Horse PAC Reports Success in Election Cycle

The NTRA-operated political action committee spent $416,500 in the 2011-12 cycle.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association reported that 41 of the 44 federal candidates it supported through its political action committee in 2011-12 won their seats in the Nov. 6 election.

Horse PAC, a bipartisan fund, spent $416,500 in the most recent election cycle, the NTRA reported Nov. 8. Direct contributions to candidates totaled $257,000, while $159,500 went to political leadership and other political action committees.

Candidates and PACs in 25 states received funds in 2011-12. Kentucky-based candidates and PACs received the majority of funds at $85,000, followed by New York ($54,500), California ($30,000), Louisiana ($27,500), and Florida, Texas, and Michigan (all at $25,000), the NTRA reported.

According to supplemental documents, non-state PAC funds were given to the National Republican Senatorial Committee ($30,000), National Republican Congressional Committee ($10,000), and the American Horse Council ($5,000). The NTRA didn't release the breakdown by candidate.

Of the 21 party-affiliated PACS that received Horse PAC funds, 17 are Republican and four Democrat.

Horse PAC, which has given almost $2.5 million to candidates and PACs since it was created in 2002, supports candidates who serve on the committees that oversee livestock and agricultural issues, Internet gaming, taxation, immigration, and the Interstate Horseracing Act; serve in leadership roles; understand horse racing's issues; have racetracks, breeding farms, training centers or advance deposit wagering systems in their states; are members of the Congressional Horse Caucus; or are emerging leaders meriting early support in their legislative careers.

"The non-partisan Horse PAC is the only PAC that looks out specifically for the interests of the entire Thoroughbred industry," NTRA president and chief executive officer Alex Waldrop said in a release. "Its size, as measured by donation totals, is considerable, even when compared to PACs of the largest sports leagues and gaming organizations in the United States.

"By focusing on members of key committees and on candidates who have significant horse racing constituencies, Horse PAC is able to ensure that our industry's interests are well represented in Washington."

Issues that continue to linger in Washington, D.C., are Internet gambling, tax breaks, and immigration. In Kentucky, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has said he wants movement on a constitutional amendment on casino gambling, but the Republican Senate, which increased its majority in the Nov. 6 election, has repeatedly fought the measure.

Republican Senate President David Williams is leaving that post to take a judgeship in southeastern Kentucky, but it remains to be seen if new leadership will be more amenable to working with the governor.