NTRA, Breeders' Cup Explore Extension of Agreement

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup appear poised to continue their joint operating agreement beyond 2006, officials said March 2 at the conclusion of a joint meeting between the two organizations in Florida.

The arrangement between the NTRA and Breeders' Cup mirrors that of the NTRA and its member racetracks and horsemen's groups--a five-year commitment, but with an opt-out clause after one year. NTRA members have the option to vacate the agreement after 2006.

The new board of directors of Breeders' Cup, which provides much of the operating budget for the NTRA, is willing to commit to the multi-year joint operating agreement but it would like to see a similar commitment to the NTRA by its members. There appears to be confidence commitments will be obtained.

"The meetings were extremely productive, and while there are additional details to be worked out, I am confident that we will soon have the necessary agreements in place that will ensure the combined operations of the NTRA and Breeders' Cup Limited going forward," D.G. Van Clief Jr., president of Breeders' Cup and commissioner of the NTRA, said in a statement released March 2.

Keith Chamblin, senior vice president of communications for the NTRA, said the primary focus of the joint meeting was the "structural relationship" between the NTRA and Breeders' Cup. He said the NTRA soon would release information on replacements for a few seats on the board of directors.

The respective boards of the NTRA and Breeders' Cup usually hold their own meetings, but under the joint agreement are required to hold at least one joint meeting per year.