The ministry’s work is focused on the “backside” of race tracks in Kentucky and southern Ohio, where race horses are stabled and the needs are great.  In fact, the faith-based work done at the track is often described as the Backside Ministry.


Our vision is to bear witness, in the name of Jesus, to the transformation of the lives of all those who come to the loving embrace of the Kentucky Race Track Chaplaincy.


Our mission is to:

  • Nurture the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of the backside workers and their families.
  • Care for basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and safety.
  • Empower our chaplains to minister in the name of Jesus.
  • Advocate for the respect of all workers.


  • We accept Jesus Christ as the one true God and Savior.
  • We believe in the fundamental dignity of every human being.
  • We foster interdenominational relations to fulfill our mission and to achieve our vision.
  • We embrace our differences and work to achieve harmony within our ministry and our racing industry.
  • We work to make our ministry a luminous and dynamic model of Christian love.

Our History

Chaplains began serving at Kentucky race tracks about 45 years ago with the founding in 1972 of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America, a non-profit interdenominational organization.  As the ministry grew, the Kentucky division of the chaplaincy was formally established in 1989.  Today, the interdenominational ministry has chaplains serving at Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Turfway Park and Belterra Park (S. Ohio) race tracks as well as various thoroughbred training centers in Kentucky.

Meeting Needs

The backside of tracks can be compared to little communities, and there’s a sense of family among race track workers. The ministry strives to meet the spiritual and emotional needs of those race track workers by offering:

  • Weekly worship services and Bible studies
  • Christ-centered activities that promote fellowship
  • Baptism, marriage and funeral services
  • Individual counseling

The Chaplaincy also serves as extended family for many workers. It helps to meet those in physical need by providing:

  • An emergency food pantry
  • Emergency clothes closet
  • Help with transportation
  • Free health clinics
  • Other similar services

Our Volunteers

The Chaplaincy relies on volunteers and donations to support its good work. Our annual “Race for Grace” event is also an important source of ongoing financial support for the chaplains’ outreach and ministry.  This fundraising dinner—held the Monday evening before the Kentucky Derby—is supported by retired Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, who is actively involved in the chaplaincy’s work.

A Non-Profit Organization

Chaplains work under the guidance of the Kentucky Race Track Chaplaincy (KRTC) a non-profit 501 c (3) organization. Their work and the ministry’s programs are made possible by donations to KRTC.  All gifts are tax deductible.
Click here to download Form 990 IRS Report for 2015

2017 Council and Leadership

Executive Director: Rich Gimmel • President: Pat Day • Secretary: Lowell Grady • Treasurer: Larry Edwards
Directors-at-Large:  Mickey Ballew, Brayton Bowen, Heather Hall, Pam Sears, A. Deane Pierce, Gary Churchman, Susan Bove, Dan Hatfield, Polly Dunlavy
Race for Grace Sponsorship Director:  Elliott Walden