CALIFORNIA TO OUT-OF-STATE OWNERS: IOU

You think we have problems, check out his post from Ray Paulick’s Paulick Report.

Oh, the joys of sending a horse to race in California. Some owners with horses participating in last year’s Breeders’ Cup on the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita Park believed running on that track was a crapshoot if it was their horse’s first time on synthetics.

Obviously, it worked out for some (Raven’s Pass in the Classic was the most notable first-time synthetic winner), but not for others (Curlin finished fourth in the race, and trainer Steve Asmussen and owner Jess Jackson blamed the racing surface).

But that wasn’t the end of the surprises for out of state or foreign owners. Those who were lucky enough to get a share of the Breeders’ Cup’s $25.5 million in prize money had 7% of the purse they won withheld by the state of California for income tax purposes. They were told the money could be refunded after filing a tax return with the state. California is apparently one of the only states to withhold purse money awarded to out-of-state owners.

Well, guess what? Since the Breeders’ Cup was run, the state of California has fallen into a huge budget crisis and, for all practical purposes, is out of money.

So what did those owners get from the California treasury after they filed a state income tax return? An IOU, or a “registered warrant” as the state calls it, that may be worth something “on or AFTER” Oct. 2, 2009.”

As we like to say in the hospitable South, “Y’all come back now, hear?”

The Breeders’ Cup does indeed return to Southern California this Nov. 6-7. And some owners are wondering why.