The window of opportunity for two key pieces of legislation impacting Indiana horse racing has closed. Measures involving alternative gaming at the state's two racetracks and the import of out-of-state simulcast signals have died after failing to advance before crucial deadlines in the Indiana General Assembly. Industry stakeholders now rest their hopes on the next session.
Legislation to be considered by the Indiana Senate would mandate that incoming simulcasts be made available to all wagering outlets in the state or not be available at all. The bill was reported out of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Utilities, and Public Policy Jan. 24.
Three ousted members of the Indiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association board of directors won a small battle Jan. 24 when the National HBPA executive committee ruled in their favor and recommended a new election. However, it appears the war between two Indiana HBPA factions is far from over.
Representatives of affiliates of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association indicated Jan. 22 they support uniformity in medication and drug testing but need clear guidelines and consistent interpretation of the rules by sometimes overzealous regulators and stewards.
The National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association medication committee hopes to establish what it calls "proper regulatory thresholds" for trace levels of the urinary metabolites of cocaine and morphine.
A dispute over an e-mail and alleged flyer posted at a southern Indiana training center has resulted in the dismissal of recently elected Indiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association president Jim Riddle and three board members. They have appealed the matter to the National HBPA.
Eclipse Award-winning jockey Tyler Baze was suspended by Hoosier Park stewards on Oct. 1 after a routine pre-race breathalyzer test revealed that he was under the influence of alcohol. Baze was scheduled to ride Southern Africa for trainer Mike Puhich in the $500,000 Indiana Derby (gr. II), but was removed from his mount when he failed the test.
Seeking to build upon a successful 2005 meet, Indiana Downs has submitted a proposal for 2006 race dates that would shift the 49-day meet back two weeks and incorporate afternoon racing three days a week. The Shelbyville track offered afternoon racing this spring in the form of a "Turf Tuesdays" program.
Hoosier Park is set to open its 60-day Thoroughbred meeting Saturday and if entries for the opening weekend are any indication, the Anderson oval could have a strong meet. A total of 14 races are carded for opening night, with 10 of the 11 Thoroughbred events attracting full fields.
Some horses at Indiana Downs are being tested for strangles after two of them showed symptoms of the equine respiratory disease in the receiving barn May 19. Live racing subsequently was canceled for the evening.
Thoroughbred racing returns to Indiana April 15 when Indiana Downs hosts the first of 48 cards that will comprise its 2005 race meet. The Shelbyville racetrack will conduct live racing Tuesdays through Saturdays through June 18, a change from the 2004 schedule aimed at maximizing simulcast handle.
Indiana's horse racing industry suffered a significant setback Monday as the House Public Policy and Veterans Affairs Committee defeated a bill calling for slot machines at both Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs.
Two proposals calling for pull-tab machines at Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs received their first hearing Jan. 26, but after three hours of debate in the House Public Policy and Veterans Affairs Committee, one thing was clear: Legislation to authorize the machines could meet an early fate.
Hoosier Park in Indiana lost its entire 12-race card the evening of Nov. 12 after all but a few members of the jockey colony refused to ride. The jockeys are protesting over what they believe is a lack of adequate medical insurance, and they also called on the track to install a safety rail.
Spendthrift Farm's big gray Stellar Jayne and So Madcapt Stable's New York-bred Capeside Lady were installed as the co-highweights for the 10th running of the $400,000 Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. III) at Hoosier Park Oct. 1.
Indiana's 2005 racing calendar could be summed up in two words: status quo. Earlier this month the Indiana Horse Racing Commission requested proposed race dates from Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs. Both racetracks have asked for Standardred and Thoroughbred dates consistent with their 2004 schedules.
Indiana Downs closed out its 48-day Thoroughbred meet June 20 with new records, but statistically, the Shelbyville racetrack had mixed results for its second season. While the track experienced an increase in simulcast handle and attendance, on-track handle and number of starters per race were down for the meet.
The Indiana Horse Racing Commission April 21 called for an economic impact study on the impact of having--or not having--Kentucky signals available at the state's racetracks and off-track betting parlors.
Indiana Downs opens its 48-day Thoroughbred meeting Friday evening. The Shelbyville, Ind. track has received strong interest for this year's meet as it has received stall applications for nearly 1,300 horses. The oval offers only 400 stalls.
Indiana's horse racing industry may have another opportunity to secure more financial stability. An amendment introduced and passed in the Senate Finance Committee Feb. 19 would increase the annual subsidy to the industry from $27 million to $44 million. It goes to the full Senate for consideration.
A bill that would allow electronic pull-tab machines at Indiana racetracks and two satellite wagering facilities crossed a second hurdle Jan. 21. The House Ways and Means committee approved the legislation by a 17-10 vote and sent it along for consideration by the full House.