Breeder John Gaines, who delivered some pointed remarks toward Magna Entertainment chairman Frank Stronach and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association during an awards banquet in Arizona earlier this month, will be the guest speaker on Tuesday, Jan. 2, at the monthly meeting of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club. The meeting takes place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Lexington, Ky., beginning with cocktails at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7, and Gaines' speech expected around 8 p.m.
Gaines, former owner of Gainesway Farm, creator of the Breeders' Cup, and instrumental in many other community and horse industry causes, made his remarks while accepting the Clay Puett Award for outstanding service to the industry at the University of Arizona Racetrack Industry Program's annual Symposium on Racing. He called on Stronach to accept a position on the board of directors of the NTRA. Stronach has been a critic of the NTRA and has pulled his seven racetracks out of the organization, saying the subject can be discussed at an "open forum" he has scheduled at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 14.
"Frank Stronach should respect the empirical fact that the collective investment of all the constituencies represented by the NTRA is countless times larger than that of the chairman of Magna Entertainment and the master of Adena Springs Farm," Gaines said. "On the other hand, the investments of Mr. Stronach and the enterprises he controls make him the largest individual stakeholder in the entire industry, and the NTRA should honor such an undeviating commitment."
Gaines then called for an "act of statesmanship" from both parties involved. "The NTRA must accept the validity of Mr. Stronach's concern that the industry's history of too many self-perpetuating bureaucracies, accountable to no one but themselves, is a recipe for disaster," Gaines said. "And Mr. Stronach must accept that the splintering of our industry threatens a way of life that is precious not only to him but to many thousands of other stakeholders in our industry.
"Economics are critical, but a way of life is precious. Nothing less is at stake here than the treasured way of life afforded to us all by racing and breeding. How can both the NTRA and Frank Stronach not recognize that they are natural allies, not natural enemies, in preserving this priceless heritage?"
"In my view, Mr. Stronach, without hesitation, should join the NTRA's board and participate fully in decisions it makes about racing's future. I believe this is the best, and the only, way for him to accomplish his goals and achieve his unique vision for our sport."
Stronach was the guest speaker of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club in November. For information on tickets, call Linda Javid at (859) 296-4279.