License fees for officials and others who work at racetracks also went up this year.
A Kentucky Equine Drug Council committee has recommended that Iowa State University handle equine drug testing in Kentucky beginning Jan. 1, 2002. The Kentucky Racing Commission will vote on the recommendation at a meeting Dec. 19 in Lexington.Truesdail Laboratories of California holds the current testing contract in Kentucky. The racing commission issued a request for proposals from interested parties earlier this year.Bernie Hettel, executive director of the racing commission, said Dec. 14 that Iowa State, if approved by the commission, would hold the contract for six months through June 30, 2002. The commission plans to issue another RFP early next year for a contract that would run two years: July 1, 2002, to June 30, 2004.The Equine Drug Council will meet at 10 a.m. Dec. 19, with the racing commission meeting to follow. In late November, the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association took issue with the drug council's conduct, and those concerns may be addressed at the next meeting.The drug council is expected to present its budget for 2002, and also discuss desired research projects for next year. The racing commission will act on those as well.In another racing commission matter, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported Dec. 14 that Players Bluegrass Downs, Thunder Ridge Raceway, and the Kentucky Harness Horsemen's Association have sued the Kentucky Racing Commission because fees paid for the cost of regulation have more than doubled to $1,700 per track per day.The hike in fees came about this year when the racing commission's share of the state general fund was slashed from $1.3 million to $300,000, the newspaper reported. Assistant attorney general Dick Carroll, who represents the commission, told the newspaper he couldn't comment until he read the suit thoroughly.