Kentucky HBPA Files Suit, Seeking Clarification of Horseracing Act

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Louisville, Ky., on Dec. 19, the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has requested clarification on whether the Interstate Horseracing Act, which grants local horsemen's groups sanctions over outgoing signals, supercedes simulcasting contracts between racetracks.

At issue is whether the Kentucky HBPA may withhold the Turfway Park signal from Tampa Bay Downs based upon a dispute between Tampa and the local HBPA affiliate surrounding the track's denial of stalls to HBPA president Bob Jeffries.

"It's a declaratory action to determine our rights are under the Interstate Horseracing Act," explained Marty Maline, director of the Kentucky HBPA, "Our attorney felt it would be prudent to clarify this once and for all."

But Peter Berube, Tampa's general manager, has threatened lawsuits against horsemen's groups that withhold their signals. "We have a valid binding contract with the HBPA which we expect will be fulfilled," he said.

Tampa opened for its 2001-2002 live meet on Dec. 15 without the ability to accept simulcasting from tracks in six states, as horsemen from around the country have lined-up in support of Jeffries.

"We all have to look after each other," said John Roark, president of the Texas HBPA, one of the groups that have voted to withhold its signal.