04/16/2007 12:00AM

Kentucky authority's chief veterinarian retiring

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Dr. Nancy Davis, the chief veterinarian at the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, will retire on April 27, racing authority officials said at meeting of the group on Monday.

Davis has been a veterinarian with the authority and its predecessor, the Kentucky Racing Commission, for 33 years. She was appointed acting chief veterinarian 18 months ago.

Davis will be replaced by Dr. Lafe Nichols, a veterinarian based in Henderson, Ky., who has worked on the veterinary teams put together by the authority for big-race events like the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup.

At the Monday meeting, Lisa Underwood, the authority's executive director, said that the authority continues to search for an equine medical director who would supervise all equine health and drug-testing duties for the authority.

Also at the meeting, a group led by John T.L. Jones and R.D. Hubbard made a brief pitch for a Quarter Horse racetrack to be located in London, Ky., in the southeast area of the state. The group, which includes many of the investors in Zia Park in New Mexico, said that the track would cost $15 million to $20 million and have stabling for 300 horses.

Brent Caldwell, a Lexington, Ky., attorney representing the group, said that the track would be built regardless of whether the legislature authorizes slot machines at racetracks. The state's racing industry is expected to make an aggressive push for slot machines at tracks in 2008.

Hubbard and his partners built Zia Park, a Quarter Horse track with slot machines, for $50 million. Late last year, the group sold the track for $200 million to Penn National after one year of operation.