KY Racing gets $6million Boost
Kentucky has always been seen as the home of thoroughbred horse racing, with tracks such as Churchill Downs being opened in 1875 and Lexington in 1789. It has a proud and distinguished history that is associated with the horse racing industry, and is known for the hosting of the Kentucky Derby. But lately, as with many states, Kentucky has been feeling the crunch of states that offer casino gambling, afford higher purses and are luring trainers and their horses to them. But the legislators in Kentucky have decided to fight back, and have been in talks about financially assisting the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.
If the bill is approved, which is currently receiving positive feedback from the General Assembly members, it would generate funding for the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority to the amount of approximately $6 million. The money that is received by the fund is to be divided between the three main breeds in Kentucky, namely the thoroughbreds, quarter horses and standardbreds. Breed associations and racetracks will be able to use these funds to increase the purses of their racing events, attracting more horses and a greater contender pool. Quarter horses have been allocated seven percent, standardbreds are to receive thirteen percent and thoroughbreds are given eighty percent. These percentages have been calculated in accordance to the different breeding programs in the state.
The bigger bulk of the funds, which is estimated to be around $5 million, will be generated through pari-mutuel taxes. A Kentucky Stakes and Purse Development Fund will also be set up, and the $5 million will be split with ninety percent going towards the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority and ten percent going to the Kentucky Stakes and Purse Development Fund. By shifting tax on claimed horses, another $500 000 to $600 000 will also become available, according to the bill proposal.
The proposal, if approved, will come into effect in 2009 and is a part of a long term funding solution that has been requested by the Democratic Governor. Making more funds available to the racing associations and tracks, will not only assist in purse increases and ensuring that the sport of horse racing is kept alive in Kentucky, but will also alleviate the financial burden of drug testing by the racetracks. Stable financial support will breathe new life into an industry that shaped Kentucky, and sustain its existence in the future.