Indiana program escapes legislative changes
March 12, 2012
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While battles with government leaders for funds are in play in Ontario and Pennsylvania, the Indiana state legislature adjourned its annual budget session last Friday and the state's racing program was left intact for 2012.
"Nothing changed. We were lucky that we escaped the session,” said Jack Kieninger, president of the Indiana Standardbred Association. "We had one legislator that wanted to take us back to the $27 million—the riverboat subsidy amount that was paid before gaming at the racetracks. He also tried to tack on a couple of amendments to take away breed development money or cap it, but his proposals died.”
The Indiana Horse Racing Commission recently announced that the breed development funds will be $5 million less in 2012 because it spent more than $17 million last year, an amount that outpaced the incoming slots revenue. So this season the budget will be $12.8 million.
Some of the most significant changes come in the awards and bonus program. Last year breed development paid out more than $1.3 million in breeder's awards, with the breeders of some of Indiana's top sire stakes horses raking in tens of thousands of dollars. Beginning with the 2012 campaign, breeder's awards will be paid based on a horse's percentage of win earnings compared against the total win earnings available. The total breeders awards will be capped at $700,000 and now will be paid at year's end. The Indiana-sired bonus will be handled in the same fashion. Last year the nearly 900 awards totaled close to $750,000; this year the awards are capped at $500,000.
Also, the Indiana Sire Stakes program will be structured with a Gold and Silver level in 2012, with owners and trainers choosing between the two programs for their horses. The Gold level will offer legs of $30,000 each, with $200,000 finals, while the Silver level will have $10,000 legs and $40,000 finals.--harnessracing.com