Bill backed by owner Jess Jackson may move forward early next week.

Bill backed by owner Jess Jackson may move forward early next week.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Jackson Meets With Senate Republicans on Legislation

California vintner and Thoroughbred owner Jess Jackson met with Kentucky Senate Republicans Jan. 26 to discuss legislation that would make it unlawful for anyone to represent both buyer and seller in a transaction involving horses without written permission of both parties.

The bill, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Denver Butler, was introduced and is headed to the House Licensing and Occupations, of which Butler is chairman. Jackson has attained the services of lobbyist Terry McBrayer to help move along the legislation.

Jackson's meeting in Frankfort, the state capital, with Republican Senate President David Williams and Republican Sen. Damon Thayer was described as productive. The bill has solid support in the horse industry and has been well-received by legislators, Thayer said.

"We had a very good meeting," said Thayer, also an executive with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup. "I had never met (Jackson) before and was happy to discuss the bill with him. I've spent the last week speaking with industry groups, and the bill seems to have widespread support."

Thayer is a member of the Senate Licensing and Occupations Committee, which would hear the bill as well. He said there's a chance the House Licensing and Occupations Committee could tackle the bill Jan. 31, the date of its next scheduled meeting.

"I think the bill has support (in Frankfort)," Thayer said. "It's very important that he came here to meet with us directly. He told us he wants to stand up for the small- to medium-sized seller. I would say he met with a very positive response."

Jackson, who amassed a fortune through his Kendall-Jackson winery in California, is a longtime racing fan who began to invest heavily in racing and breeding stock in 2004. He owns Thoroughbred farms in Kentucky and Florida. Jackson last year filed a lawsuit against agents Emmanuel de Seroux and Brad Martin and trainer Bruce Headley that alleged fraud in private and public auction purchases made on behalf of Jackson.