Great State Challenge Could Return ... But Where?

The Great State Challenge will return to the calendar in 2003 if agreements are reached between a host site and horsemen's groups, and if "financial and other adjustments" are made, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association said Feb. 13 after a board of directors meeting in Florida.

The inaugural Challenge was held Dec. 7, 2002, at Sam Houston Race Park in Texas. Sam Houston considered it a success from an on-track perspective, but officials with breed associations indicated the structure of the event would need to be reworked to garner more participation from horsemen.

Sam Houston has expressed a desire to host the Great State Challenge again, but the NTRA release made no mention of a potential host site. March 31 is the deadline for any deal.

In other business:

-- the California Authority of Racing Fairs, Evangeline Downs, Hawthorne Race Course, and New York City Off-Track Betting Corp. were named as new or returning NTRA members;

-- NTRA/Breeders' Cup said their joint budget for 2003 would have operating revenues of $57.67 million and operating expenses of $58 million. A breakdown shows $19.15 for purses and awards, $18.28 million for marketing, $14.48 million for television and sponsorship, $5.11 million for general and administrative, and $1 million for legislative and regulatory. The Wagering Integrity Alliance expenses are set at $2.25 million;

-- A change in bylaws was approved to each organization with a board seat to establish its own policy on term limits. The NTRA is looking at a potential restructuring of regions represented on the board of directors.

The next board meeting is scheduled for June 5 at Belmont Park. Thereafter, meetings will be held Sept. 26 at Santa Anita Park and Dec. 11 in Tucson, Ariz.