KY Exemption Allows for One-Day Breeders' Cup

Kentucky legislation authorizing a pari-mutuel tax exemption for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships was modified to allow for one-day or two-day events and sets a lower purse minimum to qualify for the exemption.

The provision was included in broad economic development legislation signed into law by Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear after the recent General Assembly special session. Earlier versions of the legislation referred only to a two-day international event with purses of at least $20 million.

The tax exemption is intended to keep the World Championships coming back to Kentucky, in particular at Churchill Downs, which will host the 2010 event. The law grants the exemption, worth about $1 million per day, if the World Championships is held in Kentucky again in 2011 or 2012, or both years.

If those provisions are met, beginning in 2013, the exemption will remain in effect if Breeders’ Cup returns within three years of the last time it was held in Kentucky.

The tax exemption, which covers bets made on Breeders’ Cup programs at other Kentucky wagering outlets, mandates that $500,000 be used for undercard races on the programs. It covers any track that hosts the World Championships, which leaves room for Keeneland to enter the mix.

Breeders’ Cup plans to release recommendations for a strategic plan during a July 10 teleconference with nominators and the media. The organization has dipped into reserve funds to cover some programs, but there has been no indication the expanded two-day format that began in 2007 would be scrapped any time soon.

“When we were talking about reauthorizing the tax credit (earlier this year), we had to change the definition of what the Breeders’ Cup is,” said Kentucky Sen. Damon Thayer, who pushed for the tax exemption. “Breeders’ Cup requested some flexibility regarding the length of days and amount of the purses, and I thought that was a reasonable request.”

This year’s World Championships at Santa Anita Park will offer more than $25 million in purses over two days.

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