Saving Thoroughbred Racing, A Roadmap

Industry stakeholders urge fellow horseman to come together for a common goal.

 

Dear Friends & Fellow Horsemen;

Our industry stands at a crossroad; if we continue to accept the status quo, it could very well mean the end of Thoroughbred racing in the U.S. as we know it in the next few years. It’s time for tangible changes to finally put the welfare of our horses and the experience of our owners and racing fans first and foremost. We propose four key areas of reform as detailed below to revitalize our sport. Each of us signing this letter has different perspectives; we may not agree with 100% of every word or every suggestion, but we recognize in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “we must all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately”.

1.    Make Thoroughbred racing a truly national game, with uniform rules, regulations, promotion and marketing—coordinated and administered by a league office. Imagine the NBA or NFL operating with different rules in every state. If a touchdown was worth 5 points in California, 6 points in Florida and 8 points in New York, football would be totally dysfunctional. That’s exactly how thoroughbred racing functions today. Rules of the game must be uniform nationwide; medication, claiming rules, entry times, rider safety protocols, whip rules, etc. can no longer vary from state to state or track to track. The logical solution is what currently exists for other major sports; a national racing office run by a board comprised of industry stakeholders (owners, trainers, riders, veterinarians, racetrack owners, breeders sale companies and the Jockey Club), headed by a commissioner of racing with the ability to promulgate and enforce rules of the game nationwide.
2.    Embrace national medication regulations. The vast majority of stakeholders strongly support the passage of legislation to provide uniform medication rules and prohibit the use of performance-enhancing drugs. A program run by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) can address issues of both legal and illegal drug use and put U.S. racing jurisdictions in step with international standards. Many of us have different opinions about the use of race day medications but it’s time to get past the endless debates over Bute and Lasix. Whatever standards an independent regulatory agency comes up with, be it limited and strictly regulated race day Bute and/or Lasix or nothing at all, is something we must all be willing to live with for the greater good of our sport.
3.    Reform claiming races. All too often, claiming races as presently structured are a method of selling unsound horses. It’s time, both for the welfare of the horses and our public image, to turn claiming into a much-needed marketplace to sell good, sound horses. Here’s one approach utilizing an auction process; After each race is run, bidding on each runner starts at the listed claim price and the horse is sold to the highest bidder (no bids and the horse remains with the current owner). An owner may retain their horse if they don’t like the final bid price by paying the underbidder 20% of the highest bid price.
4.    Make ownership a pleasure instead of a hassle. Owners and racing fans are our most important resource and the backbone of our entire industry. The ownership experience needs to be radically reformed to minimize needless hassle and paperwork and guarantee a world-class experience every time an owner visits any racetrack. We need one national license honored in all states. One national Horseman’s Bookkeeper account that can be used at any-all tracks. Guaranteed perks and benefits for all licensed owners (free parking, admissions and programs, premium seating, dining discounts, etc.); every racing day at every venue. It’s time the Sport of Kings starts treating owners as kings instead of as an inconvenience. A high quality ownership experience at every racetrack can fill empty seats with owners, their families and friends.

We submit these as a template for discussion, realizing fully nothing will ultimately be implemented exactly as proposed here. Our goal is to encourage all industry stakeholders to sit down, reach some level of consensus, and come up with a specific, outlined business proposal for a path forward leading to action in each of these vital areas. Everyone in the game has a responsibility to get this right! We live in a different world now and ‘business as usual’ just won’t get it done. Either we get our collective heads out of the sand, grab the reins and take prompt action to bring the Thoroughbred industry into the 21st century or one by one, states will bow to increasing public pressure and outlaw our sport. When properly monitored and conducted, horse racing provides tens of thousands of jobs without mistreating horses and has been part of our social fabric since the beginning of the nation. The current model simply can no longer sustain itself; it’s time to come together and implement changes to finally put the safety of our horses and the total ownership experience first. Let’s get to work!

Thank you!
Ali Rice
Racehorse Stable

Barbara Luna
War Horses at Rose Bower

Becky Thomas
Sequel Bloodstock

Ben Colebrook
Trainer

Ben Taylor
Taylor Made Sales Agency, Inc.   Taylor Made Stallions, Inc.

Bobby Bulger
Founder – Monmouth Racetrack Memories

Bradley Weisbord
BSW Bloodstock/ELiTE Race Sales

Brandon Rice
Racehorse Stable

Donna Morejon
Owner – Sunrise Tack

Duncan Taylor
Taylor Made Sales Agency, Inc.   Taylor Made Stallions, Inc.

Eddie Kenneally
Trainer

Eddie Woods
Eddie Woods Thoroughbred Training Center

Eric Homme
Party of Five Racing

Frank Taylor
Taylor Made Sales Agency, Inc.   Taylor Made Stallions, Inc.

