Bill to Boost Purses, Breeders' Awards Passed out of Committee

A bill that would allow California racetracks to retain their license fees to boost purses and breeders’ awards successfully passed out of the California State Senate Governmental Organization Committee April 24 on a 7-0 vote.

California State Sen. Dean Florez (D-Shafter), who chairs the G.O. committee, introduced the legislation, which now goes to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

Senate Bill 873 would create the "Special Trust Fund for the Economic Stabilization of Horse Racing." A portion of the monies generated from new tribal compacts after Jan. 1, 2007, would be deposited into the fund. California tracks would retain their license fees, which could add about $38 million annually into purses, breeders’ awards, and incentives.

The legislation would allow California racetracks to better compete with tracks in other states that allow slot machines and other alternative forms of gambling. In California, slot machines are restricted to Indian casinos. Florez has said that he has heard from tribal leaders who say they do not want their success to come at the expense of the state’s racing industry, which provides more than 54,000 jobs.

The Thoroughbred Owners of California announced its support for the bill.
"The TOC is encouraged by Senator Florez's actions signifying the importance of the horse racing industry and its workers to the State," said TOC President Drew Couto. "We look forward to working cooperatively with all parties to keep Thoroughbred racing's California legacy vibrant in the Golden State."