11/09/2005 12:00AM

Panel: Let breeding bonuses cross border


A subcommittee of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority has recommended that the state approve a program that will award bonuses to the breeders of Kentucky-bred horses that win both inside and outside the state.

The subsidy program was created by legislation passed earlier this year that directs $12 million of an estimated $15 million in annual sales taxes on stud fees to a fund that will award money to the breeders of Kentucky-bred winners of Thoroughbred races. Since the legislation was passed, state racing interests have sparred on whether to restrict the bonuses to horses who win races inside the state.

The subcommittee's recommendation would award a bonus equal to 25 percent of the winning purse to the breeder of a horse who wins a maiden, allowance, or stakes race in Kentucky. The award would be capped at $10,000.

The subcommittee also recommended that the fund award a bonus equal to 10 percent of the winning purse of maiden and allowance races in states other than Kentucky. The out-of-state bonuses, also capped at $10,000 each, would be restricted to 2-, 3-, and 4-year-olds.

In a release, Damon Thayer, the state senator who sponsored the legislation creating the fund, said that he had urged Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher to support the program and sign it into law as an emergency regulation, possibly allowing it to take effect Jan. 1.

The racing authority, which will administer the program, will likely take up the recommendation on Nov. 21 at its next meeting, according to Doug Hendrickson, the chairman of the subcommittee and an authority member.