Lexington trainers scrambling to find stalls after horse facility is sold

A Lexington racehorse facility that boards more than 250 animals has been sold.
Published: May. 5, 2022 at 5:56 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A Lexington racehorse facility that boards more than 250 animals has been sold.

Dozens of horse trainers at Ashwood Training Center received a notice to vacate Wednesday.

Many of them said this puts them in a bind. The sale will impact the very horses you see at Keeneland and Churchill Downs.

Working as a horse trainer is not a job— it’s a lifestyle.

“I get here a little before 5:00 in the morning, I feed all my horses, trails off,” horse trainer Sam Semkin said.

But, the routine is changing at Ashwood Training Center.

“There was another rumor a few days ago, so I go straight to inquire,” horse trainer Aveory Faircloth said.

The center will be demolished in July, and all horses and supplies must be out by June 30.

“There’s basically nowhere for us to go,” horse trainer Tommy Short said.

“They could’ve told us a long time ago, ‘there’s going to be a day coming here soon, why don’t y’all go ahead and start looking for something now,’” Faircloth said.

The center’s owner, Marc Ricker, told us over the phone that he’s sad to see the facility go. He said the opportunity to sell was too good to pass up. The trainers said they take issue with the timing of the announcement.

“This is all on the eve of the Derby, our greatest race,” Faircloth said.

Faircloth and his colleagues said they’re not having luck finding available stalls.

“A bunch of us will probably be put out of business,” Short said.

They call Ashwood a home away from home.

“I hate to see this place go because it’s such a beautiful place,” Semkin said.

They said they’re determined to ride this out.

“It’s a love for this and just trying to get to that one spot and to find that one horse. It only takes one horse to make you,” Faircloth said.

Ashwood Training Center’s owner said he’s planning a new horse facility in Lexington, which will have 600 stalls and a one-mile track. He said the timing of the transition just didn’t work out.

There’s no word yet on who is buying the property or how they will use it.

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