. Any business, uh, house 10:00fires purposely set, barn fires purposely set, warehouses purposely set. Uh, there have been some in our documentations of, uh, horses that were killed to collect insurance money. They generally get caught.

SMITH: Is that sort of possibility what fed the rumors that Alydar had been killed for the insurance money?

SWITZER: Yeah. I think so. I'm sure.

SMITH: Okay.

SWITZER: I'm sure. But it was, uh, it was never proven, and, um, the manner in which he, uh, you know, broke his leg--which ultimately led to his death I think, um, people could show that it actually could have been an accident. Getting that leg behind that door and then thrashing to get up broke his leg, and then we run to the problem of how do you tell a horse to lay down and be quiet for six months. It's only happened with one horse that I'm, I can recall at the moment, and that 11:00was a horse by the name of Nureyev.

SMITH: Oh, really?

SWITZER: And he was such, such an outstanding horse and a, uh, big exception to the rule that he was able to be saved from a, uh, fractured hind leg and bred horses. They built a sling for him, a special hospital over here at Walmac Farm in Lexington, and, um, his temperament was such that, uh, he--that's the big problem is the, um, high strung Thoroughbred. Uh, it's difficult to tell them to lay down and be quiet.

SMITH: Um-hm.

SWITZER: Of course, you know, and even by putting them in a sling problems still arise as happened with, uh, Barbaro.

SMITH: Um-hm.

SWITZER: Uh, but Nureyev was quiet an exception. Alydar was just the opposite.

SMITH: Okay. Well, we'll go back to, um, uh, your working with Calumet. 12:00Now this was supposed to be part-time for, for a year? You were working, still working--

SWITZER: Well, I was, I was still handling my book of business, my book of insurance business and still doing some of my bloodstock business.

SMITH: But you were getting paid by Calumet as well.

SWITZER: I was being paid by Calumet based on the insurance.

SMITH: Okay.

SWITZER: They had no money to pay me. So by me managing the insurance--and I did it in conjunction because I wanted to make sure it was a hands-off relationship here as best I could--uh, I did it in partnership with Cromwell Insurance Agency which was owned by Mr. John Bell, um, and, um, his, uh, his neph-, his son-in-law, Joe Nicholson, who is still in the business, insurance business, who is the person who ended up buying my book of business when I came to the association. Um, they basically managed, uh, our insurance account. 13:00They were also writers for American Livestock Insurance Company that's why I chose them to work with me on that. So we shared in the premium the commission that comes off of a premium, and that's what I did in everyday life and so we made the arrangement that that would be my compensation for the, for Calumet business.

SMITH: So, uh, reading Wild Ride, it didn't seem like it was very long before you discovered you had to go into bankruptcy.

SWITZER: Right. Probably a month or not much more than that, I wouldn't think.

SMITH: Was that, um, was that surprising to the three of you? I mean, had you expected--

SWITZER: Well, no. We expected that we had--when we were told the amount of money that the debt was, it was really only the debt locally. And then the, the banks in Texas and the banks in Washington D.C. and 14:00the banks in New York, they just all started coming out of the woodwork and filing claims, and it just mounted and mounted and mounted.

SMITH: And you were telling me last time about how you couldn't make payroll. You told me one story. Now so was that also a surprise when you, they came into this that there was just no cash flow? Were they expecting some?

SWITZER: Um, you know, I have to think that, that John felt that there was some revenue streams there. I mean, we could have sold off some of the horses to create some revenue but then we were losing our, what assets were still available. We couldn't borrow money, uh, so we just went looking. As I said, the one time it was the Crown Victoria, an automobile that, I think, brought in seventy-five hundred dollars and 15:00we made payroll on a Friday, then we started working on Saturday to figure out how we were going to make payroll the next Friday.

SMITH: So how did the bankruptcy work? How did that, um, solve some of those issues at least temporarily?

SWITZER: Well, it solved all the creditors, uh, hounding us, wanting their money and what we were going to do, and so putting it under a bankruptcy judge then all the creditors have to do their filings and you fight for your piece of the pie. And, um, our concern was to keep the farm open, maintain the, the animals and care for the animals until such time we would have a dispersal of sale and a sale of the farm and then we were out of there. Then it was up to the bankruptcy judge to decide, okay, from those assets the money that came in from the horses, the money that came in from the sale of the farm is going to get divided amongst the banks or the creditors.


SMITH: Okay. So at what point did the three of you realize that there was not going to be any saving the farm? Is this when you filed for bankruptcy or later as more of the--

SWITZER: Oh, no. That was before we filed the bankruptcy. We knew that it wasn't going to happen and so they went to the attorneys and they talked about it. I was not involved in that part of it. That would have been John and Ron Sladon, um, that--

SMITH: Okay. So what were your responsibilities then?

SWITZER: My responsibilities were just the insurance part really and then if we were going to sell any seasons to some of the stallions or we were going to sell some of the stallions to generate funds, once we went into bankruptcy you couldn't just sell something. You had a long--you had to go to court to ask permission to sell for an asset and then all the creditors had to sign off on it if that were the case, and so we didn't have to do that. Uh, the creditors actually put up more 17:00money to keep the thing afloat in time so we could sell--

SMITH: Okay.

SWITZER: --assets.

SMITH: What you, uh, um, you've told me one of the stories. What do you remember about that time period? Um, are there any particular experiences that kind of stick out in your mind as, uh--were you there when they, uh, sold the horses?

SWITZER: Yeah. I was in that, involved with that and, and then I was there the day we auctioned the farm, and that was a, that was a very interesting--we did not have a buyer until twenty-four hours before the absolute auction was to occur. Had no buyer. Uh, the concern was the, that developers were going to buy the land and turn Calumet Farm into Calumet subdivision, Calumet, uh--there was, uh, in fact, one of 18:00the bidders on the farm was a developer who had an idea of doing, uh, some estate type housing in there, uh, and a golf course and maybe turn the, the office into the clubhouse, uh, have apartments in some of the barns. Uh, these were things that we later found out about, but I, I believe it was a call by Walt Robertson who, um, is an auctioneer that, I think Walt--I may have this a little wrong. You'll have to check on it with Walt about this, and he's another interesting person that you need to have on your list.

SMITH: He and I have been playing, uh, phone tag for two months trying to set up a time.

SWITZER: Yeah. Well, it'll be even worse here for the next three weeks.


SWITZER: Because he'll, he'll be in Saratoga Springs, New York, 'cause they have their real big sale then.

SMITH: Right.

SWITZER: But they made a phone call to Mr. de Kwiatkowski in the 19:00Bahamas and said, "Are you aware that Calumet Farm is going to be auctioned tomorrow?" And he shows up the next day and buys the farm, and there are some great stories about Mr. de Kwiatkowski then that floated around about how he, um, was in the military, rode horses and all kinds of little different things. Uh, I think he made his wealth in the, in the, um, airline business, cargo, um, but, uh, we, we did not know of the buyer. I did not know we had a buyer until the auction occurred, I think Johnny and, and, uh, and Ron got the tip that there would be somebody there to bid but we didn't know how far he was going to bid either. Uh, the day of the auction, um, they had, uh, muck sacks, pitchforks, tack boxes, uh, from the training stable, hats, all 20:00kinds of--buckets that were auctioned. It's amazing what people paid for those things; uh, much more than what their real value was--

SMITH: Sure.

SWITZER: --you know. Uh--

SMITH: The Calumet legend.

SWITZER: Yeah. It was. Um, that was a, it was an interesting day. I, I lived, grew up, uh, about a mile and a half from Calumet Farm, and I have a, had a picture of my grandfather and myself when I was about two years old standing in front of a little, one of those jockey statues in front of a Calumet barn.

SMITH: Um-hm.

SWITZER: So that would have been 1947 I think, um, and Calumet Farm--and 21:00if you're in the horse industry particularly--it's the jewel. It was the crown jewel of our industry. It's the only farm that had both Hamiltonian winners and Kentucky Derby winners bred there, um, so there was a little bit of, uh--oh, I don't know--pride maybe, it might be a thing that John asked me to be involved in that because I had lived, grown up in the neighborhood and John had, too. I mean, John grew up just on the other side of Keeneland, uh, and, and so for us to then end up there at Calumet Farm trying to do something good, you know--

SMITH: I imagine, uh, it was difficult when you realized you couldn't do everything you wanted to do.

SWITZER: Right. Right.

SMITH: What do you think about, um, what happened to Calumet and how would you describe that in terms of its impact on the industry or what 22:00it might say about the industry when it collapsed?

SWITZER: I don't think it had any, any impact, uh, negative or positive on the industry really. I think that if there was anything, it was the death of Alydar.

SMITH: Okay. He was the leading sire still at that time?

SWITZER: Um-hm. Um-hm. Um, fortunate that the other stallions that had some value to them--Wild Again, um, Secreto, et cetera--got placed at other farms was beneficial, uh, but I don't think, you know, people looked at it as a business. Maybe the insiders were very disappointed that the family, Mr. Lundy, let it occur; let this happen.

SMITH: Um-hm. Um-hm. And then, of course, the impact on the family was 23:00pretty extreme.

SWITZER: Yeah. That was an absentee ownership situation unfortunately. The children were kept well-removed from any decision making down there. Mr. Lundy made them all and then to see the family have to fight.

SMITH: Well, this is kind of an aside, but where is he now?

SWITZER: He's here. He's out of prison.

SMITH: Okay. And he works in this area now?

SWITZER: Don't know what he's doing, uh, but I have seen him at the horse sales.

SMITH: Really?


SMITH: Interesting. Okay. Well, um, something else that come up, um, when I was looking at the book, too, uh, I don't think this was related directly to Calumet but it involved Robey and others in the industry, and that was, um, and maybe this is part of BOPTROT--when that, there were lobbyists for the horse industry, um, who were accused of bribing 24:00legislators. Was that happening around the same time? Do you recall that?

SWITZER: No. No. That--BOPTROT was--hmm.

SMITH: Uh, late eighties, early nineties.

SWITZER: I want to think that it was prior to the Calumet problem, and that was when a gentleman by the name of Jay Spurrier was part of the Racing Commission and was a lobbyist for the Standardbred industry. Um, BOPTROT was not about the Thoroughbred industry. We got drug into it because we're in the horse business.

SMITH: Right.

SWITZER: Um, and Lyle Robey was, um, he was the chairman of the Racing Commission if I'm not mistaken.

SMITH: Right. The Racing Authority at that point.

