Roark Seeks Third Term as National HBPA President

John Roark, first elected as president of the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association in the summer of 2001, said he would seek his third two-year term as head of the organization.

The National HBPA summer convention is under way in Toronto, Ontario. The election will be held July 24 during the board of director's meeting. As of July 20, horsemen indicated there were no challengers for the presidency.

During the National HBPA winter convention, Roark indicated there was a chance he wouldn't seek re-election and might instead seek full-time employment in the pari-mutuel industry. He is a lawyer from Texas and has been involved with the Texas Horsemen's Partnership for years.

When asked why he wants to serve a third term, Roark said: "I'm running because I haven't finished some of the things I need to get done. I love the HBPA and all the components of the racing industry. I don't want to walk away yet."

Roark, who represents the horsemen's group on the National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors, said the National HBPA Planning Committee continues to study options for the organization, one of which is making the president's post a paid position. Other changes to the organization's structure, first discussed this winter, remain under consideration.

Roark also said he believes progress has been made in getting more HBPA affiliates to join the NTRA. There are about 30 of them, but less than 10 are members. The NTRA, currently seeking five-year membership commitments, has a contingent in Toronto to lobby for support.

During the four-day convention, the HBPA will hold panel discussions on corticosteroids and account wagering, as well as the usual committee meetings.