06/07/2005 11:00PM

Ky. breeder awards discussed


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Members of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club were presented with financial projections for two main proposals on how to distribute the state's new breeder awards at the club's June meeting Tuesday night in Lexington.

Legislation earlier this year established the Kentucky Thoroughbred Breeders Incentive Fund, which will earmark 80 percent of revenue from stud-fee taxes for breeders' awards. The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority will determine the fund's distribution criteria by Jan. 6, 2006. Based on stud-fee tax revenue in recent years, the incentive fund is expected to have $10 million to $12 million.

Initially billed as a town hall-style meeting, the meeting instead was a one-man presentation by the club's president, Ken Wilkins, who said his aim was to provide data to help breeders determine how the incentive fund should be allotted. Using information provided by The Jockey Club and others, Wilkins presented projections for two main distribution proposals. One would distribute awards for Kentucky-bred winners in Kentucky races only, while the other would distribute awards for Kentucky-bred winners throughout North America and in major international company.

Based on data including the number of Kentucky-bred winners and number of races in Kentucky, nationwide, and internationally, the figures provided by Wilkins showed a $16,000 average distribution per winner under a Kentucky-only plan, compared with a $2,700 average under a nationwide/international plan. But the figures also showed that breeders with a larger number of winners outside Kentucky could make more money under a national/international plan.

Wilkins also offered a third possibility: creating a percentage-based award that would pay breeders more for victories in wealthier races, placing a premium on quality production.

Although attendees did not have a forum to comment on Tuesday, there was discussion at an earlier meeting. In a May 18 town-hall meeting hosted by the the farm managers club, the Kentucky Equine Education Project, and Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, horsemen debated whether a Kentucky-only payout would reward commitment to in-state racing but ignore part of the market for the state's horses: out-of-state and internationally based investors.

Wilkins said that the groups are making surveys asking how to distribute breeders awards available to Kentucky breeders. The deadline for completing those surveys, which can be obtained through the farm managers' group, is June 15.

"I promise you, your voice will be heard," Wilkins told attendees Tuesday.

The farm managers' group, the equine education project, and the KTA/KTOB are to come to a consensus and present their awards-distribution choice to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority on July 1.