State officials on Thursday approved $300,000 in tax incentives for the United States Equestrian Federation's plan to relocate its equine drug testing research laboratory to Kentucky from Ithaca, N.Y.
The move will bring with it 12 jobs paying an average hourly wage of $26 including benefits, according to state records. The relocation is expected to cost $1.47 million, state officials said.
The lab had been one of two competing for a two-year state drug testing contract. That contract was given earlier this month to HFL Sport Sciences, but USEF's move wasn't contingent on receiving the contract, said USEF CEO John Long. Long said his group expects to have a 7,500-square-foot lab at the University of Kentucky's Coldstream Research Campus. While the goal is to have it operational later this year, it won't be completed in time for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
The USEF's testing for the World Equestrian Games will be done at the lab in Ithaca, and the intention is to move its operations during the winter, which is a slower time for drug testing for equine events. From Lexington, the lab will conduct testing for equine events just as it did in Ithaca.
"We are headquartered here, but it has a lot to do with the legacy of the World Equestrian Games," Long said, noting that Lexington also offers a better labor market and close proximity to the major U.S. operations of UPS in Louisville.
"It makes a whole lot of sense," he said.