Notes From the NTRA Board of Directors Meeting

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's board of directors held its fourth-quarter meeting Thursday. The meeting took place at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Ariz., site of the University of Arizona's Symposium on Racing.

The board reviewed and approved final 2002 financial projections for NTRA operations. They indicated projected operating revenues of $57,965,000 (versus budgeted revenues of $57,435,000) and non-operating revenues of $1,824,161 (including the $1.5 million special board designation from reserves for the 2002 "stimulus" program that funded expanded consumer promotions in 2002). Operating expenses were $58,571,071, which included approximately $9.5 million for television and sponsorship, $21.2 million for marketing, $20.9 million for purses and awards, $5.4 million for general and administrative, and $1.5 million for legislative and regulatory; total net revenues before extraordinary items of $1,218,090 (versus budget net revenues of $400,000);

The board reviewed and approved a preliminary 2003 NTRA operating budget of $57,753,000; non-operating and extraordinary revenue of $3,390,000 (including funds projected to be raised for the NTRA Wagering Integrity Alliance); operating expenses excluding activities of the Wagering Integrity Alliance of $57,728,000; and total net revenues before extraordinary items of $415,000, similar to the 2002 goal. The final 2003 NTRA operating budget is expected to be approved by the board in February];

The board also approved and released the television schedule through the VISA Triple Crown; reviewed the schedule for the rest of 2003, which will be released early next year; and was briefed on the finalization of ESPN's extension of current programming commitments for NTRA horseracing through 2008.

The board also:

--Approved a policy in favor of banning the slaughter of Thoroughbreds at slaughter facilities;

--Endorsed the Groom Elite Program developed by the Texas Horsemen's Partnership and a similar program, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association's Groom Development Program, and encouraged the use of such programs in as many locations as possible; and

--Announced an advisory committee would be formed to review the results of the inaugural NTRA Great State Challenge and to suggest any recommended modifications for the future (for board consideration at its February meeting).