Richard "Bon" Smith, a certified financial manager who served as chief of audits with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, has been named assistant executive director of the California Horse Racing Board.Smith previously worked 18 years in the California Department of Finance, where he rose to the management position of supervising finance program evaluator. He is a certified public accountant who has worked in state government 25 years.As assistant executive director, the 56-year-old Smith will coordinate and assist with the direct operations of the CHRB staff and play an important role in the state budgeting process. Smith, who replaces Roy Minami, will begin his new duties with the CHRB on Nov. 13.
"Bon Smith has a strong background in finance, extensive experience in state government, and an interest in and appreciation of horse racing," said Ingrid Fermin, CHRB executive director. "He brings a valuable combination of knowledge, experience, and interests to the CHRB."Smith worked within the horse-racing industry briefly about 20 years ago when simulcasting was being introduced in California and the Department of Finance sent in a team of auditors to make certain that proper auditing procedures were in place to protect the integrity of the wagering pools."We checked into the nuts-and-bolts auditing at Bay Meadows, reviewed event tabulation reports, that sort of thing. From day one, simulcasting was a tightly run program," said Smith. "I enjoyed my brief encounter with the professional side of horse racing. Not many fans have a chance to see that side of the sport. Then, when I learned the CHRB was looking for an assistant executive director, I couldn't reach for the phone fast enough. The second I saw the bulletin, I said, 'That's me!' This is my opportunity to see horse racing from an entirely different perspective."