02/22/2008 12:00AM

Rally planned in Kentucky


Kentucky Thoroughbred horsemen and other equine groups are being urged by a horse-industry lobbying group to travel to the state capital of Frankfort on Tuesday in order to show support for a bill that would ask voters to legalize casinos at racetracks.

The lobbying group, the Kentucky Equine Education Project, sent an e-mail on Thursday night asking all horse groups to meet at the Capitol building and to bring horse trailers. The group was formed in 2005 to press for legislation favorable to the horse industry.

The rally is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"We're not going to give speeches or have any events," said Gene Clabes, the equine director for the lobbying group. "We just want horse people to meet with their legislators and let them know how they feel."

In an e-mail that was distributed by the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association on Friday morning, horsemen were asked to attend the rally "to impress upon members of the legislature that racing, the signature of Kentucky, is dying without help." The KHBPA said in its notice that "buses would be provided" for the rally.

Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, campaigned last year on a platform of asking voters to legalize casinos at racetracks, and last week he presented a proposal that would offer casino licenses to all eight tracks in the state. The proposal is given little chance to pass the Senate this year, which is dominated by Republicans.

Beshear's proposal would give racetrack owners 50 percent of the revenues from casinos. Horsemen would receive 15 percent as a subsidy for purses.