Gary Stevens
Hall of Fame Jockey

George Adams
Housatonic Bloodstock

George Katzenberger
Kenwood Racing, LLC

H. Robb Levinsky
Kenwood Racing, LLC

Jack Czajkowski
Kenwood Racing, LLC

Joe Lewko
Lewko Family Racing

Jennifer Young
Owner-trainer

John B. Madison, VMD
Ocala Equine Hospital

John Hamilton
Former Executive Director
T.O.B.A. and Bloodstock agent for Three Chimneys Farm

Kenny McPeek
Trainer
Founder – Horse Races Now

Lisa Bulger
Founder – Monmouth Racetrack Memories

Mark Taylor
Taylor Made Sales Agency, Inc.; Taylor Made Stallions, Inc.

Niall Brennan
Niall Brennan Stables

Nick & Jaqui de Meric
DeMeric Thoroughbred Sales

Ralph Pastore
Degaetano & Pastore Inc.
Empire Bloodstock

Pat Payne
Taylor Made Sales Agency, Inc.   Taylor Made Stallions, Inc

Ron Spatz
Trainer

Sol Kumin
Head of Plains Partners, LLC

Steven Denholtz
Denholtz Racing

TK Kuegler
Wasabi Ventures Stables

Tristan de Meric
DeMeric Thoroughbred Sales

Valery Mastromanaco
DeMeric Thoroughbred Sales

Wendy and John Slocombe
Owner

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TCA’s Horses First Fund Supports Backstretch and Aftercare Organizations Amid Pandemic

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Thoroughbred Charities of America’s Horses First Fund is providing funding to backstretch and aftercare organizations working to support the Thoroughbred community amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Established in 2016 by LNJ Foxwoods, the Horses First Fund assists Thoroughbreds and their caretakers in need of emergency aid due to large scale neglect, natural disaster, or other catastrophe.

The Backstretch Employee Service Team (BEST) will receive funding to support their on-site medical clinic at Belmont Park. The Sam Houston Race Park Chaplaincy will receive an emergency grant to provide meal services for backstretch workers at the now closed racetrack. The Horses First Fund will also provide grants to several aftercare organizations throughout the U.S. that have taken in additional Thoroughbreds due to the pandemic or have additional needs. It is expected that more funding will be distributed as further emergency needs are identified. Thoroughbred industry related nonprofit organizations interested in applying for an emergency grant may contact Erin Crady at ecrady@tca.org.

TCA has worked to stay in touch with its grantees throughout this uncertain time. One concern, echoed by numerous grantees, is for the loss of revenue due to cancelled fundraisers and events. TCA is working to create a free webinar that will offer suggestions on how to create virtual events and tips for digital fundraising.  Further details about the webinar will be released as they become available.

Emergency grants from the Horses First Fund are only possible because of the support of our generous donors. To join us in our efforts to assist Thoroughbreds and backstretch workers in need of emergency aid please consider a donation to the Horses First Fund. To donate, please visit tca.org.

Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) was formed in 1990 to raise and distribute funds to charities in the Thoroughbred industry that provide a better life for Thoroughbreds, both during and after their racing careers, by supporting qualified repurposing and retirement organizations and by helping the people who care for them. In 2019, TCA granted nearly $475,000 to 64 charities working within Thoroughbred retraining, rehoming and retirement; backstretch and farm worker services, research and equine-assisted therapy. Over the last 30 years, TCA has granted over $23 million to more than 200 charities that successfully meet the criteria set forth in its annual grant application. TCA also administers the Horses First Fund, founded by LNJ Foxwoods in 2016, to assist Thoroughbreds in need of emergency aid. TCA is the charitable arm of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).

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TOBA to Host Annual National Awards Dinner on September 8

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association has announced that the 33rd annual TOBA National Awards Dinner will be held on Saturday, September 8, 2018 at the Woodford Reserve Club at Kroger Field in Lexington, Ky.

The National Awards Dinner honors owners and breeders from 23 states and Canada. Also recognized are the National Owner of the Year and National Owner Finalists, National Breeder of the Year, Small Breeder of the Year, Broodmare of the Year, Rood & Riddle Sport Horse of the Year, Claiming Crown Horse of the Year and recipient of the Robert N. Clay Award.

“We look forward to a special and unforgettable evening of honoring the leading Thoroughbred owners and breeders in North America,” said Dan Metzger, president of TOBA.  “Hosting the National Awards Dinner at the University of Kentucky’s football stadium will provide a unique and exciting setting for all of our state and national winners and guests.”

Tickets for the National Awards Dinner will go on sale July 31 and will be available online at www.toba.org or call Meredith Downey at (859) 276-6793.

