Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Okla. Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse Groups Fight over Revenue of Simulcasts

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Okla. Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse Groups Fight over Revenue of Simulcasts

Article excerpt

Now that there is more money to be made in Oklahoma's horse racing industry, two horsemen's groups are beginning to battle over how some of the new revenue should be divided among them.

Members of the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association agree that State Question 712 turned the horse industry in Oklahoma around. Approved in 2004, SQ 712 allowed racetracks to offer electronic gaming machines and provided horsemen a portion of gaming revenues the state receives from American Indian tribes.

"The landscape in Oklahoma has changed considerably" since SQ 712 passed, Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma President Joe Lucas told members of the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission at their meeting on Thursday. Since the measure was approved, the amount of money available to offer as prizes has surged from $10 million to $35 million, putting Oklahoma back in the running to compete with other states in the region.

Now that there is plenty of money available for everyone, said Lucas, the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma is requesting that thoroughbreds be allocated a greater percentage of simulcast revenues. More than 90 percent of all simulcast wagers made in Oklahoma are placed on thoroughbred races, yet thoroughbred horsemen receive only about 65 percent of simulcast revenue, said Lucas.

"Let us live and grow on what our industry and our investments are producing," Lucas said to the commission. In past years, it made sense to "subsidize" other horse breeds with simulcast revenues, said Lucas. But now that Oklahoma is considered one of the best states for quarter horses, it's time to redirect more funds to the thoroughbred industry, which currently is suffering from a shortage of horses.

Other states, such as Arkansas and Louisiana, currently allocate the majority of simulcast dollars to thoroughbreds, he said, and those states may lure away breeders and owners from Oklahoma. …

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