"The TOC board considers horse inventory to be one of our top priorities in 2004," said TOC Chairman Ron Charles. "This represents the first step in addressing a serious horse inventory challenge for California. We will continue to work toward identifying other innovative solutions to this, and other problems facing California owners, and the betting public."
The Thoroughbred Owners of California, working in collaboration with California racetracks, has changed allowance conditions in an effort to increase the horse inventory and improve average field size. Previously, California condition books included races for non-winners of $3,000 other than maiden, claiming, or starter races. The monetary limit has been increased to $7,500, with a win in any Group race considered a win at or above the qualifying amount of $7,500."We worked with California racing offices in considering and structuring this change," said Drew Couto, executive director of the TOC. "Martin Panza of Hollywood Park, Tom Robbins of Del Mar, and Mike Harlow and Rick Hammerle of Santa Anita were instrumental in helping to define the parameters. We are very grateful for their efforts, as well as the assistance from our colleagues at the CTBA (California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association) and CTT (California Thoroughbred Trainers."The new condition will take effect with Santa Anita's final condition book, which covers April 14-18. Hollywood Park will then incorporate the condition when that meeting opens on April 21.Said Panza: "This will let some horses, especially those from South America, run where they belong. The $3,000 number has been around for about 30 years, and because of inflation it's probably wise to move it up. We have a shortage of allowance horses, and this should encourage owners to bring more horses to Southern California."TOC chairman Ron Charles said the organization will continue to search for innovative ways to increase field sizes in California.