SWITZER: Well, it was commission then. They changed the name authority just this year or just this administration. Um, Governor Fletcher, you 25:00know, in a move to get a resignation of all the commission members did away with the commission and created an authority. But, um, um--

SMITH: But Robey was chair of that?

SWITZER: Lyle was chairman of the Kentucky Racing Commission during the BOPTROT thing.

SMITH: Okay. Okay. And that was then why--

SWITZER: And they never found anything that Mr. Robey, if I'm not mistaken, that he did any wrong-doing at Calumet Farm. He was legal counsel, um, for them, but the only people that I think were charged were J.T. and Gary Matthews.

SMITH: Okay. And both of them served some prison time.


SMITH: Is that correct? Okay. Okay. Well, we'll move on from Calumet then. But if you think of anything, um--for those of us, you know, 'cause you were kind of outside the industry Calumet does have this 26:00sort of, um, amazing legend to it.

SWITZER: One of the things that we did even while we were in the bankruptcy when we went to sell all the horses is we walked the horses to the sales grounds. Now not many farms live that close to Keeneland that can do that but to save money, um--again, no guarantee that the van companies were going to get paid--so we hand-walked all the horses; took down the fence and walked through the pastures across the road to the sales grounds.

SMITH: Hmm. People that worked, uh, at the farm, um, do you know what ever happened to some of them? Did they get dispersed to other farms?

SWITZER: Oh, yeah. In fact, uh, the one person that I got to know because of Calumet Farm was Sandy Hatfield. Uh, Sandy was broodmare manager--(clears throat)--at Calumet Farm, and she's now the stallion 27:00manager at Three Chimneys Farm.

SMITH: Okay. I think she's on my list actually.

SWITZER: She, um, Sandy went from Calumet--if I'm not mistaken--she went from there to Gainsborough Farm, um, managed the stallions at Gainsborough and then from Gainsborough went to Three Chimneys Farm. She's quite a, quite a, a great horsewoman. She's originally from Oklahoma. She brought her horse and came to Murray State University and, and, uh, went through their equine program at Murray State, um, and started from the ground up in this industry, it's what she wanted to do, and now she's one of the most well-respected, uh, horse people in our industry.

SMITH: Is it unusual for a woman to be a stallion manager?

SWITZER: It is. Yes. In fact, I think that, um, that Sandy is the only one in Central Kentucky. There may be a, a lady in Florida. I'm 28:00not sure about that, but I'm quite sure that Sandy was the first. I'm pretty sure about that. She may correct me, but, um--

SMITH: All right. Well, I'll, uh, I'm pretty sure she is because somebody else mentioned her as being a stallion manager.

SWITZER: Yeah. Most of the other folks that were at the farm Mr. de Kwiatkowski kept on. Uh, and most of them were the maintenance-type people and stuff. Uh, when all the stallions sold you know there was no need for a stallion manager at the farm so, uh, I guess, I think Sandy was probably the only one in a management position that moved on.

SMITH: Okay. Okay. Had she been there very long?

SWITZER: I don't remember how long Sandy had been at Calumet.

SMITH: That's a question for her.

SWITZER: Yeah. And actually the person that hired her at Three Chimneys Farm, Dan Rosenberg, worked at Calumet Farm, but that was prior to, uh, J.T.


SMITH: Okay. Okay. And Calumet today, um, it's being maintained by--

SWITZER: By Mr. de Kwiatkowski's children. Uh, he has the one daughter who, uh, resides there.

SMITH: Is it, uh, an active Thoroughbred farm--

SWITZER: Oh, yeah.

SMITH: --at this point?

SWITZER: It is and, uh, it's doing more commercial than private. Calumet Farm was always a private farm. They didn't take on boarders. That's their--J.T. did when he got involved with some of the folks like Mr. Miglietti and Mr. Gotti and a few other folks--but it was mostly just going to be a private ----------(??); commercial in the fact that they did have some stallions, Secreto and, uh, Alydar, Wild Again. Uh, Mr. Allen who was the owner of Wild Again kept mares there at Calumet Farm, and, uh, Secreto was owned by, um--hmm, can't think 30:00of it--but anyway, that person had some mares there at the farm. So it was semi-private, commercial. Uh, today, it's more commercial as a boarding industry, a boarding business, excuse me.

SMITH: Okay. Is that more common now than, I mean--it seems like as I've been reading my history of that you've gotten more into that and more away from private farms.

SWITZER: Private? Oh, yeah. Yeah. Commercial is, uh, um, much more prevalent. I'd say it's 90, 95 percent of the industry.

SMITH: Hmm. Okay. Okay. We'll, uh, move off of Calumet and, um, talk about what happened to you next. So you finished up with Calumet. Is that pretty much after the sale of the farm?

SWITZER: Um-hm. And it was right after that that, uh, John Ward contacted me to see if I would be interested in applying for the job of executive director of this association.


SMITH: Now was John on the board?

SWITZER: John was on the board. John is one of the original board members. That's how much respect the industry has for him and has stayed on him. Uh, we tested our friendship, um--I have to think back here--two, four years ago. Um, John would had never served as the president of this organization even though he was one of the founders and had been on the board for, forever and ever, and I convinced him it was time that he did that. He said, "Now we're going to test our friendship really now. Here we go again." (laughs) But, of course, we got along fine and, uh, he served two years as our president, and, um, I'm trying to think if we had anything real controversial going on during his administration. Um, I don't remember.

SMITH: Four years ago?


SMITH: Yeah. Um, now is it, uh, do you have other--I think I, I saw 32:00the list of your board members, and I saw Alice Chandler was still on there. Now she was one of the original as well, so is this longevity, uh, common for this group?

SWITZER: Well, it is, and actually, uh, it creates a bit of a problem for us. Uh, and I've tried to figure out a way to get new blood into our board, uh, young people in particular. Uh, we do have a democratic elected board, uh--

SMITH: Elected by the membership?

SWITZER: It's selected by the membership, and, um, sometimes it's difficult to get people to run for the board because they're concerned that they may not get elected and then they're embarrassed. Uh, some of the organizations will, uh, have nominations for, uh, places for ten people and they'll run ten people, um, and we don't do that. In fact, 33:00our by-laws say that we have to have, um, one person to run against each incumbent. So each year we'll have five owners and let's say that they're current board members. We will have to find five non-current people who aren't on our board to run against them.


SWITZER: Um, and with all--like in politics--it's very difficult to unseat an incumbent.

SMITH: Absolutely.

SWITZER: Right? It's no different with our board. It's also, um, difficult to get the young people elected to our board because they don't have the name recognition, they haven't been around as long, uh, and because our membership is worldwide, uh, at a little bit 34:00disadvantage. You know, 80 to 85 percent of our membership is right here in Kentucky, but we do have members in all but about five states in the United States and we do have members in, uh, Australia, New Zealand, South America, South Africa, France, England, Ireland, uh, and, and they may or may not be as connected with the up and coming folks. Um, so about four years ago, five years ago I proposed to the board to do a new class, another classification of directors and that would be a person who has never served on the board before, and they run for the full board but the top two that are not elected to the board fall into that new category.


SMITH: Okay.

SWITZER: Okay? So that's a way of trying to get fresh young people in. Then they serve for three years and then they have to run for a regular seat. I'll say that word regular seat. A different classification, a class one, two or three position. It's, it's difficult to get them elected to those positions, too, the same thing even though they can put on their bio that they've served the past three years on the board.

SMITH: It's still tough to--

SWITZER: It's still tough. It's still tough to do, and there are some wonderful people out there that, uh, been able to get in for those three years but then they're not getting re-elected that, uh, are gonna be the future of this industry. So that, that's, that's my biggest concern today, you know. Um, I don't know when I'm going to retire. Uh, I'm sixty-two years old, so it's not, it's in the realm of 36:00possibilities that three, four, five years I might. I, I may carry on like Mr. Bassett. (Smith laughs) If I would be so lucky, I don't know, uh, but who's coming up behind me? Who's coming up on our board to take this industry on down the road, um, and I don't have the answer.

SMITH: Um-hm. Does most of the turnover come when somebody resigns?

SWITZER: No. No. The turnover is, uh, if you don't get re-elected, and it, it's quite unusual that an incumbent doesn't get reelected.

SMITH: Um-hm. Or that they resign?

SWITZER: Or that they resign and, and, uh, gosh--I'm trying to think-- have we had a re-, we may. I can't think who it is but we may have had one resignation in my fourteen years.

SMITH: Oh. Well, then these people seem to feel pretty committed to the organization?


SWITZER: They are, um, and they are the people who have been the movers and shakers and decision makers and stuff, but, but still they're getting along in the tooth like I am.

SMITH: That's right. Well, I think that's probably not unusual in other areas as well, but, uh, trying to bring new people in when you have such a stellar group of, um, accomplished, committed older generation.


SMITH: It's, um, kind of a lap there. Do you think you'd lose some of the interest of the younger people?

SWITZER: No. I don't think at this point in time it's losing. Uh, we, we do have a couple on our board right now that, uh, I think are going to be leaders down the road. Um, I actually believe that the younger generation today--and not just in our industry--are not wanting to take 38:00on leadership roles, leadership responsibilities.

SMITH: Hmm. Why is that?

SWITZER: And, and I think, it'll evolve. I mean, it's going to, tell you what will bring this thing together is unfortunately a catastrophe, an MRLS like we went through. That woke a lot of people up. A lot of people jumped, raised a lot of money, raised over a million, million two to do research on what we had no idea what was causing our problem, but everybody jumped in the canoe together. After they realized that they weren't the only one having this problem--there was a fear factor there.

SMITH: Right.

SWITZER: Everybody jumped in the same canoe and, um, some of the younger people as well, of course. The, uh, the organization--and, and I take 39:00this as a compliment--that they give me a pretty free hand to not just run the association but make decisions for the association particularly when it's dealing with legislative issues or industry issues that we need to get involved in, and I think part of that is because of--I would hope--a respect that I've been around this industry fifty-plus years and I have a knowledge of it where my predecessors did not, um, and they do now. I don't make decisions unless my executive committee at least knows all about what's going on. We can't always get, call a board meeting in a timely manner, so we use the executive committee to do a lot of that. We use committees on an as need basis. Now maybe I've created the problem by not having more committee meetings, putting the people in the industry--not necessarily board members but non-board 40:00members--on the committees which I have done from time to time, on some issues, uh, so that then we can get more involvement of the board members and the industry members and stuff.

SMITH: Would the, uh--I've been reading about your new, uh, task force on, um, oh, shoot, sales integrity.

