06/21/2001 11:00PM

Racing caucus holds first meeting


A caucus of federal lawmakers formed to address issues related to horse racing met for the first time Thursday in Washington.

The Racing and Breeding Caucus, headed by Rep. Ernie Fletcher of Kentucky and Rep. Karen Thurman of Florida, discussed tax and health issues, among other subjects, according to Greg Avioli, the deputy commissioner of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, who attended the meeting along with Tim Smith, the NTRA commissioner.

Twenty-one members of the House have joined the caucus, according to Josh Holly, a spokesman for Fletcher. The members include all six representatives from Kentucky, Billy Tauzin of Louisiana, Dan Portman of Ohio, and Dick Armey of Texas.

Holly said the caucus plans to meet every month. Members of the caucus will also be invited to visit horse farms and tour racetracks, Holly said.