07/13/2008 11:00PM

Kentucky panel acts on licensing


The newly staffed Kentucky Horse Racing Commission addressed a variety of topics when it met Monday in Lexington, Ky., including approval of new licensing language that moves to effectively close the lessor-lessee loophole that recently made news with the minority partners in Curlin.

The changes, which still must be approved by a legislative review committee, will more closely adhere to updated recommendations in the Association of Racing Commissioners International guidelines, most notably language that no longer would permit transferal of ownership of a horse to a lessee without the lessor being properly licensed.

John Veitch, chief state steward, had sought the change in light of what occurred recently when the 20-percent ownership of Curlin was transferred by the principals in the Midnight Cry Stable before the June 14 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham Jr., the jailed lawyers involved in the widely publicized fen-phen settlement, transferred ownership of Midnight Cry to their respective girlfriend and wife, ostensibly to avoid legal complications in the licensing process, according to Veitch.

The commission also formed a safety committee before hearing lengthy presentations on relevant issues - including one concerning whips from retired Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron - before voting to amend its restrictions on horseshoes, including turndowns and stickers.

The commission also approved a day of Quarter Horse racing at Turfway Park at the upcoming fall meet. Turfway also was approved to begin offering the Super High Five wager.