Secretariat Plates, Commission Powers Bill Topics

A bill that would issue Secretariat License Plates has been introduced in the Virginia General Assembly. Proceeds from the plates would go to the development of the Secretariat Museum at Meadow Farm in Doswell, the place of Secretariat's birth.

The license plates commemorate the 30th anniversary of Secretariat's Triple Crown sweep. Delegate Ryan McDougle sponsored the bill.

Other horse racing legislation in front of the General Assembly includes a Senate bill regarding the powers of the Virginia Racing Commission to regulate account wagering and live racing days. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Kenneth Stolle, also would allow certain towns to conduct votes on the opening of satellite wagering centers.

At the Jan. 15 meeting of the racing commission, Robin Williams, who was re-elected as the chair, announced that due to the election-year influence and mood of the General Assembly, the provision to increase the number of satellite wagering centers allowed by statute would be removed the legislation. Last year, a similar bill passed House and Senate committees by healthy margins but failed in the Senate by a single vote.

Stan Bowker, executive director of the commission, said overall handle in Virginia in 2002 was up about $185,000, a slight increase over the previous year. The total handle last year was $124,064,569.