THG to Negotiate for California Horsemen

from the Thoroughbred Owners of California

The Thoroughbred Owners of California board of directors has unanimously endorsed the negotiating model created by the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Group, and has authorized the THG to represent the TOC in future simulcast negotiations, including in advance deposit wagering negotiations.

The TOC is a founding member of the THG, which launched in December 2007 to develop a pari-mutuel model that would funnel more revenue to purses. TOC president Drew Couto is vice president of the THG, which has more than 20 member horsemen’s associations.

The THG acts as a broker for member organizations, leaving to each individual organization the right to accept or reject simulcast arrangements negotiated with sending and receiving sites, including ADW providers and others.

 “Owners, and all other horsemen for that matter, have been at a disadvantage for years in terms of the negotiation of simulcast and ADW contracts,” TOC vice president Mace Siegel said June 17. “We have been intentionally excluded from the process by the vast majority of racetracks and ADW providers, and it shows. Simulcast revenue allocations are still founded on an outdated financial model, which disproportionately benefits those who do not contribute as much to the industry as do horsemen.”

“Let’s face it, racing is an interstate business, and becomes more so every day,” TOC chair Marsha Naify said. “To succeed and prosper, the industry must accept that reality, and manage the business as such. THG is the ideal vehicle to efficiently negotiate and manage the horsemen’s side of the simulcast business, and could certainly do so for track partners were they inclined to objectively and honestly look at what it is THG proposes and stands for.”

The TOC and California Horse Racing Board last fall encouraged California-licensed ADW providers and tracks to conduct an experiment that permitted all ADW companies access to Thoroughbred race signals.

“The experiment was widely seen as a positive development for players, the ADW companies, and for the industry in general,” Couto said. “As a result, TOC has indicated to track partners its support for continuation of the experiment through the 2008 Oak Tree meet, which would allow us to properly evaluate the experiment’s impact on all California Thoroughbred meets, through one full year.

“In the absence of an agreement to extend the experiment, the TOC board has authorized THG to immediately begin negotiating alternative arrangements with ADW companies, beginning with the Del Mar meet.”

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