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Kentucky horseman Tom VanMeter apologizes for racist comments

Tom VanMeter, whose Stockplace Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, was the birthplace of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, on Tuesday apologized for racist comments he made on Facebook over the weekend.

“Over the weekend, comments I made on a private page of a social media platform surfaced which have since come under scrutiny due to their racist nature,” VanMeter wrote in a statement to the Thoroughbred Daily News. “I will not attempt to deny that I wrote the comments, nor will I attempt to justify my actions. Certainly, I am frustrated with the current social situation in our country, however, what I wrote was unjustifiable. I was wrong and am disgusted by my actions. Contrary to what these comments might suggest, in no way do those responses represent my true feelings towards my friends and community members of color.

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“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 owns and operates VanMeter Sales, a leading thoroughbred consignor in Lexington. He also owns Pretty Run Farm in Winchester, Kentucky, where American Pharoah spent time as a foal.

VanMeter’s apology came a day after his Facebook comments were spread over social media. His comments came in response to a post made by farm manager Donnie Snellings, who asked people to repost his post if they planned to boycott the NFL season.

VanMeter’s first reply contained an abbreviation of the “N-word,” when he referred to the NFL as the “n-word football league.” He later posted, “Put em back in their cage!!!”

Several members of the thoroughbred industry rebuked VanMeter’s comments.

Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, tweeted: “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.”

Horse owner Robert Masiello Tweeted: “If you buy a horse from Tom VanMeter in September, you are part of the problem. End of story.”

Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046;; Twitter: @KentuckyDerbyCJ. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today:

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