Rick Hiles, who served two terms as president of the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association in the 1990s, has been voted president by the new board of the Kentucky HBPA.
The board, which recently took office, voted for president during a Nov. 27 meeting. For the first time, the Kentucky HBPA president was elected under a new format in which the board, not the full membership, elected the president.
A release from the Kentucky HBPA said it is "anticipated one of the first orders of business will be to revisit the selection process."
Hiles, an owner and trainer elected to the board, was the unanimous choice to serve a three-year term as president. Previously, he was elected by the membership for two consecutive terms as president and also served as president of the National HBPA, of which Kentucky is an affiliate.
Hiles lost the Kentucky HBPA presidency to the late Dr. Alex Harthill in 2000, and lost the National HBPA presidency to John Roark of Texas in 2001.
In 2002, a National HBPA task force found no evidence of criminal liability on the part of former officers, including Hiles, in connection with Century Consultants, a company formed to help Indian casinos land simulcast signals.
The task force had been formed to investigate potential conflicts of interest by Hiles, the former National HBPA president; the late Don Sturgill, the former general counsel of the National HBPA; and Marty Maline, executive director of the Kentucky HBPA. Hiles and Sturgill also served as president and general counsel, respectively, of the Kentucky HBPA when Century Consultants was formed in the late 1990s.
Hiles maintained his innocence throughout the probe. Also in 2002, the board of directors of the Kentucky HBPA voted to terminate its investigation of monetary transactions between Century Consultants and Choctaw Racing Services. No further action was taken, and the matter was dropped.
Hiles replaces Susan Bunning, who recently served as Kentucky HBPA president but chose not to run for another term. Joe Cain, the first alternate on the owner/trainer side of the 11-member board, will replace Hiles as a member of the board of directors.
In a statement, the Kentucky HBPA board said it expresses its "abiding respect for Susan's tireless efforts on behalf of Kentucky horsemen." Bunning regularly attended National HBPA conventions and was an active participant on various committees.