09/01/2009 12:00AM

Turfway, horsemen set purses


Turfway Park and Kentucky horsemen have agreed to put off a possible purse reduction by agreeing to a contract extension that keeps purses at or near their 2008-09 levels through the winter-spring meet, which ends April 1, 2010, according to a news release issued Tuesday by the Kentucky division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

KHPBA president Rick Hiles said last week that Turfway management was seeking to cut annual purses by about $700,000, or roughly 5 percent. Turfway president Bob Elliston said he was unable to comment on the matter.

"The KHBPA felt that a contract extension was the pragmatic approach to the fluid situation that currently exists in Kentucky," Marty Maline, executive director of the KHBPA, said in the release. "We realize that Turfway is in a very precarious position."

Turfway, located in Florence, Ky., begins its 22-day fall meet Sept. 9. The track also runs a holiday meet of about five weeks from late November to Dec. 31 and a three-month winter-spring meet ending in April. Purses for all Turfway dates are expected to total about $14 million.