Kentucky Governor Signs Bill Authorizing Quarter Horse Racing

(Thursday, March 27, 2003) - Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton on Thursday signed ceremonial legislation that effectively allows for live Quarter Horse races and simulcasts to return to the state.

Members of the Kentucky Quarter Horse Racing Association, including president Dwaine Cissell, attended the signing at the state capitol in Frankfort.

The bill, HB 389, updates Kentucky's racing statute to include Quarter Horse racing in the sections relating to intertrack wagering and simulcasting. The legislation allows a track licensed to conduct Quarter Horse racing to send and receive a signal and allows a track licensed to conduct racing to send and receive a signal. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Fred Nesler and co-sponsored by Majority Floor Leader Greg Stumbo.

"We've been working on getting live Quarter Horse racing back in Kentucky since last year," Cissell told The Blood-Horse. "Now, we basically just need to find a home to run some races."

At a Kentucky Racing Commission meeting last October, Turfway Park president Bob Elliston said his track would be willing to conduct Quarter Horse racing on a limited basis. Representatives from the Kentucky division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, representing Thoroughbred racing interests, voiced opposition to the plan, stating that there wasn't enough public interest to support a return of Quarter Horse racing to the state.

Also in October, the commission denied a license to Southern Bluegrass Racing, which had hoped to build a Quarter Horse track in rural Williamsburg. The last live Quarter Horse races in Kentucky were held at Bluegrass Downs in Paducah in 1992.

Cissell said the plans to meet with representatives from Turfway Park and Thunder Ridge, a standardbred track in Prestonburg, about possible Quarter Horse dates in 2004.

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