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Kentucky changes Sires Stakes residency rules

March 25, 2013

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Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear last week signed a bill that will open up the state's Sires Stakes program to horses sired by stallions in other states. Sponsored by Republican Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, the bill will officially be signed by Gov. Beshear late Monday afternoon in ceremonies at the state capitol building in Frankfort.

The bill allows the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to promulgate new rules that will allow progeny of mares who have resided in Kentucky for six months or more to have Kentucky Sires Stakes eligibility, regardless of where the stallion resided.

Walnut Hall Ltd. president Alan Leavitt told harnessracing.com Monday afternoon that the new rules won't go into effect until 2014, which means the first foals eligible for dual Sires Stakes eligibility wouldn't race until 2017.

"Under the new program that starts next year, anybody who boards his mare for more than six months in Kentucky, and breeds her with transported semen from another jurisdiction, will have a yearling to sell who is eligible to both the Kentucky Sires Stakes and the Sires Stakes of whatever program the sire stands in,” said Leavitt "That horse will have double eligibility.”

For example, the resulting foal of a Kentucky mare bred to a Pennsylvania stallion would be able to race in both the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and Kentucky Sires Stakes. However, the owners of that foal would not also be eligible to any breeders' awards in Pennsylvania.

"What they would be trading is nebulous breeders' awards for eligibility to a $2-million program with very limited competition,” added Leavitt.

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