Rick Hiles

MSW Purses to Trend Upward at Keeneland, Churchill

Purses for maiden special weight (MSW) races are projected to trend upward this spring at both Keeneland Race Course and Churchill Downs. Track executives disclosed the pre-condition book figures during Tuesday's Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) advisory board meeting. "The MSWs for older horses are going to be $100,000. And the [MSW races for] 2-year-olds are going to be $80,000," said Keeneland's vice president of racing, Gatewood Bell. At Keeneland's 2021 spring meet, the comparable MSW purse levels were $79,000 and $60,000. Mike Ziegler, the senior vice president and general...

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Youth Movement: Barkley, Casse, Combs Join Kentucky HBPA Board

A trio of thirty-something trainers has been elected as newcomers to the Kentucky HBPA board with the addition of Jason Barkley, Norm Casse and Bentley Combs. Rick Hiles was re-elected as Kentucky HBPA president, with Frank Jones re-elected as the owner vice president and Dale Romans as the trainer vice president. Also re-elected to the board were owners Mark Bacon, Buff Bradley (who switches over from the trainer side), Mike Bruder and Travis Foley and trainer John Hancock. Trainer R.C. Sturgeon and owner James Williams will serve as alternates. Hiles,...

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Lawmakers Discuss Adding KTDF Money to Claiming Races

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...

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For Owner Brook Smith, There's a Method to His Madness

As the field loaded for Saturday's fourth race at Churchill Downs, Brook Smith could feel the butterflies churning in his stomach. He had just made one of the biggest bets of the meet, a $300,000 flyer. He hadn't bet to win, place or show but that three costly but unproven 2-year-olds were headed to bigger and better things. In less than a minute, he might be proven right but he also could have been proven very wrong. "This wasn't some rich dude or someone who has some money in his...

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KTDF in 'Fragile' State; Ellis 'Moving Heaven and Earth' to Have Race Meet

As the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) closes in on the three-month mark without being able to generate money via historical horse race (HHR) gaming and on-track wagering, Bill Landes III, the chairman of the fund's advisory committee, warned in a public teleconference meeting Wednesday that the money that gets allocated to pay a portion of purses on the state's racing circuit is running dangerously low. Although no specific dollar amounts were mentioned about how dry the funding is because of the recent COVID-19 business closures, a real-life example of...

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