Racing Series, VLTs Endorsed by Award Winner

Bill Casner, co-owner of WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky., called for support of video lottery terminals in Kentucky and the Thoroughbred Championship Tour while accepting the 2003 Industry Service Award at the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders' Association's National Awards Dinner.

The Sept. 5 awards presentation was held at Walmac International near Lexington.

Casner said Thoroughbred racing should be "modeled after other sports, like the NFL, a collective of owners that do what's best for the collective body..."We need to expand and bolster our racing series."

TOBA is attempting to implement the TCT, a series in which Thoroughbred owners would have equity interest. It would consist of five "event days" between the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.

Casner also said installation of VLTs would boost purses. The issue has been on the table for years in Kentucky but has failed to gain enough legislative support.

Casner also said Funny Cide, the New York-bred gelding that won the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I), helped bring fresh faces into racing. "The success of Funny Cide has made available the American dream to everybody," he said.

Distorted Humor, sire of Funny Cide, stands at WinStar.

TOBA also presented other national awards at the dinner. The winners are:

National Breeder of the Year: Juddmonte Farm;

National Owner of the Year and Western Region Owner of the Year: Edmund and Bernice Gann;

New Owner of the Year: Bill Hayes;

Small Breeder of the Year: Pat Thompson of Ridgeley Farm;

Eastern Region Owner of the Year: Howard and Sondra Bender;

Midwest Region Owner of the Year: Team Block; and

Southern Owner of the Year: John and Debby Oxley.