A handle and tax information system discussed for years among members of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority and Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund was unanimously endorsed by the KTDF and will be recommended to the KHRA at its March meeting, it was decided Feb. 28.
If seconded by the KHRA, the software product, which will be administered by the non-profit company Comprehensive Horse Racing Information Management Systems (CHRIMS), will be set up immediately for KHRA use.
Funds for the software, which include a $7,000 setup fee and a $17,520 yearly fee, are built into the $1.2 million Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher has recommended the state legislature approve in additional funding for the authority.
"If we don't get that funding, we're looking at how we should move on at getting the system without that additional money," said Jamie Haydon, who was recently appointed to the KHRA as director of the Breeders' Incentive Fund. "The KTDF has said it would be willing to kick in some of its fund money to pay for it, as long as we find other healthy funding mechanisms."
When the KTDF makes its formal recommendation to the KHRA to sign a two-year contract with CHRIMS, Haydon said, "We'll let the authority act on it after that. Obviously, a lot of it has to do with the funding--if we've got that, we would be able to (set it up) immediately. (Ideally), we'd like to do it tomorrow."
In its proposal, CHRIMS said its Web-based program would provide the authority with a better information system for its pari-mutuel, accounting, and management staffs, as well as a more efficient way to audit revenue. It would also prevent data loss because its server is backed up each night.
CHRIMS application services include handle, breakage, takeout, pools, and race detail, as well as statutory distributions. Auditors may access the system's archives on request. Benefits of the program include the elimination of data entry and sheet tracking, and the ability to answer audit questions about handle and revenues within minutes.
Working with tote companies to gather the right files from various tracks, CHRIMS will load information into a database specifically designed for the KHRA, which will be updated with fresh numbers each morning.
"(The software) would give us a lot more information than we've ever had at our fingertips to make judgments and recommendations," said Pete Salmen, Thoroughbred owner/breeder and member of the Horseman's Benevolent Protective Association.
After the new software is in place, members of the KHRA said they plan to hire a supervisor of pari-mutuel wagering.
"I think this will be a very accurate system to do reconciliation of the pari-mutuel tax report that we can share with (The Department of) Revenue," said Haydon. "It would give them (the same information) the tracks gave them, and what they actually sent the checks in for, and they would have this data already. In regards to the reconciliation of the KTDF account, that problem wouldn't have existed if we had had this system."
Haydon further commented that the meeting signaled how different members of the Thoroughbred industry, including racetracks, the HPBA, the KHRA, and KTDF, are moving together to figure out how to use technology to further the mission of the KHRA.
"All the representatives from these different groups are in agreement--no one is saying this is a bad idea," said Haydon. "It's something that's needed."