SWITZER: Sales integrity? Um-hm.

SMITH: Is that, now that was created out of this group?

SWITZER: No. That was created out of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the national group.

SMITH: National group.

SWITZER: Right. Um, we have representation on that task force, once again, John Ward, he's--(laughs)--he's in so many of 'em. He's like me, he doesn't know how to say no. We sometimes need to learn to say that word. Uh, but, uh, I mean, John is on it. Our past president, Bill Landis, is on that, uh, integrity task force. I'm trying to think of some other directors that might be there. Stuart Brown is an 41:00advisor, Dr. Stuart Brown, so, you know, we're involved in that.

SMITH: Okay. But, um, well I guess since you didn't create that committee that wouldn't be a good example of, uh, an instance where you bring some of the other people, non-board members into the process?

SWITZER: No. An example of that would go back to the MRLS situation that we had in 2001, 2002. Uh, we decided that we needed a task force to deal with the issue and that we needed a wide range of expertise on it, so we brought in farm managers to the task force that were not necessarily on our board. We, we brought in veterinarians. We brought in USDA folks. We brought in, um, state vet's office. We brought in folks from the diagnostic lab, folks from the Gluck Center, four from 42:00the College of Agriculture, uh, ag communications, um, and developed this task force that just in a few hours' notice we could convene. And that group, uh, worked for about a year and a half during the MRLS crisis, um, dealing with the different issues and, where are we heading here and where are we heading there? Stuff like that.

SMITH: Um, let's talk a little bit about that. Um, you mentioned before that that was one of the most serious issues you've ever had to deal with, that--


SMITH: Um, when did you realize that this was going to be a crisis?

SWITZER: The Sunday morning after the Kentucky Derby that Monarchos had won. Monarchos was trained by John Ward.

SMITH: Okay.

SWITZER: (laughs) He keeps popping up, doesn't he?



SMITH: But that's okay.

SWITZER: We, my wife and I, uh, went to a brunch at Jonabell Farm, and when we walked in--I didn't know anything about it, hadn't heard 43:00anything on the news--but when we walked in, I was greeted by, um, I'm not sure who at this point that said, "Are you aware that we've got a problem with abortions?" And I said, "No. What's--tell me." "Well, we don't know." Blah, blah, blah. So, that was my first introduction to MRLS was at that Derby brunch. It was a solemn occasion even though John and Donna Ward and the Oxleys that owned Monarchos attended the brunch and everybody was pleased for them, this that and the other, there was a, a bit of, uh, apprehension in the air, a bit of concern. Early on, um, as I found out later, there was a reluctance to talk about mares that were aborting on, on individuals' farms because they didn't realize the, uh, the magnitude of it. They thought it might 44:00have been just isolated at their farm, and they were concerned from an economic standpoint that they would lose their boarders, blah, blah, blah, I think. And so once the veterinarians started talking to each other, uh--this practitioner works farm A, this practitioner works farm B, et cetera. Once they got to talking to each other because they were on the front line and farm managers and farm owners were saying, what's wrong doc? And doc didn't know, that created, uh, friction for one thing. But anyway, the practitioners started talking to each other, and they realized that this was not an isolated situation. This was happening all over Central Kentucky. So then there was a little bit of a feeling among the farm managers and owners that, uh, we're all in the same boat. We need to work together and, and, uh, it's not an isolated situation, and, uh--


SMITH: The task force that was created here, was that the, the only coordinating group that was put together during that crisis?

SWITZER: Yeah. It was. Uh, we, we broke off into smaller groups such as folks in the diagnostic lab in the Gluck Center, I met with them weekly. Um, all the time we were trying to figure out what the unknown is; what, you know, what is happening. Uh, I spent more time on television, national television--uh, which is something I wish I'd never had to do but we did and part of it was, uh, and I took a course from the ag communications department on how to talk. That was one of the biggest problems that we had was lack of communication, uh, and 46:00what to say and maybe what not to say.

SMITH: Um-hm.

SWITZER: Um, the message that I was delivering was, "We don't know what the problem is but we've got to handle it. We're going to get a handle on it, and you should not be concerned about your mares being in Kentucky," because there were people sending, uh, advertising, spending money, advertising dollars in our trade publications say, "Get out of Kentucky." We don't have this problem in Florida. Or we don't have this problem. Whatever's happening up there, get out. Well, there's going to be a heck of an economic, negative economic impact. In fact, one study that the University of Louisville did on it was a five hundred million dollar negative impact on our industry by losing 23 percent of our foal crop.

SMITH: Oh, my.

SWITZER: Uh, but, uh, it--you don't realize the significance of this industry until you start getting calls from NBC, CNN, New York Times 47:00for interviews, et cetera, that a little old place down there in Kentucky that does nothing but raise horses, they're having a problem. So we are significant. That shows it, that we're a significant industry, so I spent an awful lot of time during that period, uh, being interviewed, uh, unfortunately by the national media and stuff on the issue. Um, calls from people telling us, here's what the problem is. It's the jet stream. Uh, it's the, uh, telephone towers. Uh, I saw two people walking out into a field of--and they would give some kind of an ethnic background.

SMITH: Um-hm.

SWITZER: Uh, it's in the water. Um, God got involved in it. Um, all these, these different things, and of course, you know, we said, "Look, 48:00we've got to do this from a scientific way." People were so concerned- -and this is the way, you know, it's said that sometimes a catastrophic situation brings the industry together--is that we had, we had no money to pay for research. I say no money. We did not have a foundation for example. We wanted to start getting some research done, and you've got to pay somebody to do that research. We had about twelve guys get together and raise $1.2 million dollars in a period of weeks so that we and, and we had a meeting, uh, with those fellows and the dean of the College of Agriculture, and one of the farm managers got up and said, "Dean, you got to start this research, and our farm will guarantee the money," knowing that we were gonna probably, the industry was going to come together and we'd raise that money. So they immediately started 49:00with, uh, doing some research and trying to figure this thing out. Um, to this day we don't know definitively what causes it. We're 99 percent sure that we know that the eastern tent caterpillar plays a role in it such that we can manage now the eastern tent caterpillar should we get another big population growth of the eastern tent caterpillar which we will in about eighteen more years.

SMITH: Um-hm.

SWITZER: It's a cycular thing.

SMITH: Right.

SWITZER: Uh, that we can deal with it.

SMITH: Hmm. So even though you know that there's a cause and effect there, but you don't know exactly what?


SMITH: Interesting. They still doing research on, into it?

SWITZER: We are. We, we've got one project left that we're dealing with because now that we, the folks feel confident that we can manage the situation--in other words, keep the mares out of the fields or 50:00control the caterpillar--um, we are, we are, uh, funding some research to develop a natural occurring virus that is naturally occurring in the eastern tent caterpillar and that's what keeps the populations cycular. And we have, um, this year we didn't have very many. Um, we're trying to develop that virus such that we would be able to inject that virus into a tent caterpillar nest. It would spread throughout the canopy of the tree, and it would keep the population down. Um, it's my understanding that they have done a similar project or developed a similar virus in Brazil that deals with a similar-type caterpillar that 51:00infests the, uh, soybean crops.


SWITZER: So we--this is our last project. Now it's going to be a long- term type thing because develop the virus, then we've got to go through all the regulatory processes and the FDA and the environmental regs and the USDA and this, that and the other, but, uh, it's something that our folks that, um, oversee our foundation think that it's worth the, the effort so we're doing that.

SMITH: What was the, um, I don't know if you know how many mares were impacted by this?

SWITZER: We lost 23 percent of our foal crop.

SMITH: Twenty-three percent.

SWITZER: And we produce 30 percent of all the Thoroughbreds in North America here in Kentucky, so we produce between ninety-five hundred and ten thousand foals a year. So we lost twenty-three hundred, twenty- five hundred foals.

SMITH: Now you said that U of L had estimated what the economic impact 52:00was. Can you put that in more, um, practical terms? Did, what did this do to some of the farms or to the industry as a whole?

SWITZER: Um, I don't think we lost any of our farms. Uh, I know that a few of the farms lost some permanent boarders, and they're slowly but surely starting to get those boarders back because our mare population, uh, today is back where it was prior to 2001. But it was just that, uh, you know, you lose twenty-three hundred, twenty-five hundred foals which is your cash crop, so we had folks that in 2002, 2003 did not have a yearling crop to sell.


SWITZER: They didn't have their total yearling crop.


SMITH: Right.

SWITZER: You know, they didn't, I don't know that anyone lost a 100 percent. Now there were some owners who boarded their horses here and they might have boarded two or three and lost all of them, so they lost a 100 percent of their crop to sell. One of the things that came out of this is in working with, uh, the American Horse Council in Washington, horses are not considered for--eligible for disaster relief that the cattle industry is if there's a drought. Uh, the citrus growers this year got relief because they lost part of their crop--

SMITH: Right.

SWITZER: --um, of oranges, grapefruits, et cetera in Florida, California. Horses have never been eligible for that. With the help of Senator McConnell, uh, we were able to lobby Congress to make some emergency loans available to some of our folks. Unfortunately, only five people qualified because the requirements were so stringent. In 54:00order for us to get it passed, it ended up that only about five people qualified for it, but we helped five people. To this day, we are still trying to get language in the, um, the Ag Bill in Congress to make us eligible for disaster relief. Um, has created a, an interesting segue, I guess--I don't know maybe segue's not the right word. Uh, my wife accuses me of killing the English language, Kim, which is another story that I, I'm going to throw in here and you can use it any way you want to, uh, in a minute--but we have had to deal in our industry with the issue of the slaughter of horses for human consumption.


SWITZER: Um, I'm making myself a note here.

SMITH: Okay.

SWITZER: And in dealing with that issue, it's, it's, it's quite a, um, divisive issue within our industry. Uh, it becomes an emotional 55:00issue. Um, our board is split fifty-fifty really on the thing, and if you get down and talk about, um, the real nuts and bolts, there are those that don't want to hear about those nuts and bolts. Um, but, what one of the things that trying to get the federal disaster relief language in the Ag Bill is I've been approached by members of Congress, a member of Congress, who is not from Kentucky who, uh, says, "David, your membership and your industry is sending a mixed message. You're saying that you don't want horses to be able to be slaughtered for human consumption, but you want federal disaster relief the same as the livestock industry gets. You can't have it both ways." I said, "Well, 56:00I want it both ways." (laughs)

SMITH: Um-hm.

