Funds for KHRA, Drug Testing Hang in the Balance

The Kentucky horse racing industry and some state lawmakers are rallying around legislation that would spare racetracks the cost of drug testing and provide millions of dollars a year to fund the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.

The bill

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The Kentucky horse racing industry and some state lawmakers are rallying around legislation that would spare racetracks the cost of drug testing and provide millions of dollars a year to fund the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.


The bill is expected to be discussed in “free” conference committee–that means changes can be made to the document–March 26 or March 27, the last two days of the Kentucky General Assembly session for 2007. Since it was first offered in January, the bill has been subject to much negotiation and amendment.


The bill, introduced in the House of Representatives because it deals with budgetary issues, would provide about $5 million a year in a revolving fund to support the KHRA, which in a recent state audit was said to be under-funded. The money would come from the pari-mutuel excise tax after statutory deductions for the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund, Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council, and the University of Louisville equine business program are made.


An alternative also being discussed would suspend racetrack license assessments for another year to raise about $1.2 million for the KHRA. A similar plan was enacted in 2006 but only for one year. Thoroughbred tracks pay $3,500 and Standardbred tracks $1,750 per live racing day

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Tom LaMarra, a native of New Jersey and graduate of Rutgers University, has been news editor at The Blood-Horse since 1998. After graduation he worked at newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as an editor and reporter with a focus on municipal government and politics. He also worked at Daily Racing Form and Thoroughbred Times before joining The Blood-Horse. LaMarra, who has lived in Lexington since 1994, has won various writing awards and was recognized with the Old Hilltop Award for outstanding coverage of the horse racing industry. He likes to spend some of his spare time handicapping races.

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