Keith Brackpool

Keith Brackpool

Benoit Photo

CHRB Chairman Leaving for Stronach Group

Board chairman announces resignation to take equity position in racing company.

Keith Brackpool, chairman of the California Horse Racing Board for the past three years, announced Jan. 18 that he had notified Gov. Jerry Brown's office that he was submitting his resignation to become part of The Stronach Group.

The Stronach Group, owner of Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields, and other racing interests, is expected to issue a statement indicating that Brackpool is buying an equity position in the company, according to the CHRB.

Brackpool made his resignation effective Jan. 17. He did not attend the CHRB meeting at Santa Anita that day, but there was no reason given.

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

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

The 55-year-old native of England reportedly will direct Stronach's West Coast racing operations and will also be involved in the operation of other Stronach holdings such as Gulfstream Park in Florida, the HRTV television network, and the advance deposit wagering company Xpressbet.

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.