BC Board OKs Van Clief as Interim NTRA Chief

The Breeders' Cup board of directors has approved president D.G. Van Clief Jr. as acting commissioner and chief executive officer of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

Van Clief took over as NTRA chief, at least temporarily, from Tim Smith, who resigned effective Sept. 1. Van Clief has said he interested in the position full-time, but believes the NTRA board should follow through its executive search for a commissioner.

Van Clief recently stepped down as chairman of the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium. Jockey Club executive director Dan Fick replaced him.

On Sept. 13, Van Clief told The Blood-Horse the decision was tied only to the fact he has too much on his plate as Breeders' Cup president, NTRA interim commissioner, and chairman of Fasig-Tipton Co.

"I would have loved to have stayed (as consortium chairman)," Van Clief said. "It's really picking up momentum. It was only an issue of the amount of time I was not going to have going forward."

In other business Sept. 10, the Breeders' Cup board adopted a resolution supporting the consortium's policy and uniform rule recommendations as well as the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association upgraded drug-testing protocol. The board directed management to examine the means by which Breeders' Cup could assist in encouraging North American racing jurisdictions to adopt the policies, according to a Sept. 13 release.

The board also authorized up to $750,000 in additional funds for the Breeders' Cup Stakes program to facilitate resolution of purse-funding issues that have arisen from efforts by the NTRA, Breeders' Cup, and the proposed Thoroughbred Championships Tour to schedule races and develop purse programs aligned with the TCT.