Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Governor Fletcher Promotes Thoroughbred Breeders' Incentive Fund Program

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, May 02, 2006  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall
Jodi Whitaker
Troy Body

Mark York

Kentucky-bred Oaks, Derby winners would benefit from awards

FRANKFORT, Ky. – As excitement builds to the 132nd running of the Kentucky Oaks and Derby this week, a new bonus will be in play if the winner of either race is a Kentucky-bred horse.

Governor Ernie Fletcher promoted the thoroughbred breeders’ incentive fund today during a visit to the backside of Churchill Downs. The incentive program was part of Governor Fletcher’s “Jobs for Kentucky” initiative passed by the 2005 General Assembly.

“While we wish all thoroughbred breeders good luck in the Oaks and Derby, a Kentucky-bred winner would add a $100,000 bonus to the breeder as a result of the incentive fund,” Governor Fletcher said. “As the racing world focuses on this year’s Oaks and Derby races we have provided even more excitement for our Kentucky breeders.”

Governor Fletcher presented a ceremonial check to Jeanne and Mike Owens, breeders of Derby hopeful and Toyota Bluegrass Stakes winner Sinister Minister. The Owenses became the first Kentucky breeders of a Grade I stakes race winner eligible for a $25,000 award from the fund.

“This money helps all breeders compete, especially the small breeder,” Mike Owens said. “This money will be invested back into the horse industry in Kentucky, the signature industry for Kentucky.”

The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority unanimously approved the components of the incentive program last November. Governor Fletcher signed an emergency regulation in order to have the program implemented for the 2006 racing and breeding seasons.

The incentive program requires a mare to reside in Kentucky from the time of breeding until birth of the foal. Incentive payments will be contingent on the foal’s eventually winning on the race track.

The bonus for Kentucky-bred Oaks and Derby winners is part of the Kentucky Grade I Stakes component of the fund. Twenty-five thousand dollars will be awarded to the Kentucky breeder of all winners of Grade I stakes run within the Commonwealth. But in the Oaks and Derby, the incentive grows to a total of $100,000 for a Kentucky-bred winner of each race.

The $12 million thoroughbred incentive program was created to preserve and enhance Kentucky’s pre-eminent position in the thoroughbred breeding industry. The program is funded from the proceeds of sales use taxes on stallion stud fees.

According to The Jockey Club, Kentucky leads all states producing registered thoroughbred foals. In 2004, 9,731 foals were registered in Kentucky, representing 28.7 percent of the total U.S. market.