02/28/2006 12:00AM

Ky. coverage bill proposed

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Legislation that would provide for workers' compensation payments to injured jockeys in Kentucky was introduced to the state's House of Representatives on Monday.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Belcher, seeks to establish a state-administered fund that would cover jockeys for injuries sustained while riding, mounting, or dismounting any horse at a Kentucky racetrack or training facility.

Under the legislation, racetracks would be required to contribute one-third of the cost of the program. Another third would come from starters' fees assessed to racehorse owners on each horse who runs in Kentucky, and the remaining third would be

provided by a deduction from race purses, with a maximum of 1 percent of the total purse.

Jockeys in Kentucky are currently covered under racetrack-purchased plans that cap payments at $1 million. Workers' compensation plans typically provide unlimited accident coverage and lifetime disability payments.

A committee of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority has estimated the fund would need $1.2 million a year.