Kentucky Racing Authority Has Full Agenda

The search for an executive director and jockey helmet issues are keeping members of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority very busy.

The authority, which met June 21 at the Kentucky Horse Park, continues to search for a permanent executive director. The position was expected to be filled by July 1. Between six to eight out-of -state candidates have been interviewed, according to Mark York, the deputy secretary of the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet that oversees the authority.

York said even though the members of the authority are overseeing the hiring of the executive director, the final appointment would come from Gov. Ernie Fletcher because the state considers the job a non-merit position.

Jesse Skees of the inspector generals office has been serving as an interm executive director since the resignation of Bernie Hettel in January.

Commissioner Tom Ludt told the authority that he and commissioner Kerry Cauthen are working alongside Southern Impact Research Group to test different types of helmets. "What the jockeys really want right now is communication," Ludt said. "I think we are making progress."

Cauthen said there is 14 manufactures that make helmets that meet the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) requirements. ASTM-approved helmets are required in the state of Kentucky. Of the 14, five make helmets that are race specific, and of the five, 11 different models are available.

A resolution to the helmet issue is expected by the Aug. 16 authority meeting.
In other business, the authority approved Brooks Brecroft and Barbara Borden as racetrack stewards and Michael Sample as state steward at the upcoming Ellis Park meeting, which opens July 7 and runs through Sept. 6.

Kentucky Racing Authority member Don Ball, along with wife, Mira, was selected to receive the A.B. "Happy" Chandler Foundation's Kentuckian Award for 2004. The Balls will receive the award on July 24 in the Bluegrass Grand Ballroom of the Lexington Center's Heritage Hall.

The Balls, who own and operate Donamire Farm on Old Frankfort Pike, are being honored for working to better the lives of Kentuckians by building affordable homes.

Also honored will be former Gov. Louie B. Nunn, who will posthumously receive the Foundation's Kentucky Statesman Award.

The Chandler Foundation is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to Kentucky students to attend college in the commonwealth and to encourage them to use their careers to improve the lives of every Kentuckian.