KEEP Plan Wins Support of Two Horse Groups

Edited press releases

The Kentucky Quarter Horse Racing Association and the Kentucky Paso Fino Horse Association have endorsed the Kentucky Equine Education Project's proposal for a constitutional amendment on racetrack casinos.

The Kentucky QHRA has 242 members, according to a KEEP release. Other equine associations and organizations that have given support to KEEP are racetracks Churchill Downs, Keeneland, The Red Mile, and Turfway Park; the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, the two Thoroughbred horsemen's groups in the state; the Southern Kentucky Team Penning Association; and the United States Equestrian Federation.

Non-equine associations and organizations that support KEEP include Commerce Lexington, Greater Louisville Inc., Jefferson County School Board, Jefferson County Teachers Association, Kentucky Association of Counties, Kentucky League of Cities, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce, and United Food and Commercial Workers.

After support from the Paso Fino association was announced, KEEP executive director Jim Navolio issued the following statement: "This announcement is very important to us. KEEP was created to represent all equine breeds and disciplines, and all of our legislative efforts have focused on this. Our two legislative agenda items this year demonstrate this.

"First, we are fighting for the removal of sales tax that is only charged to horse owners, not any other agricultural product. This is an equity issue for our members. Secondly, we are seeking a constitutional amendment to allow casinos at racetracks. Revenues from this would be dedicated to education, health care, local government, economic development, and the environment. There are also funds dedicated to the horse industry with a specific portion going to non-racing breeds for improvements of show facilities, trails, breed associations, and equine-related economic development."

The bill outlining the KEEP gaming and revenue plan had not made public or been introduced in the legislature as of Jan. 19. But the proposal calls for the state to get 35% of gross casino revenue for various programs.