Keith Brackpool

Keith Brackpool

Benoit Photo

New Head of Calif. Operations for Stronach

Keith Brackpool is the new chairman of California operations for The Stronach Group.

Keith Brackpool has entered into an agreement to acquire a minor stake in The Stronach Group. The company’s Racing and Gaming Group announced Jan. 19 that Brackpool has joined the group’s board of directors and has been appointed chairman of its operations in California.

"I have had a chance to interface with Keith over the past few years and have been extremely impressed with his knowledge and commitment to horseracing in California. We look forward to our future partnership," said Frank Stronach, co-chairman and founder of The Stronach Group.

Brackpool, who resigned Jan. 18 as chairman of the California Horse Racing Board said, "I greatly enjoyed my time on the horseracing board but now is the time to for me to make a more direct investment in horseracing."

The 55-year-old native of England will direct Stronach’s West Coast racing operationsSanta Anita Park and Golden Gate Fieldsand will also be involved in the operation of other Stronach holdings such as Gulfstream Park in South Florida, the HRTV television network, and the advance deposit wagering company Xpressbet.

David Israel, the CHRB’s vice chairman, has assumed the duties of chairman.

Brackpool was appointed to the racing board by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Sept. 24, 2009. He became chairman in January 2010. His appointment was through July 26, 2013.

Brackpool is chairman and chief executive officer of Cadiz Inc., a groundwater conservation and storage company. A close associate of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Brackpool is also an active Thoroughbred owner.

During his time on the board, he approved the takeover of the Oak Tree Racing Association’s fall dates by Santa Anita, as well as the removal of the controversial synthetic racing surface at the Arcadia track.

Brackpool pushed legislation to raise takeout on exotic wagers to fund an increase in overnight purses and also strongly supported exchange wagering as part of the same legislation. (Exchange wagering is awaiting approval from the state’s office of administrative law and is yet to be implemented.)

He was also a strong advocate for increased distribution of television signals on the racing networks TVG and HRTV.