Opening week at Del Mar proved a good place for several leading California breeders and owners to meet with California Thoroughbred Breeders Association management. During a three-hour meeting July 24, a group of about 25 people discussed many of the issues that currently face the state's racing and breeding industry.
“It was a session to discuss the incentive awards, the restricted racing opportunities, and the entire Cal-bred program,” said Doug Burge, executive vice president and general manager of the CTBA. “We discussed how everything is structured, from the legislative standpoint to all of the other issues that we have.”
Many of the CTBA’s board members attended the session. It gave people a chance to talk about any aspect of the $35 million annually available in California-bred purses and incentive awards. The group put together committees to examine specific areas and concerns. Burge said that the ideas generated would be incorporated in follow-up meetings.
By far the most successful aspect of the Cal-bred program has been the bonuses available to owners of Cal-breds that win maiden special weight races—$20,000 in Southern California and $10,000 in Northern California.
The group revisited qualifying levels for incentive awards and possible changes in the breed-back rule that allows horses to qualify for Cal-bred races.
“We were bouncing off a lot of ideas about the things that the CTBA has control of,” Burge said. “Obviously, we all need to figure out a way to increase the revenue stream. We also looked at the expense side of the equation. Is there any way we can have a more collective effort for costs, from the farm level to possibly the racetrack?”