Turfway Park

Turfway Park

Pat Lang

Horsemen, Turfway Agree to Contract Extension

No cuts in overnight purses for fall meeet.

The Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association has announced an agreement with Turfway Park that extends the current purse contract through the end of the 2010 winter/spring race meeting.

According to an announcement from the KHBPA, the contract extension was signed Sept. 1 by Rick Hiles, president of the KHBPA, and Bob Elliston, president of Turfway Park on Sept. 1, 2009.

Turfway, which like other tracks in the state is facing horse shortages due to competition from tracks in nearby states that offer larger purses infused by video lottery terminal revenues, had sought a contract with horsemen that called for cuts of $700,000 in purses for the fall meet that begins Sept. 9 and runs through Oct. 8. Turfway previously announced cutbacks in its stakes program, including the cancellation of two 2-year-old stakes, for the upcoming meet.

"The KHBPA board felt that a contract extension was the pragmatic approach to the fluid situation that currently exists in Kentucky with regard to the racing industry," said KHBPA executive director Marty Maline. "We realize that Turfway is in a very precarious position due to the competition of surrounding racing jurisdictions fueled by slot enriched purses, and we encourage horsemen to support racing at Turfway Park by filling the entry box just as they did at Ellis Park."

Maline previously said horsemen would be amenable to cutbacks in race days at Turfway Park in 2010 if the numbers warranted it. Earlier this year the KHBPA supported cutbacks in the number of live race dates at Ellis Park and Churchill Downs.