Brook T Smith

Back in 2022, I had the incredible opportunity to meet and collaborate with Brook T. Smith in Louisville’s vibrant Butchertown neighborhood. Our meet up took place at The Butcher Rose, where over a few glasses of bourbon, we delved into his philanthropic vision, entrepreneurial drive, and his enthusiasm for horse racing through his venture, Rocket Ship Racing. It was an inspiring experience that left a lasting impression on me—one I certainly won’t forget.

I’ll definitely be watching the Kentucky Derby, eagerly hoping that Sierra Leone and Rocket Ship Racing not only shock the world but also herald a revolutionary era in horse racing ownership!

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Brook T. Smith: Winning on the Track and Giving Back in Louisville

Brook T. Smith’s journey into the heart of horse racing began unexpectedly in his 30s during a visit to the Derby Day festivities in 1995. A casual outing with a former roommate quickly turned into a pivotal life moment when Smith found himself trackside, cheering on Laura’s Pistolette, a 30-1 long shot in the Humana Distaff Stakes. The thrill of the win by a mere nose captured his imagination and set him on a new path.

From that day, Smith was hooked on horse racing, but not just as a spectator. He ventured into the ownership side of the sport, eventually acquiring a 16% share in Sierra Leone, a colt trained by Chad Brown and a top contender in the 150th Kentucky Derby. Under his Rocket Ship Racing banner, Smith has expanded his involvement, but his interest in horse racing transcends mere ownership.

Raised in Westport, Oldham County, without the luxuries many take for granted, such as cable television, Smith’s humble beginnings included simple joys like catching crawfish and enjoying Chef Boyardee pizza nights. These early experiences shaped his philanthropic outlook, particularly towards those behind the scenes of the racing industry.

Smith’s concern for the underfunded Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs, which supports track workers and their families, spurred him into action. His initiative, Purses For a Purpose, launched in 2020, encourages owners to donate a percentage of their winnings to enhance the center’s budget. Smith himself contributes 10% of his winnings, significantly higher than the requested 1%.

His efforts are making a tangible difference. The increased funding has allowed the center to expand its programming and may even lead to the construction of new facilities in the near future. For the 150th Run for the Roses, Smith has Sierra Leone, the first Derby horse enrolled in the program. Should Sierra Leone win, the center would receive nearly $50,000 from Smith’s earnings, along with an additional $100,000 pledge he made at an annual seminar.

In an ambitious move to expand the impact, Smith has challenged 150 owners to join Purses For a Purpose, aiming to bolster both financial support and awareness of the vital role the center plays. His efforts reflect a deep-seated belief in giving back to those who form the backbone of the horse racing industry and his desire to share his success with those who might not have had similar opportunities.

As the Kentucky Derby approaches, more eyes are on Sierra Leone, not just for the potential victory, but for the significant financial support it could bring to a cherished community resource. Smith’s story is a testament to the power of a moment and the profound impact of turning personal passion into a catalyst for change.

Get to Know Rocket Ship Racing: A Louisville Thoroughbred Powerhouse

Louisville, Kentucky is synonymous with horse racing, and one active ownership group at historic Churchill Downs is Rocket Ship Racing, LLC. If you’re a racing enthusiast, it’s time to familiarize yourself with this exciting stable!

The Rocket Ship Racing Stable

Rocket Ship Racing boasts a diverse collection of talented thoroughbreds:

Braggadocio (FR) – 2018 colt trained by Jeff Hiles
High Fair – 2018 filly trained by Jeff Hiles
Hot Anna – 2018 filly trained by James A. Baker
Peerless Court – 2019 gelding trained by Jeff Hiles
Silky Warrior – 2018 filly trained by Jeff Hiles
Partnerships and Leadership

Rocket Ship Racing isn’t afraid to collaborate. They often co-own horses with respected groups like Brilliant Racing, LLC and Sea Warrior Stables. The company’s leadership comes from Brook Smith, serving as their agent, and their registered address is in Louisville. Interestingly, the company was formerly known as RSLP Racing LLC before rebranding in 2021.

Giving Back: Charitable Focus – The Brook T. Smith Way

Rocket Ship Racing believes in giving back to the racing community. They proudly participate in the “Purses for a Purpose” program facilitated by the Backside Learning Center in Louisville. This initiative allows owners to dedicate a percentage of their horse’s winnings to support education and services for the dedicated workers at Churchill Downs who care for the horses.

In a Nutshell

Rocket Ship Racing is a dynamic group deeply involved in the Louisville horse racing scene. They have a collection of horses, a passion for charitable work, and are strategically led by agent Brook Smith. Keep an eye on this stable – there are likely exciting victories in their future!

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