The Kentucky Racing Authority has voted to ask Gov. Ernie Fletcher to approve an emergency regulation to broaden the scope of persons who can qualify as stewards appointed by the agency.
The authority appoints one of the three stewards that serve at each racetrack, with the other two being selected by the racing association conducting the race meet.
Mark York, spokesman for the Department of Public Protection, under which the racing authority operates, said the regulators want greater flexibility in being able to appoint qualified individuals with experience within the industry. That would include horse owners, trainers, and/or jockeys, York said.
The authority's rules and regulations currently state:
"Qualifications for a Steward. No person shall qualify for commission appointment or approval as a steward unless:
(1) He has served as a steward, racing secretary, assistant racing secretary, starter, placing judge, patrol judge, paddock judge, or clerk of scales, at one (1) or more recognized race meetings for a period of not less than sixty (60) racing days per year during at least three (3) of the five (5) preceding calendar years; provided, however, if no person is available to serve who possesses the experience as a racing official, then, the commission may consider for appointment and approval persons who have engaged in racing as an owner, trainer, jockey, veterinarian, or breeder, and as an observer in the stewards stand for a period satisfactory to the commission."
While there is a provision in the current rules allowing for the appointment of owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys, or veterinarians under certain circumstances, York said the authority is drafting a regulation that would make it easier to appoint such persons to the position.
A racing authority committee is currently reviewing all of the rules and regulations that govern racing in the state. Since that process has not been completed and submitted to the state's General Assembly, an emergency order from the governor would be needed to implement the new rule being drafted, York said. He added that the regulation would be subject to legislative review and approval.