ST. PAUL – Onamia resident Gert Lambert learned last week just how important a conversation with her state legislators can be.
In February, Lambert approached State Representative Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton, at a town meeting about finding a way to help Arabian breed horse owners benefit from the Minnesota Breeder’s Fund. Lambert explained that Canterbury Park in Shakopee only allows a small number of Arabian races each season, meaning breeders often have to go to neighboring states to race their horses, effectively shutting them out of the breeder’s fund.
Lambert asked on behalf of the Arabian Racing Association of Minnesota that the Minnesota Racing Commission be allowed to distribute money to Arabian breed owners who race at tracks in border states. Erickson agreed to author a bill to do just that, which was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Pawlenty last Tuesday.
The breeder's fund is under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Racing Commission and is distributed to owners of the breeding stallion, dam and the running horse if it places in the top three positions when racing. When owners of the horse racing track in Fargo, North Dakota, notified the Arabian Racing Association last year that they would like to include Arabians in their six-week racing schedule, Lambert and others realized there was need to change to state law.
“These are Minnesota bred horses owned by Minnesota residents. It’s not fair to shut them out of the breeder’s fund just because the largest track in the state doesn’t accept their horses more than once or twice,” Erickson said.
“Hopefully this will allow the breed to succeed and Canterbury will host them for more races.”