by Dan Johnson
Iowa breeders are seeking legislation to end a requirement that a registered stallion in the state must be owned by an Iowa resident. Currently, at least 51% of an Iowa-registered sire must be owned by an Iowa resident.
"I think (the change) would be a big plus," said Sharon Vail, secretary/treasurer of the Iowa Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association. "There have been people out of state that have inquired about standing a stallion in the state, but when they're told an Iowan has to own 51%, they say, 'Well, I don't want to give up my horse.' Hopefully, this will help. The benefit to Iowa people is it would be at one of our farms."
Of the top 20 Iowa-breds in career earnings, only two have been sired by Iowa stallions.
Vail said the change also has the support of Iowa's Standardbred and Quarter Horse groups.
"Hopefully, we can increase the quality of stallions that come to Iowa," Vail said. "As breeders, we don't have to send our mares out of state if there's a comparable stallion that stands in the state."
The Iowa legislative session began Jan. 3 and is expected to adjourn in late April.
Iowa horse interests and Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino have also agreed to retain a Thursday-through-Sunday racing week for the track's 67-day meet that will run April 18- Aug. 9 in 2014.
The Iowa Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association had sought a return to the Monday-Tuesday-Friday-Saturday racing week Prairie Meadows generally ran from 1997-2011. The Iowa HBPA argued that Prairie Meadows received more simulcast revenue from Mondays and Tuesdays than from Thursdays and Sundays.
Prairie Meadows officials said the lost betting revenue was more than made up by increased business at its hotel and restaurants with the Thursday-through-Sunday format. The two sides reached agreement after a meeting was informally mediated by Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission administrator Brian Ohorilko.
"It really helps food and beverage, no question about it," Prairie Meadows president Gary Palmer said. "We just put $100,000 into our (clubhouse) buffet and we wouldn't have done that if we were racing on Mondays and Tuesdays, when there's nobody here."