Updated: Racist Comment By Kentucky Horseman Tom VanMeter Condemned - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Updated: Racist Comment By Kentucky Horseman Tom VanMeter Condemned

Kentucky horseman Tom VanMeter, a longtime consignor at Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton

The Thoroughbred industry's two largest sales companies, Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton, swiftly condemned a racist post on social media by Kentucky horseman Tom VanMeter, but both companies stopped short of saying it would affect VanMeter's ability to conduct future business at their auctions.

Three organizations, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, said they were disassociating themselves from VanMeter.

VanMeter, an owner and breeder who is a longtime consignor to both Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton, is the owner of VanMeter Sales and Stockplace Farm, birthplace of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

Two offensive comments on Facebook attributed to him began to circulate on Monday.

In response to a Facebook thread concerning a boycott of the National Football League, the following was posted on his account: “Defund the N– Football League.” The N-word used was the first three letters of a reprehensible term used by racists about African Americans.

Later in the thread, VanMeter added: “Put 'em back in their cage.”

In a joint statement, The Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association said it was deleting VanMeter from its listing in the consignor section of OwnerView, a resource for existing and prospective Thoroughbred owners.

“OwnerView, jointed owned by The Jockey Club and  the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, has suspended the account privileges of Tom VanMeter pending further review, based upon offensive content posted on social media under the same name,” the joint statement read. “There is no place in racing or our society for racially hateful language.”

Alex Waldrop, CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, posted the following statement on Twitter: “The racist remarks and views posted on social media on an account belonging to Tom VanMeter have no place in society, let alone the horse racing industry. The NTRA no longer will accept financial contributions of any kind from him or others who share his views.”

Boyd Browning, president of Fasig-Tipton, released the following statement: “Fasig-Tipton does not generally comment on social media postings made by third parties, other than to make clear that this comment was not made by an employee or representative of Fasig-Tipton and does not reflect Fasig-Tipton's values.  We do not condone or support any statements or actions that do not promote a more diverse and inclusive environment for industry participants.”

A statement from Keeneland read: “Keeneland condemns Tom VanMeter's post. There is no place for racism in our sport or our society and his words are antithetical to Keeneland's values of respect, community and equality.

“Our industry must deal honestly and directly with our lack of diversity and look hard at its underlying causes. It is not only the right thing to do, it is critical for the future of the sport we love.

“At Keeneland, we have begun the process of reviewing our internal culture, structures and practices to try and build a better, more diverse and equitable Keeneland family. We do not believe there are easy answers to these complex and systemic challenges and everything is on the table as we move forward.”

VanMeter did not respond to phone calls or messages left on his cell phone. He later provided the following statement to the Thoroughbred Daily News:

“Over the weekend, comments I made on a private page of a social media platform surfaced which have since come under scrutiny due to their racist nature. I will not attempt to deny that I wrote the comments, nor will I attempt to justify my actions. Certainly, I am frustrated with the current social situation in our country, however, what I wrote was unjustifiable. I was wrong and am disgusted by my actions. Contrary to what these comments might suggest, in no way do those responses represent my true feelings towards my friends and community members of color. Moving forward I am committed to listening and learning as to how I can be a better ally and advocate in my community and within the racing industry as to how we can better foster inclusivity for all. In the meantime, as a gesture of goodwill, I have made a donation to the NAACP in support of the important work this organization continues to do. I am hopeful all the industry stakeholders and the community at large can forgive me. I can and will do better.”

VanMeter's son, Griffin, posted the following on social media Monday night:

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