Lexington, KY --- A Kentucky lawmaker has introduced legislation that would effectively allow the progeny of Standardbreds not sired by Kentucky stallions to participate in the Kentucky Sires Stakes program.
The bill, filed by Republican Sen. Damon Thayer, strikes statutory language that defines a Kentucky-bred Standardbred as one having been sired by a stallion standing in the state. It allows the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to adopt rules to determine eligibility, residency, and registration of mares and their progeny.
Standardbred stakeholders in the state have held meetings to find ways to beef up the Kentucky Sires Stakes, which is supported by harness racing’s share of the Breeders’ Incentive Fund. They money, about $2 million a year, fund the sires stakes program.
Advocates would like to open the program to horses sired by stallions in other states. There would be residency requirements for mares.
“Some of the Standardbred guys said the sires stakes as structured are not attracting stallions to the state,” Thayer said. “Statutory and regulatory changes are needed to alter the definition of Kentucky-bred horses.
“I have some reservations about that, but it is their program, and they feel it needs to be changed.”
Eliminations and finals for the Kentucky Sires Stakes, for 2- and 3-year-old trotters and pacers, are raced in August and early September at The Red Mile each year.