Leonard Foote, who served as chief investigator and then executive director of the California Horse Racing Board for a total of 24 years until his retirement in 1990, died July 26 in Reno, Nev., after a long illness. He was 79.
Foote joined the CHRB as chief investigator in 1966 after serving with the California Highway Patrol. Ten years later, he was named executive secretary of the board – a title that later was changed to executive director. In that position, Foote was responsible for all CHRB operations and the regulation of the California horse racing industry.
Upon his retirement, Foote received a resolution from the board crediting him with being “instrumental in developing and carrying out innumerable policies during the rapid expansion and growth of horse racing in California, such as the instant licensing program, controlled medication program, the computerized California Horse Racing Information System, simulcast wagering, and regulating gaming on Indian lands.”
The Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) presents the Len Foote Award each year to an executive director who has been nominated and selected by his peers for outstanding service in the advancement of integrity in racing and pari-mutuel wagering.
Kirk Breed, the current CHRB executive director who worked with Foote, said Foote’s “biggest impact was on satellite wagering. That was a time of explosive growth in satellite wagering, and Len was a major contributor to that effort. He wrote all of the rules and regulations that allowed us to implement satellite wagering in an orderly way.”
Foote’s survivors include his wife of 56 years, Joan, and children Robin, Bradley, and Jill. Services will be determined at a later time.