Cook says Governor’s Office OK’d new breeders’ award legislation after veto

    A bill to increase funding for awards to Arizona horse breeders will get a second chance after Gov. Doug Ducey vetoed it.

    Rep. David Cook told the Mirror that he’s planning to attach similar language from his vetoed legislation to another racing-related bill, with approval from Ducey’s office. Cook, a Republican from Globe, said the new language emerged from a stakeholders meeting that included Arizona’s racetracks, horse breeders and the Governor’s Office.

    “We have our agreement. We will be sending it back up there, with their blessing,” Cook said.

    Ducey last week vetoed Cook’s House Bill 2576, which both chambers of the Legislature had passed unanimously. The bill would have taken 1 percent of the in-state “handle” from Arizona’s horse racing industry – the amount contributed annually by people who bet on horse races – and used the money to provide awards for Arizona-bred horses that place in races. Advocates say increased awards are needed to encourage horse breeding in Arizona.

    According to the Arizona Department of Gaming, the industry’s 2018 handle was nearly $149 million. But in his veto letter, Ducey said he was concerned that the legislation didn’t define “in-state handle.”

    Cook said the issue comes down to which tracks are included in calculating the handle. Off-track betting allows out-of-state bets on races in Arizona, as well as Arizona-based wagers on races in other states.

    “We want to make sure … if you’re (betting) on another track in another state, that those aren’t part of this formula that is going to fund the breeders’ award,” Cook said.

    Jeremy Duda
    Associate Editor Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”


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