SWITZER: Please. What can we do here? Um, and I'm sure that there are people, uh, that support the legislation to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption that feel more passionately about that than being able to get federal disaster relief over here in the event that we have another MRLS which we're going to have another something. We're agriculture.

SMITH: Right.

SWITZER: Uh, and yet there are those over here who lost an awful lot on MRLS who think that's a much more important priority than the slaughter issue. What is the answer? I don't know what the answer is. Um, but that's where one piece of, uh, legislation can affect something else over here that--

SMITH: Certainly.

SWITZER: You know?

SMITH: Yeah. I've, um, the issue of horse slaughter, I've, I've talked 57:00with most of the people I've interviewed about that, and you do have some very strong feelings one way or the other. It seemed to focus mostly on, on just the emotional reaction to the idea of a horse being transported in terrible conditions and then killed for food.

SWITZER: It's true, uh, and unfortunately there's some mis-, um, misinformation out there. Um, just last week I was talking with the, uh, my counterpart with the Association of Equine Practitioners who went with a couple of his members to Mexico to the border to witness horses being transported from the United States into Mexico for the purpose of being slaughtered. They were all delivered from Amarillo, Texas, where there is a holding stockyard for these animals. They were all transported on single-decked trucks. They're being transported 58:00based on legislation that we were successful in getting passed about four years ago that dealt with the transportation of animals whether it be to slaughter or whether it be to a rodeo that there are certain specifications that they have to meet. They also have to be offloaded after a trip of so many hours, fed and watered.

SMITH: Oh, okay.

SWITZER: That information is not being disseminated. People that still think they are being shipped in double-decker busses or trucks and that there's animals that have broken legs, et cetera, and that it's not very humane. Well, there's laws to hopefully prevent that, but the problem is that we don't have law enforcement officers, enough of them, that they're out there trying to find the bank robbers and don't have 59:00time to stop every, um, livestock truck going down the road to check to see if those are horses and being humanely ----------(??). So there is some information that's not being disseminated. It is a very emotional thing. The horse was very important to the founding of this country. Uh, the cow--was the cow? Yeah. The cow was a food product.

SMITH: That's right.

SWITZER: Um, so, I mean, we just--they just had language put into a bill, um, the Ag Appropriations Bill for 2008 appropriations, 2007/2008 appropriation that was going to, uh, un-fund USDA inspectors at all equine facilities in the United States. The purpose was to stop USDA 60:00inspectors from inspecting horse meat going to slaughter or being slaughtered; therefore it can't be shipped out of the country. No country will take it unless it's been federally inspected in the United States, but that's not what it did. It would have shut down our quarantine facilities that allow import and export of horses, all horses, in the United States. It would have stopped the Breeders' Cup. It would have stopped the Kentucky Derby because foreign horses weren't, aren't going to come. Uh, fortunately it's just a one-year appropriations bill, uh, so if we don't get it defeated, um, this horse park would lose 50 percent of its business.

SMITH: Oh. What will they do for 2010?

SWITZER: Well, because it's a single year appropriation, we're not concerned about 2010, yet. We'll have to deal with that in the next appropriations bill, uh, but those are some points that we made to our 61:00congressional delegation. Well, the intent, um, was to deal with the slaughter issue, but they threw the baby in the bath-water all together.

SMITH: That happens--

SWITZER: Yes, it does.

SMITH: --more often than not.

SWITZER: Uh, quite a shock to members of the Kentucky Congressional Delegation when we pointed this out to them, and I'm not going to pick on any one but two of them sat on the subcommittee of appropriations when this language was presented to 'em.

SMITH: Hmm. Well, you've got your work cut out for you then? (laughs)

SWITZER: Well, at the moment we have an understanding that it was not supposed to be any broader than the slaughter issue, so Congressman Whitfield who was a big proponent on the slaughter deal has issued an amendment that would take all the language out of Section 738 of the Appropriations Bill and insert language, and the insertion language 62:00is dealing with the inspection of the animals going to slaughter; that there would not be--

SMITH: Okay, so it's more specific?

SWITZER: Yeah. There would not be funding for those inspectors from the USDA. That's where we are today. Now if that amendment fails, we're back to square one, and the people who are opposed to the bill to not allow the slaughter of horses will try and defeat Congressman Whitfield's bill.

SMITH: Um-hm.

SWITZER: And if they do then we either--then they're going to try and remove all the language in Section 738 so it's a non-issue on both sides of the front. Well, the Humane Society of the United States is not going to like that, so the dangerous thing that we're dealing with is that we could end up with the current language in there that would 63:00stop three hundred million dollars worth of exports is what we do from Kentucky annually.

SMITH: Oh, my. (laughs) Even for one year that's--

SWITZER: That's--yeah. Well, that's right.

SMITH: --that's huge--

SWITZER: I mean, that's one year. That's exactly right, and we have, we have put an awful lot of sweat and, and, and, uh, sweat equity and work into, uh, building our international market over the past five years to that degree. Um, so hopefully the--

SMITH: Hopefully wiser heads will, will figure it out.

SWITZER: Exactly, yeah. Exactly.

SMITH: Um, let's go back to when you first came to KTA when, when you took the job. What was the job you were expecting? How would you describe what, what you thought you were getting into?

SWITZER: I have no idea. (laughs) I knew I was going to get paid twice monthly. (Smith laughs) No. Um, I knew the background. I had been 64:00a member of this association while I was an insurance agent, uh, and a bloodstock agent, and I knew that, uh, many of the past people like Mr. Nuckols who I had mentioned earlier who was kind of a person that I learned an awful lot from, from, about the industry, uh, John Greathouse, um, that was--or are you asking who are some people that might have influenced me--his daughter, Mr. Greathouse's daughter and I went to school as Mr. Nuckols' daughter and I. We were all in the same class, uh, and so I knew some background and, and the fact that this association got involved in things that were important to the industry and had such strong board members at that time, I mean, Alice was active, Alice Chandler, was active. Dr. Gary Lavin was their, was their current president. Claiborne Farm was represented through Dale Hancock. Uh, Dan Walden, um, which is young Ben Walden's father 65:00whom I had, uh, through my association with Dr. Thomas when I first got involved in the business, he and Ben Walden had a, uh, yearling consignment for a couple of years together so I got to know Mr. Walden a little bit there. A little story I'll interject here, one of the first letters that I wrote to our board after coming on the board on an issue, I received it back from Ben Walden. He was now living in Florida--in California but still he was, uh, emeritus status because he was a past president of the association, so e-mailed this letter or sent this letter out to the board and I get it back with more red marks on it than I had ever gotten on a high school English paper. The grammar--and I am terrible to this day, and I'm not ashamed to say my 66:00wife edits almost every letter that I send out today and part of it is because of what Mr. Walden--he was an English major. And he put on the bottom of the letter, he said, "David, before you send another letter out to the membership of the board, send it to me first and I'll be more than happy to edit it for you."

SMITH: Oh, I bet that was crushing.

SWITZER: Well, it was in a way, but, you know, I--(laughs)--so that is one of my fond memories of Ben Walden. There are others, but, uh, that is, that was a fond memory of him. But I felt like, uh, you know, I, I was interested in taking the job because I thought I could give something back to the industry that had been good to me, and I knew I would have strong support. I was probably on the telephone the first, oh, first six months almost weekly with Charlie Nuckols. Um, help me here. What, what do we need a position here? I took the job and the very first day there was a strike of racing at Turfway Park, and, uh, 67:00we had to, we got involved in that even though my president, Dr. Lavin, said, "David, you haven't been around here long enough in your position to get involved. You know, I'll, I'll try and handle this thing." Well, that's not my way of doing things. I had to jump in there, and thank goodness we got things worked out. But there was such strong leadership here that, you know, a monkey could take this job, I think.

SMITH: What were the issues when you came on board? What were the key issues at that time?

SWITZER: Once again it was the, uh, between the KTA and the Kentucky HBPA. The Kentucky HBPA led the strike at Turfway Park and they led a strike at Ellis Park during my first two years being in here. Uh, and then--

SMITH: Now do they have strong membership at tracks?

SWITZER: Again, they say that their membership is anyone who's licensed whether you want to be a member or not, and, uh, because they will--they 68:00can't publicly now because we have it in contracts to boycott racing- -but it just seems that it's folks that follow them and their board members that tend to boycott the entry box at racetracks when they're trying to prove a point. Our group will never boycott, and maybe because of that we don't have a strong negotiating arm. But we feel that our political influence is a strong negotiating arm. We're not going to stop racing in Kentucky, so that's the big difference between the two organizations and that's what I fell into when I first started.

SMITH: And their reasoning for stopping racing is from a negotiating standpoint? Okay.

SWITZER: Yeah. Yeah.

SMITH: Um, the HBPA is, uh, how old is that? That's an old--


SWITZER: Oh, it's real old. Yeah. And then they have membership--when I started they had membership in every state--now they have competitors as well as, uh, the KTA in this state. The other states, there's only, there's another horsemen's group and there's not the HBPA. The HBPA does some good, good things. Uh, people that, uh, need medical assistance, people that are down on their luck, uh, maybe have lost their job and need something to tide them over until they get to the next job, they provide the benevolence for that--

SMITH: Um-hm. Um-hm.

SWITZER: --which is very good. Uh, our organization, I guess, for the past at least eight years, um, have contributed part of our revenue from the racetrack back to the HBPA to help fund some of those benevolence projects. We don't get credit for it, but that's okay. You know, I, I've got a sign behind my desk that says, "It's amazing what you can achieve when you don't care who gets the credit." I, some 70:00of my board members don't--they understand it, they understand me, but they think that we need to pat ourselves on the back a little more and toot our horn. But, you know--

SMITH: Yeah. No. I understand that quite a bit. Um, so how would you describe the difference--I mean, if you read the mission statements of KTA and KTOB and, um, any other organization--(laughs)--uh, they seem pretty similar. How would you des-, what do you see as the difference, the main difference?

SWITZER: The fact that we have an international membership and that we have an international business.

SMITH: Okay. That's the key?

SWITZER: I think that's what separates us from--my counterpart in Florida does a wonderful job in Florida, um, doesn't have near the export business that we do; same with New York and California. They're all involved in legislative issues within their states and do get involved in some of the issues in, Fl-, in, uh, Washington; uh, maybe 71:00not as much as, as we would. Um, the, the issue that I just spoke about on the appropriations of, uh, revenue to the USDA, I spent, um, all of one Friday dealing with that issue only with members of Congress and started back on Monday and Tuesday with the same thing, and I would say that my counterparts might have sent a letter. And the reason is it's such a big impact in Central Kentucky in the Thoroughbred industry. Now I know that members of the American Quarter Horse Association and some of the other breeds got involved in it as well, but when there's a big thing dealing with the horse industry, J. Hickey from the American Horse Council, he picks the telephone up and he calls me and says, "KTA needs to get involved in this." Blah, blah, blah. "Here's what we need to do. Here's our game plan."


