06/06/2005 11:00PM

Horsemen find talks productive


Horsemen's groups in states where Churchill Downs Inc. owns racetracks plan to meet several more times this year to discuss the company's policies, officials of the groups said Tuesday.

Kent Stirling, executive director of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, said a horsemen's meeting Monday in Louisville, Ky., to share information "went better than anyone expected," leading the groups to decide to meet at least twice again this year.

In addition to the Florida horsemen's association, the groups that attended the meeting were the Thoroughbred Owners of California, Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Kentucky HBPA, and Louisiana HBPA. Horsemen called the meeting to address Churchill's simulcasting strategies, along with other topics. Stirling said some horsemen's groups have become concerned about falling simulcasting revenue at some Churchill tracks.

Karl Schmitt, president of the Churchill Downs Simulcast Network, declined comment other than to say, "I'm interested in hearing and talking to them about their concerns."