Keeneland Looking for HERO Designated Drivers

Keeneland wants their fans to be heroes — designated heroes that is. The world-famous racetrack, which will host the 2015 Breeder’s Cup World Championships, is the newest partner to team with a positive program to prevent drinking and driving by promoting the use of safe and sober designated drivers.

Keeneland and the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers will launch the 100,000 Heroes Campaign to sign up designated drivers at the track’s HERO Tent during the upcoming fall race meet, to be held October 2-24, 2015.

Keeneland is the newest partner to join the HERO Campaign to raise awareness of choosing a designated driver. The nonprofit organization has worked with Kentucky law enforcement, the Kentucky State Highway Safety Office and the alcohol industry since 2012, when Governor Steve Beshear officially declared Kentucky a HERO State.

“Keeneland is proud to partner with the HERO Campaign to promote the use of designated drivers,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “We want our fans to enjoy their day at the races and for everyone to arrive home safe afterward.”

Thomason encouraged fans to visit the HERO tent and be part of the 100,000 HEROES Pledge campaign. Those who sign up to provide safe rides for their friends and family will receive a wristband entitling them to a free soft drink at concession stands and a chance to win HERO items or box seats for a future race day.

“We are excited to be partnering with Keeneland and all its fans,” stated Bill Elliott, HERO Campaign Founder and Chairman. “The key to preventing drunk driving is having a safe ride home, and the HERO designated drivers are truly the life of the party.”

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer has been instrumental in bringing the HERO campaign to his state. “The HERO Campaign has made a difference already in helping to reduce drinking and driving by reminding people to plan ahead and make having a designated driver be as automatic as wearing a seatbelt,” Commissioner Brewer said.

Bill Bell, Executive Director of the Kentucky State Office of Highway Safety, says the HERO Campaign’s practical and positive message just makes sense. “People are responding to the HERO Campaign’s message, which isn’t against drinking, but is about being responsible when good times include alcoholic beverages,” Bell said.

The non-profit HERO Campaign is named in memory of Navy Ensign John Elliott, who was killed by a drunk driver in July 2000, two months after graduating near the top of his class at the United States Naval Academy, where he was named the Outstanding HERO Officer of his class.

Now in its 16th year, the HERO campaign is the fastest-growing designated driver campaign in the country, growing from a grassroots initiative established by John’s family into a major movement in seven states.

In addition to Keeneland, the campaign partners with other professional sports teams and organizations including Churchill Downs, NASCAR, the NFL and Major League Baseball teams.

To learn more about the HERO Campaign, or to register to be a designated driver, go to

About Keeneland:
For nearly 80 years, Keeneland Association has devoted itself to the health and vibrancy of the Thoroughbred industry. Keeneland annually conducts two world-class race meets in the spring and fall, and is the world’s largest Thoroughbred auction company.

About The HERO Campaign:
The HERO Campaign was established by the family of Navy Ensign John Elliott of Egg Harbor Township, N.J. Ensign Elliott was killed in a July 2000 collision with a drunken driver two months after graduating from the United States Naval Academy. Elliott was traveling from Annapolis, MD, to his home at the Jersey Shore for his mother’s birthday celebration.


September 24, 2015  |  Lexington, KY

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