SMITH: Now when, um--let me back up a little bit on two fronts here. What I wanted you to address, um, again, how KTA was formed and, um- -shoot. Now, I lost the other question. (laughs) So start there and it'll come back to me.

SWITZER: Well, the KTOB was started, what? In the sixties?


SWITZER: You told me that.

SMITH: Yes. (laughs) That's what it says on the Web site.

SWITZER: Yeah. Uh, and, and it was the breeders got together and said, we need to have a, an organization to represent us in the state capitol and eventually in Washington, uh, to protect our industry; protect us because of legislation, good, bad legislation, and then, uh, we need to expand our market so we need the organization to help promote it. Um, some of my prior, my predecessors--uh, the most recent was, 73:00uh, Mr. Gene McClain who came from the Lexington Herald Leader and they thought that we needed a, he might be able to help with a better presence in the media of getting our messages out. Uh, the perception that people have of this industry is unfortunate, is wrong, but it's a perception and we have to deal with it. Um, prior to that was, uh, Nick Nicholson who is the president of Keeneland now, um, past executive director of The Jockey Club. That's where he went from the KTA/KTOB. Uh, Nick was, uh, on staff with, uh, Senator Ford, and, um, I'm not sure who made the first contact--Henry White or whomever with Nick. They thought they needed someone to manage the association that had a good political background, and so they hired Nick and, uh, very successful with the organization for his tenure. Um, prior to that 74:00was--yep I'm probably going to lose it--Dave Hooper, I believe, uh, and Dade--Dave had, uh, an industry background as well as a communications background. All of these people only spent about four years, five years in their positions. I think I'd mentioned that earlier that I've been here now fourteen. There's something wrong with the equation.

SMITH: (laughs) Or something right.

SWITZER: Yeah. And then in the, in the, uh, 1970s there was a, um, an attempt by the Kentucky HBPA to stop the simulcasting of the Kentucky Derby which is the same thing as a boycott, and the Kentucky Derby being the signature race in America if not the world, um, a past chairman of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, Warner Jones, who was chairman of the board of Churchill Downs came to this board and asked for some assistance here. And because there's a 75:00federal law that deals with the majority horsemen's organization, uh, there would be a representative group to speak on behalf of the industry with racetracks. Uh, at that time, it was the Kentucky HBPA. This organization decided to form the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association to separate themselves from the breeders' organization and focus toward the racing side of the industry, and they were successful in getting sufficient signatures from the owners of horses that were going to race on Derby day at Keeneland to become the majority spokesmen's group and they stopped the boycott of the simulcast and the Derby was simulcast. Simulcasting today represents 84 percent of our industry's handle. It was in its infancy back then, but, uh, it could have killed what we, what we enjoy, enjoy today, so we try 76:00and today with the two organizations we have the same membership. All our membership is dues paying, um, which is different than the Kentucky HBPA which they just recognize anybody that's a licensed owner or trainer to be a part of their membership whether you want to or not. But we have a dues structure. Uh, the KTOB still deals with, uh, the breed issues. When I write letters dealing with Congress or dealing with a breed issue, it goes on KTOB stationery. If it's something that's dealing with a racing issue it goes on KTA stationery, uh, but there's really not a whole lot of difference between the two organizations. The governing body is pretty much the same.

SMITH: Okay. Now when, um, uh, I thought of my second question. Now Warner Jones, you were saying was, uh, um, and others involved with 77:00this group felt that you needed somebody with some political savvy. Uh, that seems to, when you came on board did you appreciate the how much you would be involved in the political end of the industry?

SWITZER: Really didn't, and I didn't realize how involved I would be politically but, um, fortunately, I guess, I'm a people person and so--and I'm not uncomfortable talking with strangers whether it be politicians or not and that's what being a lobbyist is all about is building relationships, um, with your elected officials. And so I have no problem going up and just speaking with a total stranger that's newly elected to the thing, and I think the fact that I've got gray hair on my temples now, it helps, too. (Smith laughs) Uh, it, it is sometimes the most frustrating part of this job.

SMITH: Um-hm. Do you think that has, since you started, have you taken 78:00it to another level there in the political world as you've become more involved? Is it more active from a political sense than it was before?

SWITZER: Yeah. I have, I have at least with the past two governors, uh, had a cordial and a good working relationship with both of them; uh, with current governor, Governor Fletcher--excuse me--and, uh, Governor Patton during his administration. Uh, Governor Patton was, um, very helpful to the horse industry. Uh, we shared, um, economic development trips together and, um, have done the same with Governor Fletcher. Uh, neither one of them have a problem picking up the telephone and calling me. A lot of times it was for contributions or help me get some contributions--I don't, I'm not going to say that. But no, they were calling to say, "David, what do you think about this idea, um, et cetera." So from that standpoint I think, yeah, I've stepped up a little 79:00bit. I'm not just dealing with the House and the Senate members.

SMITH: Um, from a political standpoint in terms of legislation when you first came on board, what were some of those issues?

SWITZER: Hmm. Gosh. You're making me tax my mind here to go back fourteen years, uh, what were some of the issues.

SMITH: In the nineties?

SWITZER: You know, I think on a state and federal level both were environmental issues, and one of the things was dealing with waste. That's not a real attractive thing to have to talk about, but let's talk about manure. (Smith laughs) We create an awful lot of it, and, uh, uh, we spent an awful lot of time in Washington dealing with concentrated animal feeding operations which were supposed to be about feed lots, dairies, swine operations and poultry operations. As I 80:00mentioned earlier, we're not eligible for disaster relief because in some instances we're not considered livestock, but they sure threw us in on that one, on livestock. Spent two years trying to educate members of the USDA that were writing these regulations on concentrated animal feeding operations about the horse industry and how we're different than a stockyard, how we're different than a feed lot. We do graze our horses. They do, they are confined for about fifteen minutes a day each day but only to bring them into the barn to look at them to see if there's any injuries or illnesses, this, that and the other and then back out into the fields. Well, they originally, the way they wrote their language that fifteen minutes over a period of a week constituted a confinement such that we would have been subject to 81:00these concentrated animal feeding operations and how we dealt with our manure. Um, we were impacted by, by the regulations because we now have to fence off our water sources.


SWITZER: We can't, the horses can't drink the water that's going through the streams--not supposed to. But yet a cow can poop in a pond and drink out of the pond, and they don't say anything about that. But anyway, so that was, uh, that, that has been, that was a, a major thing that we were able to get ourselves written out of those regulations, and it saved our farmers a considerable amount of money. Many of them don't know what all we went through to, to get that accomplished, but again, we don't need that credit. Uh, the same thing with the water quality regs in Kentucky, how they impacted us. Um, I think one of 82:00the big accomplishments that this board had done in the past, uh, three or four years is that we are one of thirty-one states that have passed uniform medication rules so that all our medication--which used to be very liberal in Kentucky for racing--uh, is now the same as what is done in New York and Florida and California major racing jurisdictions, and that was a battle.

SMITH: Now, why was the, why was the--

SWITZER: Again, our friends at the Kentucky HBPA thought that our medication rules were actually the best even though no one else had the same liberal rules that we did. They felt that giving medication on race day, uh, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, there was nothing wrong with it, and so they, they fought it and will still fight it.


SMITH: When I first started doing research and you go online and find all these interesting, odd little things, and I found a letter that, uh, Seth Hancock had written, um, and several other people, uh, you know, major owners had signed it saying that he didn't that- -complaining about how awful our rules were; they were too lax and practically threatening to, you know, not race in Kentucky and, uh, because they were so bad. Um, was so--

SWITZER: It, it was actually Arthur.

SMITH: Okay.

SWITZER: Arthur Hancock that did that. He's Seth's brother, older brother. He's very passionate about it. Um, but we were successful in getting those regs passed through the process here in Frankfort.

SMITH: But was there a split within the industry as to what--

SWITZER: The only split--

SMITH: --constituted?

SWITZER: The only split were some of the members of the Kentucky HBPA 84:00just didn't wanna do away with it. I think the owners are happy. Um, we're not having any problem with racing in Kentucky. We'd like to have a few more horses running. Um, we've got the Polytrack surface at Turfway Park and at Keeneland. Have--they've shown to be very horse friendly, very few break-downs than what we were occurring. I think eventually everyone will be on a synthetic surface. May not all be Polytrack of course, but it, it's going to be, it's going to be a synthetic surface.

SMITH: Um-hm.

SWITZER: Um, we're going to be pushed toward that. The medication, uh, it's--along with the Polytrack--they don't need the medication as much as they used to. I think that's, that's probably been most recent, a, a real big feather in the industry's cap, being able to get those medication laws changed.

SMITH: And KTA's role in that, in making those changes?


SWITZER: Well, we had to talk with legislators in order to get the regs changed, and, uh, you know, there were a few that, that, uh, opposed what we were trying to do but that's because their constituents are members of the Kentucky HBPA that called and were vocal on it.

SMITH: Um, now there are all these other horse organizations out there but, from what you're describing, KTA seems to be the leading voice at least in the political realm for horse-related issues. Is that accurate?

SWITZER: In Kentucky?

SMITH: Um-hm.

SWITZER: Yeah. I'd say that, uh--you know, I'm not going to say that the Kentucky HBPA doesn't have some friends in Frankfort--

SMITH: Oh, certainly.

SWITZER: --because they certainly do, but yeah. I'd say that, uh, when we talk about the Thoroughbred industry it's--

SMITH: And that's a role that you've cultivated, that you've--

SWITZER: Well, I think--

SMITH: --it's a mission for you?

SWITZER: It's just grown. I mean I think it started as that seed. That was the idea when Charlie Nuckols and Alice Chandler and Warner Jones, 86:00et cetera, started this organization. That's where they wanted some presence in the political realm.

SMITH: Okay.

SWITZER: And they've done that. Um--

SMITH: Prior to that, who was the voice of the industry in Kentucky?