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Irwin Olian, 2017 Louisiana TOBA Award Recipient

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Irwin Olian (right) accepts the Louisiana TOBA Breeder Award.

Each year, TOBA honors owners and breeders from 23 states and Canada. The 32nd annual National Awards Dinner was held on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Ky.

Irwin Olian was selected as the Louisiana TOBA award recipient.

 

 

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Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence, WinStar Farm, Robert Manfuso and Leslie’s Lady, Top Winners at 32nd Annual TOBA National Awards

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s 32nd Annual National Awards Dinner was held at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Ky. on Saturday, September 9. Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence were named TOBA’s National Owner of the Year, and WinStar Farm was named the National Breeder of the Year. Robert Manfuso was named National Small Breeder of the Year and Leslie’s Lady, dam of Beholder, was honored with the National Broodmare of the Year title.

The National Awards Dinner, hosted by Jill Byrne of Breeders’ Cup Limited, also honored the achievements of Thoroughbred owners in the four major North American racing regions and breeders in 23 states and Canada.

Royal Posse, who won the 2016 Claiming Crown Jewel Stakes, was honored with Claiming Crown Horse of the Year, presented by the National HBPA.

The Rood & Riddle Sport Horse of the Year went to Zine Dine, owned by Hailey Rogge. This award was presented to the owner of the ex-Thoroughbred that has accumulated the most points in competition, as tracked by the United States Equestrian Federation.

In addition, the Heubeck family received the Robert N. Clay Award. In partnership with the Equine Land Conservation Resource, this award recognizes a member of the Thoroughbred community who has made an outstanding contribution to preserving land for equine use.

The State Breeders of the Year toured Claiborne Farm and were honored at an awards luncheon at Dudley’s on Friday, September 8.

 

A complete list of winners is as follows:

Regional Owners of the Year:

Eastern Region: Juddmonte Farms

Midwestern Region: John Oxley

Southern Region: Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence

Western Region: Spendthrift Farm

 

State Breeders of the Year:

Arkansas: McDowell Farm

California: Heinz Steinmann

Canada: David and Adrian Munro

Florida: Gilbert Campbell

Illinois: Barney and Anne Gallagher

Indiana: Michael E. & Penny S. Lauer

Iowa: H. Allen Poindexter

Kansas: Rocking G Horse & Cattle

Kentucky: WinStar Farm

Louisiana: Irwin Olian

Maryland: Robert Manfuso

Massachusetts: Kenneth Posco

Michigan: Lisa Campbell

Minnesota: Richard Bremer and Cheryl Sprick

New Jersey: Daniel Lopez

New York: Chester & Mary Broman

North Carolina: Nancy Shuford

Ohio: Tim Hamm

Oregon: Neil Knapp

South Carolina: Franklin G. Smith Sr.

Texas: Craig Upham

Virginia: William M. Backer

Washington: Jean and Jeff Harris

 

National Broodmare of the Year:

Leslie’s Lady

 

Claiming Crown Horse of the Year:

Royal Posse

 

Rood & Riddle Thoroughbred Sport Horse of the Year:

Zine Dine

 

Robert N. Clay Award:

The Heubeck Family

 

 

National Awards Dinner sponsors include Calumet Farm, LUXAIR Jets, Stoll Keenon Ogden, The Stronach Group and Adena Springs, H.E. “Tex” Sutton Forwarding Company, Jackson Family Wines, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, West Sixth Brewing, National HBPA, FLAIR Nasal Strips, NTRA Advantage, John Deere, The Horse and BloodHorse.

 

About TOBA

TOBA, based in Lexington, Ky., was formed in 1961 and is a national trade organization of leading Thoroughbred owners and breeders. TOBA’s mission is to improve the economics, integrity and pleasure of the sport on behalf of Thoroughbred owners and breeders. Projects managed by TOBA include the American Graded Stakes Committee, Claiming Crown, Ownership Seminars, Breeding, Conformation & Pedigree Clinics, TOBA Owners Concierge, OwnerView and the Sales Integrity Program. TOBA provides international representation for U.S. owners and breeders on the International Grading and Race Planning Advisory Committee, International Cataloguing Standards Committee and International Breeders Federation. Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA) is the charitable arm of TOBA. TOBA Media Properties, a subsidiary of TOBA, owns The Horse magazine, Eclipse Press and is co-owner of The BloodHorse LLC. TOBA is represented on the board of directors of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium as founding members.

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TOBA Announces Regional Owners of the Year

Juddmonte Farms, John Oxley, Spendthrift Farm, Klaravich Stables take the honors.

 

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association announced Aug. 30 that Juddmonte Farms, John Oxley, Spendthrift Farm and Klaravich Stables & William H. Lawrence have been selected as the TOBA Regional Owners of the Year.

