TRA, HTA Draw Bit Closer With Joint Annual Meeting

The Thoroughbred Racing Associations and Harness Tracks of America will hold a joint annual meeting next year, but the organizations' boards will continue to meet separately.

In 2001, the TRA and HTA, two trade associations already linked through the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau, said they were pursuing a "structured relationship" that would allow them to share information and work on joint projects.

The relationship--not a merger, officials said--had been discussed at previous TRA and HTA conventions.

The joint meeting will be held in Hollywood, Fla., March 11-14. The two organizations plan to offer joint sessions to hear industry speakers and hash out matters of mutual concern, the THA said in a release.

Last year, TRA executive director Chris Scherf, and HTA executive vice president Stan Bergstein said the organizations would seek to identify things they could do together. The 2003 joint meeting apparently is one of them.

Combined, the TRA and HTA represent 74 racetracks and other associations in the North America. The TRA, based in Fair Hill, Md., and the HTA, based in Tucson, Ariz., have teamed for years on the International Simulcast Conference.

The TRA board of directors, at its Aug. 16 meeting in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., elected Rogers Beasley as an alternate director for Keeneland, and Garth Essery as an alternate director for Hastings Park. James E. "Ted" Bassett, formerly chairman of Keeneland, was named director emeritus.