Representatives of the Kentucky state legislature, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and Thoroughbred industry organizations met at Turfway Park Dec. 19 to hear from Republican Sen. John Schickel regarding a new bill that will make more purse money available to certain Thoroughbred horses racing in Kentucky.
The bill was pre-filed Dec. 12 as BR 328 by Schickel, who represents Boone County. It will be introduced during the next session of the General Assembly, which begins the second week of January.
The measure provides that horses running in allowance optional claiming races for a claim price of at least $25,000 will be eligible for money added to purses from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.
"This bill has the support of the Kentucky State Senate," Schickel said in a statement. "We want to protect the horse industry and keep Kentucky horses on this side of the river."
As the rules now stand, KTDF money is available only to horses that are not entered for a claim. Each horse entered in a claiming race may be bought, or claimed, from that race for a designated price. An allowance optional claiming race is a hybrid, combining allowance horses, which are not offered for sale, and claiming horses. Currently only the allowance horses in such a race are eligible for the KTDF portion of the purse, which at Turfway equals half an allowance optional claiming purse.
"Senator Schickle's bill will allow owners and trainers of Kentucky-bred horses to compete for the entire purse in all allowance optional claiming races," said Tyler Picklesimer, Turfway's director of racing and racing secretary, in a release. "This will encourage horsemen to keep their higher-priced claiming horses in Kentucky for the winter. That translates to fuller fields and more quality horses, which will lead to increased wagering. Increased wagering in turn will increase revenue for Turfway, purse funds for horsemen, and tax revenue for the Commonwealth. There is absolutely no downside to Senator Schickle's bill. It simply allows optional claimers to run for the entire purse."
Schickel noted that the language of the bill was developed by Republican Sen. Damon Thayer and David Switzer, executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders.
While Thayer was unable to attend Thursday's announcement, Switzer was on hand. Also in attendance were House members Adam Koenig and Sal Santoro; Kevin Donnelly, public affairs manager for the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Burr Travis Jr., a member of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission; Jamie Eads, director of incentives and development for the Kentucky Breeders' Incentive Fund; and Marty Maline, executive director of the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. General Manager Chip Bach and Picklesimer represented Turfway Park.