TOC News and Announcements

The latest news, updates and announcements from TOC

Chairman’s Message

September 2021

To TOC Members,

Happy Fall. I hope everyone had a great summer. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club concluded its 82nd meeting in record fashion. Handle eclipsed $500 million for the 31 racing days, and owners enjoyed record purses and safe and exciting racing of full fields. Moving forward we are pleased to announce that purses will increase to record levels at all three upcoming Southern California meets including the Santa Anita Fall, Del Mar Fall and Santa Anita Winter/Spring meets. We are especially encouraged that Del Mar 2022 may also see another big bump in purses as well.

These unprecedented purse increases result from a combination of the $12 million in ADW purse enhancements negotiated by TOC with the ADW companies earlier this year and increased statewide pari-mutuel wagering throughout 2021. It has never been a more exciting or lucrative time to own a Thoroughbred in Southern California. We thank you for the continued support of California racing.

The TOC board and staff have been working hard to ensure the highest possible purses and best racing experience for California owners. We encourage members to get involved and bring up ideas that can help better California racing. TOC is your organization, representing stakeholder interests, and we want to know how we can help and be more transparent and communicative. Here are the current interests we are working on:


On many minds is the pending implementation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) approved by Congress in December 2020. HISA would create and enforce uniform safety and medication rules across all racing states in the U.S. HISA has a statutory start date of July 1, 2022, but that could be delayed based on current legal challenges to the enabling legislation’s constitutionality from ten state attorneys general.

TOC is in active discussions with HISA representatives and the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) on any new rules or regulations, how the costs of HISA will be allocated, and issues relating to the transition of California regulatory functions to HISA. We will be scheduling a TOC members call prior to the end of the year to review all the information and answer any questions. Special thanks to TOC Medication Chair Rick Gold for overseeing this important movement in our industry.


The California Sports Wagering ballot initiative is officially on the ballot for 2022. If passed, sports wagering will become legal in California at brick-and-mortar retail locations at tribal casinos and four racetracks – Del Mar, Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields, and Los Alamitos. With tens of millions of dollars of new revenue projected for racetracks and the purse account, we are currently in negotiations on specific business terms for sharing the new revenue streams with our partner tracks.

Big props to TOC CEO Greg Avioli and TOC Vice Chairman Bob Liewald, who have been actively involved in discussions with proponents of this and other potential initiatives that would legalize sports wagering in California, as well as the California legislature and Governor Newsom’s administration. We anticipate a number of twists and turns in the coming months and will keep the membership updated as new events unfold on this potentially lucrative endeavor.


One of my favorite times of the year is our northern annual meeting at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday, October 25 at 10:00 a.m. Our members in the north are the some of the most enthusiastic and passionate owners anywhere in the world – with an especially high percentage of owner breeders and owner trainers. It is always a lively and active discussion. On the forefront of topics for this year’s TOC Northern Annual Meeting will be working towards a long-term stabling solution for summer racing, and increasing the number and purse sizes for California Bred stakes races at Golden Gate. New board member Lindsay LaRoche has been instrumental in advocating on the North’s behalf and initiating new ideas and direction for the hard-working horsemen and women. We hope to see everyone there.


Special thanks to Board Member Stephanie Hronis who has reinvigorated the Owner Relations Committee. In August the Committee launched the first “Golden State Fillies” program dedicated to bringing more females into horse ownership. The inaugural event boasted more than 50 attendees who learned about horse ownership from a number of female panelists including one of the very best – board member Samantha Siegel. In addition, the committee also hosted well attended TOC Member Appreciation Days at Del Mar and Golden Gate Fields. Look for more events in the coming weeks!

Good luck in the Fall, and I hope to see many of you November 5th and 6th at Del Mar where California hosts the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for a record 15th time!

Yours truly,

Gary Fenton