01/13/2005 12:00AM

Authority meets on Ramsey, jockey ads

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - An investigation into whether prominent owner Ken Ramsey violated Kentucky racing rules when asking a trainer to scratch her horse out of a race is "ongoing," the executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority said Thursday after a meeting outside of Lexington.

The racing authority discussed the case during an executive session that was closed to the public. After the session, Jim Gallagher, the authority's executive director, said he could not comment on any aspect of the case except to confirm that the investigation had been handed over to the authority after stewards at Turfway Park completed their interviews in the case.

According to a horseman familiar with the case, Ramsey, who has been nominated for the 2004 Eclipse Award for owner of the year, asked owner-trainer Barbara Connor to scratch her horse out of the first race at Turfway on Dec. 31 so that Ramsey's horse, Ken's Cat, could draw into the race. Connor's horse, Mamaroni, was a longshot on the morning line, while Ken's Cat would have been one of the favorites. Connor did not scratch Mamaroni.

Gallagher said he could not comment on when the investigation might be completed, but said he expected the case to be discussed at the authority's next meeting on Feb. 22.

Also at Thursday's meeting, the authority reviewed a proposal submitted by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association that would govern advertising on jockeys' clothing. The proposal was endorsed by all of Kentucky's racetracks, along with the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, Gallagher said.

The authority will review the proposal over the next month with the intent of crafting a rule it can adopt, Gallagher said. He also distributed a copy of the proposal to Darrell Haire, a representative of the Jockeys' Guild, and asked for the Guild's input.

Last year, just before the Kentucky Derby, five jockeys sued the authority over a rule that prohibited riders from wearing advertising during a race. A judge ruled in favor of the jockeys, calling the rule an infringement on riders' rights. The judge also said that riders could wear patches in the Derby signifying membership in the Guild.

When asked whether the authority was intent on adopting a rule before this year's Derby, Gallagher said, "We'll have to see how the process goes."

"Trying to figure out how a regulation might work its way through a chain, it's very difficult to have a crystal ball," Gallagher said.