Legislation offering a financial incentive to Breeders’ Cup if it commits to holding the World Championships in Kentucky in 2011, 2012, or both years, was signed into law by Gov. Steve Beshear April 6.
According to the law, Breeders’ Cup must announce a decision by Nov. 4, the day before this year’s two-day World Championships is held at Churchill Downs, to qualify for a pari-mutuel tax exemption that could be worth about $1 million in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
If Breeders’ Cup doesn’t commit to Kentucky beyond this year, it would lose the 2010 tax exemption. Instead, revenue from the 2010 tax would go state development funds under language pushed by Sen. Damon Thayer.
The Thoroughbred Development Fund would get 80%, the Standardbred Development Fund 13%, and the Quarter Horse, Appaloosa, and Arabian Development Fund 7%, according to the law. Based on a take of $1 million, Thoroughbred purses could receive $800,000.
Should Breeders’ Cup meet the deadline and agree to return to Kentucky, $500,000 of the tax exemption would be used to fund purses for undercard stakes on the two-day World Championships program.
Breeders’ Cup hasn’t named a host site beyond 2010, and the board of directors is in the process of deciding what the future schedule will look like; there could be a permanent host site or a rotation of a few sites. The board could announce a decision after its April 22 meeting.
The 2010 Kentucky General Assembly session isn't quite over, but it appears there will be no substantive legislative assistance for the year-round Kentucky horse racing and breeding industry.