Horse racing gallops into the Idaho Legislature Monday, Feb. 9 in a variety of proceedings.
When the Senate State Affairs Committee gavels into session Monday morning, lawmakers will take up two separate bills concerning so-called "historic horse racing," where gamblers bet on machines that display results of prior races. Proponents say the gambling has been necessary to keep the doors open at Idaho racetracks, but opponents insist that the machines are too similar to slot machines, which are illegal in the Gem State.
One measure would revoke the 2013 Legislature's approval of the machines, which resulted in nearly 250 historic horse racing terminals being installed at race tracks in Garden City
, Coeur d'Alene and Idaho Falls. A separate measure would limit the machines to the three locations where they're already installed.
But things should be all-smiles on the floor of the Idaho Senate when a concurrent resolution will be introduced honoring thoroughbred racing legend Gary Stevens. Stevens, a 51-year-old Caldwell native, is expected to be in the Senate gallery during Monday's vote.
In his hall-of-fame career, Stevens won three times each at the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and Preakness Stakes. He's also won 10 Breeder's Cup races. Stevens is also a familiar face to television viewers as a lead analyst for NBC Sports. He's also had a bit of an acting career, appearing in the Oscar-nominated Seabiscuit
, in which he portrayed another legendary jockey, George Woolf.
Stevens came out of retirement in 2013 to return to his winning ways: in 2014, he had 145 starts and 31 wins.