John Ward, appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear as executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, has asked Public Protection Cabinet Secretary Bob Vance for approval to push his start day back from April 1 to April 16.
Ward said he needs the extra time to comply with an Executive Branch Ethics Commission opinion that he divest his business of relationships that could cause potential conflicts of interest.
The Kentucky Derby-winning trainer had said he would surrender his Kentucky training license but that his wife, Donna Ward, might take over. Last week's ethics opinion said that could be a problem if the horses are training at a Kentucky-regulated facility or if either were working for KHRC-licensed clients. Racing horses in John Ward's name in other states also could be a problem because it would require special state approval for outside employment.
The opinion also said Ward would need to be extra cautious in advising on purchases at horse auctions to avoid any conflict of interest of appearance of impropriety.