Debbie Blair named group sales director
Jennie Rees

FRANKLIN, Ky. (Friday, June 29, 2018) — Debbie Blair, known throughout the horse industry for her world-class event management experience, has joined the Kentucky Downs team as director of group sales.

Blair will market Kentucky Downs’ reserved-seating areas to groups of at least 10 people, including the new Top of the Stretch Chalet, a casual, open-air venue devoted entirely to groups. The other reserved areas — the Turf Club Tent, Finish Line Pavilion and Director’s Room — also offer individual tickets, with groups receiving a discounted rate.

Kentucky Downs’ all-turf meet runs Sept. 1, 6, 8, 9 and 13 over North America’s only European-style race course, offering the largest average-daily purses in America at $2 million.

Blair said among her priorities will be attracting groups for the two Thursday racing cards and reaching out farther into the region, including a major push in Nashville "to let people know about the track and what we have to offer.

"Groups can benefit from coming to the track in many ways; whether entertaining important clients or hosting a memorable birthday celebration, there just so many different ways to attract people to the track to become a group. Group sales are not only good business, but a terrific way of creating new fans because they introduce people who have never experienced horse racing to our great sport in a fun, social environment.”

Blair is best known in thoroughbred racing as the longtime vice president of customer and event services for the Breeders’ Cup. She also has worked in equine-event management for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games, Eclipse Awards, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Washington International Horse Show and as executive director of the Bourbon County Secretariat Festival.

“As Kentucky Downs increases in popularity, we realized one area where we could use an additional push was group sales to let people know about the track and what we have to offer,” said Kentucky Downs senior vice president and general manager Ted Nicholson. “Nobody is better in this realm than Debbie Blair, who brings to Kentucky Downs so much depth of experience and expertise, along with unparalleled people skills.”

All of Kentucky Downs’ group sales areas have a 10-person minimum to receive the discounted price. Each area features a private cash bar, private mutuel clerks and HD television monitors.

The Top of the Stretch Chalet offers a spectacular trackside view of horses sweeping out of Kentucky Downs’ expansive far turn for the run to the wire. Tickets are $20 per person, which includes an All-American buffet.

The open-air Finish Line Pavilion ($30 per person for a group) is being built to provide a more substantial and permanent structure, replacing the tent that had been utilized mere feet from where the races finish and in close proximity to the paddock.

The Director’s Room ($45 with group booking) is on the second floor of the main building, offering air-conditioned seating and a superb window view of the racetrack, along with an upscale buffet.

The Turf Club Tent ($45 with group booking) is positioned in close proximity to the main Clubhouse building, with more amenities than the Finish Line Pavilion and a bit more upscale buffet offering.

Kentucky Downs is offering a Winner’s Circle package for $50 for its contracted groups, where six of the guests can watch their assigned race near the finish line. After the race’s regular trophy presentation, the group’s representatives will be escorted into the Winner’s Circle, where the track announcer will recognize the group, with the chosen guests having a picture taken with the winning jockey. A souvenir photo will be mailed to the group leader, with additional photos available for purchase.

For more information on Kentucky Downs' group sales options or to book a group, contact Debbie Blair at or 859.576.3237.

Photos: Debbie Blair at the 2011 Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs and at the Kentucky Horse Park.