Kentucky Horse Racing Authority to Address Budget Concerns

Members of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority plan to sit down in the coming weeks to address concerns relating to the operating budget of the KHRA.

"We plan to meet Wednesday (May 17) to discuss funding," said KHRA chairman Bill Street during a May 15 meeting. "If the state wants to continue to have a first-class operation, we've got to have the money to do it."

Street said the meeting would include himself; Jim Gallagher, executive director of the KHRA and LaJuana Wilcher, secretary of Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, which oversees the KHRA.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher or members of his staff could be included in future meetings.

Questions over the budget surfaced after the state legislature passed a two-year budget that did not include $1.2 million in operating funds from the state's general fund in the 2007 fiscal year. The $1.2 million was previously paid to the authority from per-live-day fees by the state's racetracks. The legislature withdrew the per-live-days when the budget was passed, but Gov. Fletcher vetoed that line from the budget.

"The fees from the tracks are still up in the air," Street said.

The KHRA operates on a $3-million budget.

The state legislature could meet for a 30-day session in early 2007, but budget issues are typically not discussed during off-year sessions.

"The next session is not supposed to deal with budget items," Street said. "But we need to figure something out."

In other business, Authority members also discussed reviewing a regulation concerning jockey advertising. The discussion was prompted after a handful of jockeys wore the Jockeys' Guild logo with the words "Jockeymedia.com" on the leg of their britches on Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) day.

"Jockeymedia.com" is a website connected to the Jockeys' Guild, the association which represents jockeys. Gallagher questioned whether that site fits within the state's rules.

In Kentucky, jockeys are permitted to wear the recognized trade logo of a trade association without seeking permission from the authority.

None of the jockeys wearing the "Jockeymedia.com" logo were fined by the authority.

Gallagher said the rules would be reviewed before Churchill Downs hosts the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships Nov. 4.

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