Lawmakers Discuss Adding KTDF Money to Claiming Races

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Damon Thayer

In a meeting in Frankfort Friday, the Pari Mutuel Wagering Taxation Task Force, led by State Senator and majority floor leader Damon Thayer, outlined the advantages of allowing Kentucky-breds in claiming races to receive purse supplements.

Claiming races currently are not eligible to have Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) supplements added to their purses.

“You need claiming horses in order to provide the opportunities for allowance and stakes horses,” said Rick Hiles, president of the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association (KHBPA). “It's time to acknowledge their important role and to let all horses born in the state and sired by a stallion in the Commonwealth benefit from being a Kentucky-bred.”

In Kentucky, claiming races make up about half of the races but account for only 17% of total purses. The KTDF supplements, which often comprise 25 to 50% of a non-claiming race, are paid out only to registered Kentucky-breds. Those are horses born in the commonwealth and sired by a Kentucky stallion.

Thayer explained the best way to implement the policy was through legislation enabling the expansion, but the KHRC and KTDF advisory committee would oversee the parameters.

The Kentucky HBPA projects that KTDF on claiming races would add between $5 million-$10 million a year to those purses, if applied at the approximate percentages of other races. Claiming horses also provide a stream of revenue to the state's General Fund via the six% state sales tax applied every time a horse is claimed. Through Nov. 13, a total of 923 horses had been claimed in Kentucky for a total of $22,400,500 with 27 days of racing left in the 2021. That accounts for $1,362,030 in sales tax.

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