NTRA Board OKs Search for Chief Security Officer

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association Sept. 26 approved the position of chief security officer in keeping with a recommendation from Giuliani Partners and its Wagering Technology Working Group in the wake of the Breeders' Cup Ultra Pick 6 fraud of 2002.

The NTRA board of directors, which met in Arcadia, Calif., authorized a personnel search to fill the new position. In August, Giuliani Partners, hired by the NTRA to look at wagering security, recommended creation of an Office of Wagering Security.

NTRA commissioner Tim Smith said Russell Reynolds would handle the search. The plan is to have a recommendation ready for the board at its Dec. 4 meeting in New York City, and have the chief security officer in place by Jan. 1. The Office of Wagering Security hasn't been officially formed, but the hiring of a chief security officer is the first step.

"The logic is to get the person in place who would lead the process of developing a business plan and head up the office," Smith said after the board meeting. "The assumption is the NTRA would, whatever the final structure, contribute the person that would head up the office."

Smith said the NTRA has been in discussion with organizations such as the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau in regard to security issues.

In other business, the NTRA board previewed its 2004 operating budget and reviewed its 2003 spending plan. During the NTRA Annual Meeting and Marketing Summit Sept. 22 in Las Vegas, Nev., Smith said revenue for 2003 would be $59.4 million, and increase to $66.9 million in 2004.

The board also heard updates on a number of initiatives, including fundraising for the NTRA political action committee. So far in 2003, more than $260,000 in "hard money" has been raised. The Congressional caucus that deals with the horse industry is now up to 53 members and continues to grow.