KTDF Adjustment Bill Sails Through Committee

The Kentucky legislation would make more horses eligible for funds in certain races.

Legislation authorizing a more liberal use of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund sailed through a Senate committee Jan. 14.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Sens. John Schickel and Damon Thayer, would adjust the KTDF statute to cover more horses per race in allowance/optional claiming races. Currently, no horse entered for a claiming price is eligible for KTDF money; under the bill Kentucky-breds entered in allowance/optional claiming races for a tag of $25,000 or more would be eligible to share in the KTDF share of the purse.

The Senate Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations Committee, chaired by Schickel, unanimously approved the bill, which now heads to the Senate floor for consideration. It's not expected to run into opposition in either chamber of the General Assembly.

The legislation doesn't generate additional funding for the KTDF, which relies on wagers made on track in Kentucky, including those made through Instant Racing machines at two tracks. The KTDF, however, gets no percentage of revenue from wagers made through advance deposit wagering providers, and another revenue-generator, off-track betting parlors, all shut down in 2013.

The bill is designed to help tracks such as Turfway Park, currently open for live racing, reward owners and trainers that enter horses.

For instance, a $25,000 allowance event for non-winners of two races other than maiden, claiming, starter, or state-bred includes $14,000 from the KTDF. If horses enter for the $40,000 optional claiming price–even they are Kentucky-bred–they compete for only $14,000.

Under the current Turfway condition book, an entry-level allowance test for 4-year-olds and up carries an optional claiming tag of $20,000 and would not qualify under the legislation. Other allowance races, including an entry-level race for 3-year-olds with a $50,000 optional claiming price, would qualify.

Meanwhile, legislation authorizing a constitutional amendment on casino gambling has been introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives in Kentucky and assigned to various committees.