The TOBA National Owner of the Year will be announced live at the TOBA National Awards Dinner, which will be held Saturday, Sept. 9 at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Ky.

TOBA will also honor breeders from 22 states and Canada. The National Breeder of the Year and the National Small Breeder of the Year will also be disclosed at the TOBA National Awards Dinner.

Other TOBA winners include Leslie’s Lady, dam of Beholder, who has been named as the National Broodmare of the Year and Royal Posse, who will be honored with Claiming Crown Horse of the Year, presented by the National HBPA.

The Rood & Riddle Sport Horse of the Year will go to Zine Dine, owned by Hailey Rogge.

The Heubeck Family will receive the Robert N. Clay Award, which recognizes a member of the Thoroughbred community who has made an outstanding contribution to preserving land for equine use.

“The winners of the TOBA awards represent extraordinary achievements in our sport,” said Dan Metzger, president of TOBA.  “We are honored to celebrate with them on what promises to be a memorable evening at Calumet Farm, as Thoroughbred owners and breeders arrive in Lexington for the September yearling sales.”

Tickets to the TOBA National Awards Dinner can be purchased at http://www.toba.org or by calling Meredith Downey at (859) 276-6793.

A complete list of state and regional winners is as follows:

Regional Owners of the Year:
East Region: Juddmonte Farms
Midwest Region: John Oxley
South Region: Klaravich Stables & William H. Lawrence
West Region: Spendthrift Farm

State Breeders of the Year:
Arkansas: Bill McDowell
California: Heinz Steinmann
Canadian: Adrian and David Munro
Florida: Gilbert G. Campbell
Illinois: Barney and Anne Gallagher
Indiana: Michael E. and Penny S. Lauer
Iowa: Allen Poindexter
Kansas: Lance and Valerie Gabriel
Kentucky: WinStar Farm
Louisiana: Irwin Olian
Maryland: Robert Manfuso
Massachusetts: Ken Posco
Michigan: Lisa Campbell
Minnesota: Rick Bremer and Cheryl Sprick
New Jersey: Daniel Lopez
New York: Chester and Mary Broman
North Carolina: Nancy Shuford
Ohio: Tim Hamm
Oregon: Neil Knapp
South Carolina: Franklin Smith Sr.
Texas: Craig Upham
Virginia: Mrs. William M. Backer
Washington: Jean and Jeff Harris

TOBA National Awards Dinner sponsors include Calumet Farm, Stoll Keenon Ogden, The Stronach Group and Adena Springs, H.E. “Tex” Sutton Forwarding Company, Jackson Family Wines (Official Wine Sponsor of the 2017 TOBA National Awards Dinner), Tito’s Handmade Vodka, West Sixth Brewing (official beer sponsor of the 2017 TOBA National Awards Dinner), National HBPA, FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips, NTRA Advantage and John Deere, The Horse and BloodHorse LLC.

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Nominations to Open for the Second Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards

 

Nominations will open May 8 for the 2017 Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards which were held in North America for the first time in 2016. Nominations can be submitted until Aug. 1. This year, there will be a total of six awards which will carry prize money of $128,000, an increase of $13,000 over last year.

Godolphin, the global racing stable founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is the principal sponsor of the awards in association with The Jockey Club, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protection Association, and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

Godolphin also sponsors the equivalent Stud and Stable Staff Awards in Ireland, Australia, Britain, and France.

Dan Pride, COO of Godolphin in America, said, “On behalf of Godolphin, we would like to thank everyone that made the first year of the TIEA a huge success, including the nominators. The involvement of The Jockey Club, the National HBPA and TOBA, as well as media support from BloodHorse, the TDN, Daily Racing Form, and TVG, was instrumental in bringing these awards to fruition. The first group of nominees were so impressive across the board and we fully expect to see that again this year. It’s heartwarming the hardworking men and women in our industry receive the recognition that they truly deserve.”

Dan Metzger, president of TOBA, commented, “To be in the audience as the awards were announced was a special moment for everyone in the room. It was a well-deserved acknowledgement of those dedicated employees who are often overlooked, but are so vital in making our industry a success.  We strongly encourage everyone to nominate deserving individuals they know who are doing their part to take care of our equine athletes.”

A new award category has been added, “The Newcomer Award,” which will recognize an individual who has been working in any area of Thoroughbred racing and/or breeding for less than five years as of May 8. In addition to the prize money for this award, the winner will also receive a five-day educational tour to Dubai with flights and accommodation included.

The Keeneland Association is honored to host the awards again this year which will take place Oct. 13.  Bill Thomason, president and chief executive officer of Keeneland, said, “Keeneland is privileged to be part of this very special program. These nominees are the true heroes of our industry and deserving of recognition for their commitment to excellence in racing.”

For more information and to nominate online, go to www.godolphinusawards.com.

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