08/26/2005 12:00AM

Report supports national awards plan


LEXINGTON, Ky. - A report from University of Louisville economic analysts - which Kentucky breeders hoped would resolve the debate over how the state's breeder incentive fund should be distributed - has backed a national distribution proposal. But the debate continues.

Economists Paul Coomes, Robert Lawrence, Shannon Neibergs, Richard Thalheimer, and Rich Wilcke told three horsemen's groups - the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, and the Kentucky Equine Education Project - they did not have enough time to conduct a full economic study of two distribution proposals under debate. But in a memo dated Aug. 11, they recommend a two-pronged plan for the incentive program: to distribute the estimated $10 million to $12 million fund to winners of maiden special weight races regardless of where they compete, and to require mares to be boarded continuously in the state between covering and foaling in order for her foal to be eligible for the program.

Noting that about 70 percent of the yearlings sold in Kentucky ultimately leave the state for their new owners, the memo said, "To restrict the breeders' award to performance of only those foals whose owners choose to race in Kentucky would be to penalize those breeders of Kentucky-bred horses who perform well in all markets at all levels."

This supports a national and international distribution plan backed by the farm managers and Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, which would offer a one-time payment for any Kentucky-bred winning its maiden anywhere in the world. KEEP has proposed career-long payments for Kentucky-breds winning at Kentucky racetracks only.

Airdrie Stud owner and KEEP director Brereton C. Jones Jr. took issue with some of the memo's contentions. Responding to the analysts' assertion that the Kentucky-only plan, though offering an incentive for Kentucky-bred horses to campaign in state, did not address the "disconnect" between breeder and owner of a horse that has been sold, Jones said: "Only if you assume that owners are not also breeders. Of the top 10 owners in the country, seven are also breeders."

Jones said that the Kentucky-only program proposed by KEEP would be more likely to help small-farm owners, "and what we do has to be geared toward helping them as well as the economy of the state."

In a release issued Aug. 24, the farm managers rejected that claim, saying the Kentucky-only proposal would disproportionately benefit a small number of large breeders. The group posted its own economic findings on its website at www.ktfmc.org.

Jones also faulted the analysts' report for sidestepping the issue of political concerns, which he believes are key to ensuring legislative help for other industry concerns, such as legalizing gaming at racetracks.

"We also have to meet the obligation we committed to when we asked the legislature for this money: to create jobs and economic opportunity," he said. "If we don't do that, we have lied to the legislators. And if we've lied to the legislators, then our future isn't very bright."

Lucky Lucky Lucky dies at 24

Kentucky Oaks winner Lucky Lucky Lucky, a record $3 million broodmare in 1986, died on Aug. 25 at Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum's Shadwell Farm near Lexington. The pensioned Chieftain mare was 24.

Lucky Lucky Lucky won six graded stakes, including the Oaks in 1984 and the Matron in 1983, and placed in eight others while competing against such runners as Princess Rooney, Miss Oceana, and Life's Magic. By the end of her career in 1984, she had earned $847,126 from a record of 22-6-5-5.

Three begin stallion career in Kentucky

Three new stallions - State City, Kela, and Mingun - are headed to Kentucky farms for the 2006 breeding season.

Buck Pond Farm, which announced earlier this week that it had acquired Grade 1 winner Colonial Colony, also has added $2 million earner and Grade 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen winner State City to its stud roster. State City's stud fee will be announced at a later date.

A 6-year-old Carson City-Wajna horse, State City will arrive from Australia's Alwyn Park Stud in December. State City also finished third in the Grade 2 Tom Fool and was third in the 2002 UAE Two Thousand Guineas, a Grade 3 event.

Kela, a millionaire Grade 1 winner by Numerous, will enter stud at Margaux Farm with a $7,500 fee. A 7-year-old son of Bolshoi Comedy (by Sovereign Dancer), Kela is a three-time graded winner and runner-up in the 2004 Breeders' Cup Sprint. Kela leaves the racetrack with a record of 26-8-6-1 and $1,022,527 in earnings.

Mingun has retired from racing and will stand alongside his sire, A. P. Indy, at Lane's End in Versailles, Ky., for a $7,500 fee in 2006. Mingun won 3 of 4 starts at age 3, including his career highlight victory in the Irish Group 3 Meld Stakes. Now 5, Mingun retires with a record of 8-3-1-1 and $208,818 in earnings.