NTRA Moves on Breeders' Cup, Wagering Integrity

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, during a Dec. 1 meeting, approved a revised operating and licensing agreement with Breeders' Cup that will last at least one year, and received a report on what could be the first step toward formation of the long-awaited national Office of Wagering Integrity.

The two organizations entered a 10-year joint operating agreement in 2001, with a review after five years, or in 2005. The board of directors of Breeders' Cup approved the one-year deal with the NTRA Nov. 4 under a scenario that would give the Breeders' Cup more input into the joint budget each year.

The NTRA and Breeders' Cup adopted a strategic plan for 2006-10 that called for five-year membership renewals in the NTRA. However, the membership renewals and the revised joint operating deal will be reviewed at the end of 2006.

The NTRA board received an update on the concept of a national Office of Wagering Integrity, the idea for which was borne from the 2002 Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6 fraud. The security company headed by former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani was hired by the NTRA and in 2003 recommended formation of the office.

Though considered critical to horse racing given its reliance on wagering integrity and growing interest by Congress into the pari-mutuel industry's affairs, the national Office of Wagering Integrity has proven difficult to get off the ground. The NTRA continues to attempt to educate the industry on the importance of legislative affairs and to beat the drum for creation of the Office of Wagering Integrity.

"The board heard a report on an initial first step that could be taken relating to tote data aggregation," said Keith Chamblin, senior vice president of marketing and industry relations for the NTRA. "The board asked that the initial phase be incorporated into the overall business plan (for the national Office of Wagering Integrity) and be presented in January."

Bruce Garland, the retired New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority executive and NTRA board member who represents the Mid-Atlantic region, continues to head a task force formed to facilitate the office. Garland's term on the NTRA board is up in January.

The NTRA board Dec. 1 also reviewed a preliminary 2006 budget, which will be presented to the Breeders' Cup board of directors for approval at its meeting Jan. 8, 2006.