SWITZER: Uh, the John Bells of this world, the Warner Jones, the Charles Nuckols, but it wasn't unified and that's what this did is that brought more than just John Bell, Charlie Nuckols, Warner Jones into the mix. Um, John Bell was very active in the formation of Interstate Horseracing Act in 1974 in Congress. Um, then--and it didn't hurt us that we had Thurston Morton in the Senate who was a friend of the industry's. Um, Wendell Ford when he was there, he became a friend of 87:00the industry. Of course, he was more tobacco, but he's, he's a friend to the horse industry. Um, we have a lot of respect, our, our senators and, uh, congressmen that don't, don't, uh, come from congressional districts that have Thoroughbreds in it like Ron Lewis or, um, um, Ed Whitfield, and, uh, but Senator McConnell and Senator Bunning are friends of ours and, um, Hal Rogers and, of course, Ben Chandler because of being right here in Kentucky or in Central Kentucky. We have good relationships with all of 'em.

SMITH: But before you all became unified it was basically individual voices?


SMITH: What about--of course, it's got different names, the Kentucky Horse Council, uh, no, not that one, the state organization, what is now the Racing Authority and what was once a commission? Um, how does that work with the industry, how does that work with KTA?


SWITZER: Well, we'll lobby the Racing Commission on rules and regulations that they may want to try, they may want to pass and they may want to make changes. For an example, right now we're dealing with one dealing with, uh, claiming rules, and they'll have a public hearing on the regs the 28th of, of August and we will be there to express our opinion on those claiming reg changes.

SMITH: Okay. So they're the, sort of, official state entity that works with these issues, and then you work through--with them?


SMITH: Okay.

SWITZER: Yeah. Um, the, um, I guess the thing that's on the front burner with us now here in the 2007 gubernatorial race is the gaming issue. Uh, not unlike the slaughter issue, there actually are people on both sides in our industry on the fence on that issue.


SMITH: Um-hm.

SWITZER: Uh, but, uh, I think that, um, we are supportive of the Kentucky, uh, Equine Educational Project, the KEEP program. Nick Nicholson and I have talked for a number of years that we need a year- round advocate in Frankfort doing nothing but spending 100 percent of their time talking about the equine industry. We haven't gotten there yet although we were close and then KEEP was formed, and the purpose of KEEP is to educate the people on the, uh, significance of the horse industry.

SMITH: Right.

SWITZER: Uh, so and we support that. Now the, the big issue in our industry for the moment is the gaming issue, uh, and we will be proponents, uh, on, on, the issue. It's interesting. In 1994 or '96, 90:00uh, when the issue first started, this organization was totally opposed to expanded gaming.

SMITH: I've read that, in, uh, different places.

SWITZER: Uh, and we, we spent, uh, money bringing in experts to speak, uh, economists, uh, and this board just didn't want to hear it.

SMITH: What changed their mind?

SWITZER: I think the realization that New York, uh, was going to be a strong competitor for us because they had passed gaming. Now they've passed gaming but they haven't implemented it as far as the Thoroughbred industry is concerned, yet. Um, Pennsylvania is online, and they're going to have, uh, fifty to sixty million dollars in breeders incentive programs. Is that going to lure horses away from Kentucky? Uh, I think that's probably the thing.

SMITH: So what is KTA's official position on it?


SWITZER: We support, uh, alternative gaming at the racetracks, uh, with the understanding that there may have to be one or two or three other facilities as well.

SMITH: Um-hm. Is that, uh, pretty much standard across the industry at this point in terms of what they would support?

SWITZER: Yeah. Those that are in supportive of the issue. There are those that don't, do not support the expanded gaming at all.

SMITH: Any organizations or individuals?

SWITZER: No. Individuals.

SMITH: Individuals.

SWITZER: Individuals. Um, so that's going to be interesting to see how that plays out here in this gubernatorial race because, um, Governor Fletcher has made it, you know, it's black and white. He's opposed to it, and, uh--

SMITH: But he wasn't really before.

SWITZER: No, he wasn't. He was, uh, neutral on--he, he personally did, he personally has never supported the concept, but he has said 92:00he would not interfere in allowing the people to have the opportunity to vote. Uh, now he, since, uh, Steve Beshear has come out in support of the gaming, um, Governor Fletcher feels that by taking the complete opposite that draws a line in the sand between the two.

SMITH: Um-hm. Um-hm.

SWITZER: And so then we've come the conservatives against the liberals.

SMITH: Has that made it much more difficult for the industry to work with Governor Fletcher at this point on other issues?

SWITZER: Well, it, it is difficult when he's not supporting what your all's position, what our position is. Um--

SMITH: But it's not as though--I mean, he has been in supportive of, of your other issues.

SWITZER: Depends on which issue you're talking about there, Kim. (laughs)

SMITH: (laughs) Okay. He went to Chile and he got--

SWITZER: No. Well, we did, we went--

SMITH: --the breeders incentive.

SWITZER: Exactly, and that's another thing that people in the industry 93:00don't really realize is he is actually the person that got us the breeders incentive program. I don't care what anybody else wants to say. It basically happened on a paper napkin in a concierge floor of a hotel in Chile, um, but again it's amazing what you can achieve. Uh, I was very disappointed that he vetoed our capital project for the renovation of our diagnostic lab which is such a key facility for not only our industry but the bovine industry as well.

SMITH: Now is that at UK?

SWITZER: Right. And it's, it's a, it is the front line of defense against a infectious disease, and it is so antiquated. Um, some of our board members and myself went with the associate dean of the College of Agriculture about three years ago and we visited, uh, Ohio State's laboratory and we visited the laboratory at Purdue. Um, we visited, 94:00um, one other one--Ohio State, Purdue. I guess we did two in Indiana- -and, um, they're, they're modern and yet they don't have anywhere near the number of admissions that we do or submissions that we do here. So we looked at a twenty-two million dollar renovation of the facility. We had to get the money out of the General Assembly, and we worked with, um, Representative Moberly who chairs the Appropriations Committee in the House. We needed the twenty-two million. He asked us if we could take half or a portion of it in one year, fiscal year, and come back the next budget year, two-year cycle, and, and get the rest, and that's the way it was going to pass so we agreed to it. You know, hindsight twenty, twenty we might have been a little bit more forceful because we got the first eight and a half million dollars, and then in the next budget cycle, uh, there was sixteen, I guess sixteen 95:00million. Uh, my math's not right. There's thirteen and a half million for it, and Governor Fletcher vetoed that along with sixty-six other capital projects which are sixty-seven that were on the special call. Uh, he vetoed it, and really, I was really disappointed in that, very disappointed because we had worked so hard to, to get it passed through the House, passed through the Senate and then to go over there. And, uh, he was concerned that, um, doing all of those projects would have affected our bond rating in the state and our borrowing power and the interest rates would be higher, uh, and so he said, "I had to cut some things." And it was not the number one priority at that time for the University of Kentucky. The pharmaceutical building was, and Dr. Todd, you know, he said, "David, I'm--the pharmacy building is our 96:00first priority. You're number two." Actually, we were number seven on the list of capital projects for the university. Uh, he got his pharmacy money and then he elevated us up near the top and said, "We'll go after it here," and then it gets vetoed. So here we are, um, the horse capital of the world, the most significant industry to Kentucky-- and I'm quoting Governor Fletcher when I'm saying those things--and then he vetoed that project and it was pretty disappointing. And it doesn't look like it's going to be on the, uh, the next special session call in August. I guess they've made their agreement; they're only going to deal with one issue, so it's become a political ping-pong ball now.

SMITH: Um-hm. So you've got, uh, that to deal with in the next session.

SWITZER: Have to deal with that in the next session and now the cost has gone up 10 percent a year and so we're three years behind our first estimate, so we're now 30 percent under what we're going to need so we've got to figure out a way to go back to Representative Moberly and, 97:00and explain again, "Okay. It's not thirteen and a half million we need now. We need eighteen million," or whatever we decide that figure is. Yeah. Um, so, you know, Governor Fletcher, yes, he did give us the breeders incentive, but he didn't give us the diagnostic lab and now he's not supporting the gaming and so people in our industry are mixed on--

SMITH: So do you enjoy working the political area?

SWITZER: There are, uh, some very frustrating days. There really are, and I, I think one of the most frustrating things--and, and I mentioned I was in Philadelphia just a few days ago for a legislative conference--and I was talking with a, a national park ranger who was telling us about the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the fact there were fifty-five people in the room and 98:00I think forty-nine signed it, uh, et cetera. And, and he asked why I was in town, and I told him I was there for a legislative convention. And he said, "You know the difference between members of government back when we finally did the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and today?" And I do have an opinion on that, and we ended up agreeing. We don't have statesmen anymore. We have people--and even more so I see a difference. When I started we had, we did not have annual sessions. We've evolved into annual sessions--that's full-time jobs- -and we have more people that are interested in maintaining their job than doing what I think is best for, for the commonwealth. And I know it's very difficult sometimes. Statesmen would do what's in the best interest of everybody. Legislators will do what's in the best interest 99:00of getting re-elected. Now people will argue with that and say, well, they're doing what their constituents want 'em to do. We're forty- eighth in education. This is a sore spot for me. We have not improved in the fourteen years that I've been over in Frankfort. Oh, yeah. We've passed KERA. We're still forty-eight. We got the CATS scores. We're still forty-eight, and, it's, I think it's partly because there are people in our state, House, who they say that education's important but they don't vote that way. And it's not just education although education is a very, very important thing. We're blessed to have a good education program in Fayette County, Jefferson County, Northern Kentucky, but--so I guess my point being is that I'm--the frustration that I have in dealing with legislators and members of Congress as well 100:00is that we have few statesmen.

SMITH: Um-hm. Um-hm. Yes. I understand that.

SWITZER: See, just go back and read that. "We the people." We, not me. We. (laughs)

SMITH: Now when you started with the legislature you had that was back when, uh, probably Eck Rose was head of the Senate.

SWITZER: Um-hm. He was.

SMITH: And who was head of the House? That Clark or--

SWITZER: Uh, Clark.

SMITH: Okay. Who are some of the people you've worked with over there?

SWITZER: Well, Eck Rose became a goo-, became a friend, uh, and actually, uh, mentored me a little bit about some of the things to do, some of the things not to do, showed me some ways to get to the capitol without anybody seeing you, going through some little corridors; things like--I'll, I'll never forget about that. Eck was, that was at the time, uh, when the gaming issue was first evolving. Eck was not supportive of that. He could not understand why anybody in our industry would want to bring the devil into our playground, and, uh, I was walking with him from his office over to the, uh, uh, the capitol 101:00one day and we went through the tunnels and stuff and back through the boiler rooms and this, that and the other. I'll never forget that. I didn't have as much to do with, uh, Representative Clark, uh, over on, on the House side there. Um--

SMITH: Now you worked both chambers, though?

