With the 2022 Breeders’ Cup next week and Del Mar Fall set to commence the final major meet of the year, we wanted to share the latest news from TOC. First and foremost, please help me welcome our new CEO/President Bill Nader. Bill joins us from the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), where he has held senior executive positions since 2007. Prior to that, Bill was the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the New York Racing Association, where he was employed from 1994-2007. HKJC is widely recognized as the world-class leader in Thoroughbred racing and wagering.
During Bill’s tenure, wagering increased from HK$60 billion in 2006 to a record high HK$133 billion in 2021. Bill started October 10th and has hit the ground running, attending our annual Northern California meeting, and tackling the day-to-day issues facing owners in California. Being a “race tracker” you will no doubt see Bill walking around places such as Clocker’s Corner at Santa Anita Park in the mornings and in the grandstands in the afternoon.
Yes on Prop 26
Earlier this week TOC, Del Mar and The Stronach Group sent an email with our joint recommendation to vote YES on Prop 26. Proposition 26 will legalize in-person sports betting at racetracks and tribal casinos. Allowing in-person sports wagering at California’s four major racetracks will not only increase attendance and on-track activity but provide an infusion to purses which will then be redirected to horsemen and women and grow the economic impact of the industry for all of California. The TOC team, along with other California stakeholders were instrumental in getting horse racing included in Prop 26. Special thanks to Board Member Bob Liewald for leading the sports wagering initiative. Let’s get out the vote!
Annual Meeting – Northern California
Last week, our annual Northern California meeting was conducted at Golden Gate Fields with nearly 100 horsemen and women in attendance. Board members and staff went over a variety of issues in the North including race dates, adding more Golden State Series stakes, summer stabling and further subsidies for vanning horses between the Northern meets. Board members who attended included former Chairman Nick Alexander, Stephanie Hronis and all three northern reps in Vice Chairman – North Ed Moger, Johnny Taboada and Lindsay LaRoche. It is always freshening to see and connect with the many faces from the North whose infectious enthusiasm and unbridled passion for our sport is very evident. Big thanks to CEO Craig Fravel and GGF GM David Duggan for both attending and hosting the event for us.
California received the first draft of the 2023 HISA assessment for review and stakeholders got a glimpse of the future potential costs of HISA. The national budget is over $70m for its first full year, one that will include overseeing medication as well as safety. The methodology HISA used calculated California’s portion at $7.3m or about 10%. HISA provided a line item budget with the majority of funds being spent on medication testing. Speaking of medication, HISA also submitted to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the technical document listing and categorizing 1,365 Prohibited Substances covered by HISA’s anti-doping and medication control (ADMC) rules. The document is now subject to final approval by the FTC ahead of the ADMC Program’s January 1, 2023 implementation date. TOC Medication Chair Rick Gold, who was just named to the HISA horsemen/women advisory committee, has been working the front lines for us with all stakeholders and TOC staff to scrub the HISA and CHRB budgets and the prohibited substances list. Since CHRB spends ~$7m already for medication testing, our hope is that if there are incremental costs to California, it will be manageable. We can’t begin to thank Rick enough for the hard work and effort in protecting our rights in this important new area.
2022 Breeders’ Cup
Finally, good luck to the California connections in 2022 Breeders’ Cup. California is represented by 26 horses on the pre-entries list of Breeders’ Cup 14 races, including the world’s top ranked horse Flightline, owned by Hronis Racing LLC, Siena Farm, LLC, Summer Wind Equine, LLC, West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing LLC and trained by John Sadler. Flightline will almost certainly finish the year as the top ranked horse due to rankings that are based on a single performance. Flightline’s 139 score in the Pacific Classic is the highest for a race run on dirt since the ratings were implemented. Good luck to all the participants in the World Championships and we look forward to California (Santa Anita Park) hosting the 2023 Breeder’s Cup for the record 16th time next year.