Bell Elected New Chairman of TOBA

Reynolds Bell Jr. will succeed Bill Casner as chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, which held its annual members’ meeting and announced election results Aug. 6 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Casner, who retires as chairman after serving three years, will remain a member of the TOBA board of directors.

Newly elected to three-year terms on the TOBA board of trustees were Donald Dizney, C. Steven Duncker, John Greely IV, Lansdon Robbins, William Warren Jr., and Christopher Young. Re-elected to three-year terms were current trustees James Bell, Case Clay, William Farish Jr., Tracy Farmer, Dermot Ryan, Samantha Siegel, and Peter Willmott.

Along with Bell, officers for 2008-09 are Dan Metzger, president; Stuart Janney III, vice president; Seth Hancock, secretary; and Peter Willmott, treasurer.

Bell in 1992 established Reynolds Bell Thoroughbred Services in Lexington. He is a member of the Breeders’ Cup board of members and trustees, a steward of the Jockey Club, a director of the Jockey Club Information Systems, former trustee and vice president of TOBA, and past president of the Thoroughbred Club of America. Bell was formerly the manager of Mill Ridge Farm in Lexington.

“I am honored and humbled to be elected TOBA chairman,” Bell said. “TOBA and the industry are facing a number of challenges, and I look forward to working with the TOBA trustees and members to have TOBA play an integral role in dealing with these issues.”

Metzger said 74 new members have joined the organization thus far in 2008. To date, there are 2,426 members of TOBA, whose mission statement is to “improve the economics, integrity, and pleasure of the sport on behalf of Thoroughbred owners and breeders.”

Erin Halliwell, director of marketing and communications at TOBA, said the renewal rate among members is 90%. Earlier this year, a St. Louis consulting firm was retained by TOBA to further the organization’s marketing endeavors, and to grow its membership.

A topic new to this year’s meeting was the TOBA Thoroughbred Action Committee, which was formed after the death of the filly Eight Belles as galloped out after this year’s Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The committee includes a cross-section of industry leaders, horsemen, racing officials, and veterinarians. The group is working closely with the Jockey Club Thoroughbred Safety Committee to promote the welfare of racehorses.

TOBA’s Sales’ Integrity Program, designed to protect the interests of buyers and sellers at auctions, recommended a voluntary ownership registry, which debuted at this year’s Fasig-Tipton yearling sales in Kentucky and New York. There were 82 sellers who voluntarily provided ownership information that did not appear in the catalog for Fasig-Tipton’s July sale in Kentucky; Metzger said there were “zero” requests for that information.

The figures for the voluntary ownership registry at the recently concluded Saratoga yearling sale will be released later in the week of Aug. 3. TOBA will continue to monitor the response to the registry.

In July, TOBA appointed D.G. Van Clief Jr. as the chairman of the Sales Integrity Program Monitoring Committee, which is charged with overseeing the implementation and determining the effectiveness of the Sales Integrity Task Force’s recommendations that were issued in November 2007. In addition to the voluntary ownership registry, the policies include a ban on exogenous anabolic steroids for 45 days prior to a sale for weanlings and yearlings, an updated list of prohibited practices, and a code of conduct for all participants in public auctions.

Andy Schweigardt, TOBA’s director of industry relations and development and secretary of the American Graded Stakes Committee, said the committee met Aug. 5 to select a new chairperson to replace Dell Hancock, whose term had expired following 10 consecutive years in that position. The newly elected chairman is Peter Willmott. Seth Hancock will serve his first five-year term on the graded stakes committee.

The stakes committee also reappointed three racing officials: Rogers Beasley of Keeneland, Mike Dempsey of Monmouth Park and Meadowlands, and P.J. Campo of the New York Racing Association. Schweigardt said the American Graded Stakes Committee will meet in late November or early December for its annual grading session.