SWITZER: Oh, yeah. Well, you have to work both, and, and again it's--as I said earlier--it's all about building relationships and being able to talk to them. And, and I've been mentored by Judy Taylor who is a, uh, professional lobbyist. I don't consider myself a professional lobbyist. I'm just an association director that happens to be a lobbyist type thing, but, uh, Judy took me under her wings. Uh, she lobbies for the Keeneland Association, and we have the same issues and so, uh, she has mentored me and still mentors me to this day. Uh, 102:00she's not, uh, short on telling me I did something wrong or if I do she'll let me know it. (clears throat) Do something right she says, "You did a good job there," or something like that, but, uh, it was very important that, uh, that I would meet each of the members of the General Assembly, introduce myself. Um, when I do lobby on an issue I present both sides of the issue. That's Judy had taught me that. Now, yes, I'm going to be a little more thorough on the side that I, our organization supports, but I think it's important that they hear both sides; that they know what the opposition is going to say before maybe they hear the opposition say it. Um, it's very important. Trust is very important. Uh, one member of the House that I got to know very well and still do to this day is Roger Thomas who, uh, ended up chairing Ag and Natural Resources, so we have a lot of things in Ag and Natural Resources. Working today with Drew Graham. Drew Graham is 103:00now with the University of Kentucky College of Ag. He was a, the, uh, chair of Ag and Small Business or Natural Resources when he served in the legislature. Um, so you'll have some of your favorites and stuff, but important to always try. And I failed this year, and I apologized to a member of the House just the other night, a freshman that I had not been to visit him, uh, because generally in January of each session that's what I would spend my time is to go introduce myself to the freshmen, give my business card and say, "If there's anything dealing with the horse industry or agriculture and if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call," and do that type of thing. There's a lot of good people over there in Frankfort actually, you know. Um, 104:00it's funny. They all come in with aspirations of being governor as their freshmen legislators.

SMITH: (laughs) A lot of state employees have that same--

SWITZER: I bet. I bet they do.

SMITH: --same attitude. Um, so if you were to describe your job--you said, you know, okay you're not a professional lobbyist but you spend an awful lot of time in that, that realm--um, how would you describe your job today?

SWITZER: Well, I'm a, I'm a manager so I've got five other people on our staff and so I have to manage that. I have to create a budget. Um, I represent the industry, uh, as a spokesperson. Uh, one of the things that, that I have done, uh, is get involved in community activities, and it's a selfish reason for part of it. Part of it is I enjoy giving something back to this community. I serve on an, I've served on a number of boards--United Way, Lexington Arts 105:00Council, uh, Commerce Lexington's Legislative Affairs Committee, I'm currently on the board of the Bluegrass Domestic Violence which is a organization that, uh, serves seventeen counties, and I've taken on the responsibility of campaign chair--which I hate raising money--and we're looking, trying to raise nine and a half million dollars so that we can expand this facility because we were over capacity thirty days after we took over the facility out in rural Fayette County. Um, so I do those things to give something to the community, but at the same time it gives me an opportunity to meet people that I may not meet and eventually the subject of the horse industry comes around and I get to tell the real story; not the perception. You know, we're not 106:00all rich and wealthy people, and I've banged my head against the wall for thirteen years trying to figure out how I can counter that. I've got a demographic study or we have a demographic study, uh, that was done independently by, uh, Dean, Dorton and Ford, an accounting firm here in town--financial firm here in town--that shows that the average income is fifty thousand dollars, the average size of the farm is three hundred and fifty acres. Uh, at that time, they had three--we, uh, they interviewed, uh, five banks in Central Ke-, in Lexington that had three hundred and twenty million dollars on loan. So these aren't rich people. Rich people don't borrow money.

SMITH: (laughs) No. Not that much.

SWITZER: You know, not that much. They were gonna, they can--well, they, they may leverage it, use somebody else's money better than their own, but the perception out there is that everybody's rich, wealthy and this is a hobby. I decided last year that I was going to try a new 107:00tact, and I was gonna s-, and any time that is brought up I'm going to say, "You're right. There are a lot of wealthy people in our business, and we ought to be awful glad that they are because, you know, they could be buying, buying yachts. They could be buying chalets in the south of France. They could be buying a cabin in Aspen. They could be involved in the NFL or the NBA, but you know what? They chose to get involved in the horse industry, and that's why we have a $3.4 billion dollar economic impact on the Commonwealth of Kentucky."

SMITH: That's exactly right.

SWITZER: Now that's my new story. I haven't said it enough times to find out if it's gonna, if it's working or not, yet, but you know, and so they don't--by human nature, if you say something enough times you'll eventually start believing that it's the truth. And so if your perception is that it's rich and wealthy, rich and wealthy, you're not going to change that perception so agree with it. So we're gonna 108:00try, we're trying that tact. But it gives me an opportunity to sit in a board meeting and, or after the board meeting in conversations, and people will start asking me about your industry, your business. I may ask a person that's with Lexmark, "Tell me about Lexmark." And so I learn about them, but it gives me an opportunity to talk about the horse industry to people who then, if they buy into my stories, they're gonna spread the word.

SMITH: It also sounds, though, like you, uh, involved with organizations that you have a particular, uh, passion for or appreciation for what they do.

SWITZER: Well, I do, I do that. Uh, I, I'm, I'm blessed that there's not been any domestic violence in my life whether it was my parents or with my wife. Uh, I don't know of any, yet by being on this board I have learned that one out of three people that you meet have had 109:00exposure to domestic violence. That's--wow. That really caught my attention. Um, I was asked to serve--it's interesting how I was, I got involved in the Domestic Violence board. I was serving on the United Way board, and I was in charge of the cabinet that deals with fund distributions. And we were having trouble with the agency that was dealing with domestic violence in Fayette County. They had mismanaged their money. They had no organization, and it was a shame. And it was the YWCA which--while I was growing up--the YWCA was a very strong organization. I had to go meet with their board on a couple occasions to try and straighten 'em out or tell them, "Here's what's going to happen if you don't meet these certain benchmarks," and it ended up that I had to go back to the United Way board and make a recommendation 110:00that we withdraw funding from the YWCA.

SMITH: Um-hm.

SWITZER: It wasn't a fun thing to do.

SMITH: No. No.

SWITZER: But they weren't fulfilling, they weren't using the money that they were getting from the United Way the way that it was meant to be used. So that meant we didn't have domestic violence which that wasn't really something that was on my radar screen. Uh, so the Kentucky Domestic Violence Program in Frankfort helped develop what we have now serving seventeen counties here in Fayette County, and their executive director called me and said, "You know, you were involved with the United Way. You went through the YWCA. We'd like to invite you to serve on our board." Go back to--I need to learn to say the word no more often--you know at that time I was rotating off of the for United Way board. I was rotating off the Arts Council board and so 111:00I, uh, agreed to do it. Now that's how I got involved on that board. The Arts Council board, I got involved on that because we had a thing called Horse Mania, and we underwrote that program, the association did. We guaranteed the cost of those fiberglass horses which, as it turned out, was a no brainer.

SMITH: Yeah.

SWITZER: You know, it was--and we're going to do it again--

SMITH: Well, good.

SWITZER: --in 2010.

SMITH: Good.

SWITZER: They're going to have, uh, another Horse Mania thing. So I was asked to serve on the Arts Council board. Well, I learned about public art, uh, which I've got an idea to, to take to them even though I'm off their board now from my trip to Philadelphia. They've got murals all over that community depicting different things that happened in those various, uh, boroughs or parts of town. Uh, so that's how I got involved with that. Uh, United Way is a large board and somebody from 112:00the horse industry. I also try to get people on our board to serve on, on some of these things, and, uh, we have a past, our assistant treasurer was past chair of Commerce Lexington then it was the Chamber of Commerce, Commerce Lexington. We had, because of him we now have an agricultural representative on the Commerce Lexington board, something that we really need so that we can talk to developers and builders and retail people about the horse industry. And, you know, you take it for granted. It might not be here someday if we don't do certain things. Uh, so--

SMITH: I think it's, um, there's a history of people within the horse industry being community leaders, um, and probably there's a need for even more involvement.

SWITZER: Well, you know, there is, but you're right. There are a lot of people from our industry that are serving on different community boards and stuff and they're very quiet about it. They don't do it for recognition.


SMITH: Right.

SWITZER: Uh, and that's one of the things that we get accused of being, uh, insular, that we only care about things that are gonna benefit, uh, the needy in our industry; not, not so but, you know, that's okay. We've gotten involved in Habitat, Habitat for Humanity. We did our first build last year, and this was a result of Sheikh Mohammed. Uh, I had met with, uh, um, Grant Phelps who is the executive director of Kent-, Lexington's Habitat for Humanity. One of his board members who was a friend, they wanted the horse industry to get involved and maybe do a build or something, and I said, "Well, we'll think about that." And, uh, it turned out that Sheikh Mohammed told, uh, his general manager or president of Darley here in America, Jim Bell, that he wanted to do something for this community, and it turned out that, let's build a Habitat house. So last year Darley, Sheikh Mohammed, 114:00took the lead along with us. We helped organize it, and we built a house. This year we're building two. We brought in two more large farms that wanted to get on board and do it, um, and it's not just the farms. It's some of the businesses that work with our farms or provide services to our farms that are involved in it, and I won't be surprised to see if we don't do three next year.


SWITZER: So, and that, that's just a way--and we call it a Thoroughbred Build, and, um, my wife goes with me on the days that we're working on the build and she gets satisfaction out of it, too.

SMITH: My husband's worked on some of those. I can't say that I have. But you're right. Some of those things are fairly quiet, um, and people don't know that the industry leaders are, are doing. Um, we're going to run out of time here, and, uh, I'm not sure. I have a few more questions. Um, a couple of things I want to ask you and then, 115:00um, then what I think I'd like to do--and see what you think of this idea--we hope this is going to be a three-year project. You know, we, we'll wait and see. Still hopeful. Um, that say next July or say a year from now I would come back and interview you again, um, to some extent about the session and the accomplishments or challenges that you see yourself in at that point. Would that be okay?

SWITZER: If I'm still here.

