05/16/2004 11:00PM

Kentucky hears new group


Brereton C. Jones Jr., owner of Airdrie Stud and former governor of Kentucky, made a presentation Monday at the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority's monthly meeting in Lexington on behalf of the Kentucky Equine Educational Partnership, which was formed earlier this month as an all-breed promotional and lobbying group.

The partnership, originally named the Kentucky Equine Educational Alliance, has so far raised more than $350,000 to start an educational campaign about the horse industry's economic impact on Kentucky.

Another member of the partnership, WinStar Farm co-owner Bill Casner, said that the group has also received $125,000 in financial commitments from horse industry leaders.

Jones told the commission that the partnership plans to place a representative in each of Kentucky's 120 counties to serve as local spokesmen on behalf of the horse industry. The group also plans to lobby the Kentucky legislature, with breeders' awards prominently on the agenda.

In other business, the racing association asked state veterinarian Dr. Mitzi Fisher to examine other racing jurisdictions' procedures for handling horse deaths at racetracks with a possible eye toward establishing guidelines in Kentucky. The association's vice-chair, Connie Whitfield, suggested eventually having standard procedures, including necropsies; urine, blood, and tissue samples; and interviews with jockeys and stewards as standard procedure when horses die at Kentucky tracks.

The racing association said it was continuing consideration of its controversial helmet rule, which requires jockeys to wear a specific type of helmet.