The Thoroughbred Owners of California and Arkansas Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association have joined the new Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Group, launched Dec. 5 to facilitate simulcast activities and improve the economics of the pari-mutuel model.
The respective boards of directors of the TOC and Arkansas HBPA voted to join the THG, which now has 10 member groups associated with 37 racetracks in the United States. The other members are the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Florida HBPA, Kentucky HBPA, Louisiana HBPA, Ohio HBPA, Pennsylvania HBPA, Texas Horsemen’s Partnership, and Virginia HBPA.
“We are delighted that Arkansas HBPA and TOC have joined the company,” Bob Reeves, president of the THG and a member of the Ohio HBPA board of directors, said in a statement. “Arkansas HBPA, through its president Earl Bellamy and director Bill Walmsley, supported this effort with encouragement and sound advice throughout our formative stages, and we’re very glad to have them formally aboard.
“From its base in California, TOC has always been a national leader for racehorse owners, and TOC president Drew Couto was instrumental in getting this whole project off the ground three years ago. TOC’s active participation in THG will be an important factor in our efforts to productively address national simulcast issues on behalf of horsemen.”
Said Couto: “TOC sees the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Group as a valuable agency for racehorse owners to begin correcting the problems of the simulcast industry’s outmoded and inadequate business structures. We’ve long had good informal working relationships with other horsemen’s associations, and the time has come for all of us to seek solutions on behalf of all owners. We are confident that horsemen can improve this business and believe that THG is the right vehicle at the right time.”
Horsemen’s groups associated with various umbrella organizations such as the National HBPA and Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association have been meeting regularly the last few years. The THG, however, marks the first time horsemen’s groups, regardless of umbrella affiliation, are officially joining forces.