SMITH: Okay. All right. (Switzer laughs) If we're both still here, we'll do it. How's that? Okay. Um, a couple of things. Uh, we haven't really had a chance to talk in depth about the number of organizations that there are in the industry, and you've been involved with the Thoroughbred Club of America, the Kentucky Horse Council, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, a variety of different organizations and there are so many you know that I'm still trying to 116:00learn what their differences and missions are. Um, do you see this kind of fragmentation in the industry not just in Kentucky perhaps but even nationally as a, as a problem or is this something that's just a reality of how the industry works or both?

SWITZER: If I had my way we would have a national league office just like the NBA and the NFL does, and we would have one person or one entity up there dictating, if you will, how our industry is going to function. Now that's not going to happen unfortunately because every horse farm, every racetrack is a business of their own. It's their little kingdom, thiefdom, um, and they're not going to give up their autonomy; more so 117:00with the racetracks than it is going to be your breeding farms. The only thing, your breeding farms are all competing with one another--

SMITH: Right.

SWITZER: --which to some extent causes, you know, some problems, but, um, you know, competition is good and we can agree on legislation and, and regulations that are going to benefit all. So it's more toward the racing part of it. If we don't have a strong racing industry, we don't need the breeders. Uh, if we don't have a strong breeding industry, there's no place for the racetracks to be, but I think there's so much fragmentation particularly in the racing part of the industry that we need a, a, uh, a league office and I actually thought that that's where we were heading with the NTRA, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, when it was formed, what? Six years ago, eight years ago, something like that. I thought that might be where, where this thing was heading, but, but it hasn't happened. No.


SMITH: Is it something that could still occur within that group?

SWITZER: No. I don't think it's going to happen because what I said earlier that the racetracks themselves are not going to give up their autonomy; Churchill Downs, Magna, uh, hell, even Keeneland, Del Mar, Oak Tree. They're not going to let the current leaders over at the NTRA tell them how to run their business, unfortunately.

SMITH: Well, I guess that is just sort of a reality of how the industry has evolved.

SWITZER: Yeah. And, and too, there are some of our other associations that unfortunately don't have that men-, mentality of, it's amazing what you can achieve when you don't care who gets the credit. And they want the credit, and they sometimes go off on their own little tangent to get their little feather in their hat and not thinking about the repercussions it might have over here for another organization. Um-hm.

SMITH: That's something Ted Bassett and I had talked about. I came 119:00across an article on the internet that he had, you know, a lecture that he had given in the early nineties, and it was something that he was very concerned about was the fact that there is not a unified voice at a national level for the industry. Uh, the other thing is you talked- -I think you may have touched on some of this in, in the interview but- -of all the things you've accomplished with KTA, what, what are you most proud of?

SWITZER: Hmm. Most proud of. I guess this uniform, getting the uniform medication rules passed. We've worked on that for four years.

SMITH: Um-hm. That was a big one.

SWITZER: And, uh, now the, the objective is to maintain it. We had, we have some good discussions in our board meetings, but over this issue, 120:00um, we darn near lost a president on a resignation.

SMITH: Really? Can I ask who that was?

SWITZER: No. I, uh, Alex, yeah. I don't mind saying it because he says it. Alex Rankin was the, the president, and there was a strategy to get this uniform medication done and passed and we couldn't really talk about it. There was a small group of the board that knew about this strategy, and we couldn't make it public because it would derail the whole thing if we did. And there were some members of the board that didn't think we were doing enough, and, um, a couple board members got very critical of Alex and, um, it was very frustrating, very, very frustrating for him. He's from Louisville. There is a demarcation 121:00line between Louisville and Central Kentucky called the Kentucky River; 502 versus the 859, and it was a group from the 859 that were challenging him.

SMITH: Um-hm.

SWITZER: And it all worked out. It all worked out, and part of it was because I was able to, oh, smooth things out a little bit with those people who thought we weren't doing enough. And as it turned out, we got what we wanted in the end which is the important thing. Uh, so that was the, the medication issue was not an easy thing. Uh, it wasn't that they were opposed. They wanted the medication issue; they wanted the uniform medication. It was just that they wanted to get credit for it, and those who were opposed to the medication rule, the Kentucky HBPA, was out front getting articles written in the trade 122:00magazines and this, that and the other and we were just working very quietly behind the scenes with the legislature and the regulatory and, uh, that was a, that was an unusual board meeting. That wasn't one of the common things. So I guess the medication, uh, really getting that done, 'cause I think it is in the best interest of, of the industry.

SMITH: Best interest of the horse?

SWITZER: Yeah. Um-hm.

SMITH: Okay. Um, one final question then. Uh, you've worked with an awful lot of, uh, agents, uh, industry legends to some extent over the years--I mean, Warner Jones and some of these individuals, um, that you've been associated with. Who do you, when you think back on, on some of these people, maybe some who are no longer with us, maybe some who still are, who do you think have been some of the most influential 123:00in terms of moving the industry forward?

SWITZER: Well, I'll put Mr. Bassett right up there at the top. I mean, he's been a great ambassador, um, and is a good thinker with the exception of he was quite, he was a bit wrong when he said the mythical armada. I don't know if that came across in any of your conversations or not.

SMITH: Oh, yes. Yes, it has.

SWITZER: We're dealing with the river boats, and he spoke in front of a legislative committee and talked about the mythical armada because at that time Keeneland was very much opposed to the gaming issue as well.

SMITH: Right. He had mentioned that, uh, that he has to live that down.

SWITZER: (laughs) Yeah, he does have to live that down. Um, Charlie Nuckols.

SMITH: Yeah, I've heard a lot about him, and of course I'm sorry that he's not with us.

SWITZER: Yeah. You know, Henry White. You got to get to him quick, though. His health is not doing good.

SMITH: Yeah. I listened to the interview that Keeneland had with him. It's pretty good, but there's still some places--some things you've 124:00mentioned, like his involvement with KTA and you mentioned you worked for an uncle of his, so I don't know much about the family--so I will, he's on my list to do--

SWITZER: --you really got to--

SMITH: --in the next couple of months.

SWITZER: He, he is, uh, if you can step it up, he's failing. Um, he still comes to our board meetings regularly where, you know, those who are past presidents particularly, they don't tend to come after they've served their term, come to the board meetings as regularly, uh, but Henry still does. And Henry will call me on occasion and but, uh--(clears throat)--on issues and has over the fourteen years, but I can see him slipping an awful lot.

SMITH: Is his mind still fine?

SWITZER: Yeah. Well, that's it. That's part of it. Uh, age is, is starting to show there, but Henry would call and offer advice or offer assistance or I'd call him. Um, he's well-respected in the industry. Um, well, you've talked with Alice of course.


SMITH: And Penny Chenery.


SMITH: Not so much Kentucky as much as--

SWITZER: Well, but, you know, you take a person like, um, Denny Phipps. Now Denny Phipps isn't from Kentucky. He lives in New York and Florida, uh, but he has roots here in Kentucky because they've raised horses at Claiborne Farm for years and years. Um, he's a person that knew all of these folks and still knows some of them. Um--

SMITH: And, of course, the Hancocks.

SWITZER: Yeah. The Hancocks, I wish I could get them a little more involved in issues. They tend to, um--

SMITH: Now Dell is on your board.

SWITZER: Dell is. She's a past president. She was, um, second 126:00president when I came on board. Um, I'm trying to think of some folks that are still with us. On our wall in our board room we have a picture of all of our past presidents--

SMITH: Oh, okay.

SWITZER: And they're sitting up there. Um--

SMITH: That's okay. I'm sure you'll think of some. And I guess--

SWITZER: I probably will and wouldn't. I'd kind of like to listen to these tapes. Uh, you said you might have them together in a few weeks so I could listen to them myself--

SMITH: --sure, absolutely--

SWITZER: --and see if there are some points that, you know, maybe I've-- because we've rambled--

SMITH: Yeah. You do that in oral history interview.

SWITZER: --you know quite a bit.

SMITH: That's, uh, and, and you'll, you'll hear that some things you said in the first one you say in the second one in different ways, and I mean, that's just part of the process. It's not a perfect--

SWITZER: A person, a person that's not of emeritus status yet but, uh, 127:00is Robert Clay. Robert, Robert gets involved politically.

SMITH: Okay. He's on my list.

SWITZER: He gets involved in an awful lot of, uh, industry things. Um, well, you know, I call on Robert quite a bit, and, and he'll do the same with me; try and bounce some things off each other. Um, a person that, uh, has been involved around this industry for quite some time is, uh, W. T. Bishop, Buddy Bishop the attorney. Um, his father was general manager of Keeneland. He grew up on Keeneland's grounds. Back where the clubhouse is today was where he lived, um, and Buddy knows a lot of people, well-respected. Uh, his clients are the Maktoums, uh, Sh-, Prince Abdullah and many, many, many others and stuff.


SMITH: Okay.


SMITH: Well, I will get these tapes to you, and, um, and you know, we can talk again at any time that you have time. But I would like, again, if we're both here a year from now or even two years from now to, to do a follow-up. That's, um, one thing somebody was looking at the list and said, "You have too many people that are younger," your age, my age, you know, and, uh, instead of thinking they always think, they had to be in their eighties or late seventies. And but history is what's happening now, and a hundred years from now somebody's really going to want to hear what you have to say about the issues of today, not necessarily what happened way back in the fifties or the forties. So, um, I think that's an important part of what this project needs to capture as well.

SWITZER: Well, and I didn't notice--do you have the Taylor, any of the Taylor boys on there; Mark or, uh, Duncan Taylor?

SMITH: I don't have that list here--

SWITZER: These are kind of our young up-and-comers.


SMITH: Mark and Duncan?

SWITZER: Um-hm. Either Mark or Duncan Taylor. Duncan's the oldest brother. There's--and then another one and this is who I have on our board right now and want to try and keep is a fellow name of John Greely. It's John Greely IV. His, his family farm is, um, Wintergreen Farm. I'm hoping that he's going to be one of these take-charge young people.

SMITH: Um-hm. Um-hm.

SWITZER: And his issue right now, I would say if you sat down with him and asked him what his number one issue is, he'd say trying to get a vaccine for Af-, African horse sickness so we can exchange shuttle stallions between South Africa and the United States.

SMITH: Huh. Oh, okay.

SWITZER: We've been trying to work on that.

SMITH: I hear a lot about the South Africa, uh, with the Saddlebreds. There seems to be a big connection there.

SWITZER: There is.

SMITH: So. Okay.



SMITH: All right. Well, we'll go ahead and stop this for now, and then, uh, and I'll get back with you real soon. Thank you.

[End of interview.]

Search This Transcript