A committee that advises the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on its breeders’ incentive program met again Jan. 25 and approved three additional recommendations for ways in which the program should be changed.
During the lengthy meeting at the KHRC offices in Lexington, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Breeders’ Incentive Advisory Committee agreed to recommend to the commission to remove the current age limit on horses racing outside the Bluegrass from being able to receive incentive funds.
Presently, age 4 is the maximum for which Kentucky breeders’ incentive funds can be earned by qualifying horses in allowance and maiden special weight races at out-of-state tracks. There is no age restriction on breeders’ funds for horses that earn them in out-of-state graded stakes. The age restriction had been in place because horses bred in Kentucky in 2006 and prior were grandfathered into the breeders’ incentive program. Horses that could have first been nominated to the program were foals of 2007 and would be 5-year-olds in 2012.
Also approved was a recommendation to reduce the breeders’ award for a victory in a grade I race from $25,000 to $15,000.
The third extensive change approved Jan. 25 was an overhaul of the claiming awards. The advisory committee will recommend that the $200,000 set aside from the incentive fund for claiming horses be distributed to breeders of the top 20 horses with most wins in claiming races in Kentucky during the calendar year. Earnings would settle any ties among the horses in the top 20.
However, any horse winning a claiming race within Kentucky would not be eligible for the end-of-the-year claiming incentive funds if that horse had also won an allowance or maiden special weight race in Kentucky. The restriction on eligibility for the claiming incentives would not apply to a horse winning claiming races within the state and allowance or maiden special weight races outside the Commonwealth. A breeders’ award of 25% of the winning purse is awarded for allowance and maiden special weight races in Kentucky, but is 10% for races outside the state.
Jamie Eads, director of incentives and development for the KHRC, said the committee will seek a clarification from the KHRC legal staff on when the incentive fund changes can take effect.
The advisory committee’s recommendations will be sent to the full commission for consideration, the next step in a lengthy approval process. From there, any changes requiring amendments in state regulations will be vetted with the state’s Legislative Research Commission, and then considered by legislative committees.
Considering how long the process can take, Eads said the committee wants to know whether the changes would be retroactive to the current year or if they would be applied to subsequent years.
Based on the legal determination, some of the changes made be sent through as they are approved by the advisory committee and full commission, or they could wait and submit them at the conclusion of the committee’s work. The advisory committee is scheduled to meet again Feb. 22.