Couto served as president of the Lexington-based Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association a few years ago, and thereafter returned to California.
Officials with Hollywood Park and the Thoroughbred Owners of California struck a deal April 23 on revenue splits for wagers made on the track's races. The Hollywood Park spring meet opens April 24.The two parties apparently had a deal on how to divvy up revenue from wagers made in California, and on April 23 they wrapped up the package with agreement on how to handle out-of-state wagers made on Hollywood Park races. TOC president John Van de Kamp said the afternoon of April 23 that Hollywood Park president Rick Baedeker had the signed approval document in his possession.The revenue splits are as follows: Horsemen will get 5.3% on bets made in state on California races, 4.3% to 4.5% on wagers made in California on out-of-state races, and 1.8% on out-of-state wagers made on Hollywood Park races. Van de Kamp said that ideally, the latter percentage would be higher, but "it's important to get this thing moving."Hollywood Park is an exclusive partner of the TV Games Network, which earlier this year began taking wagers from California residents. However, in order for TVG to accept wagers on Hollywood races from out-of-state residents, the TOC and Hollywood Park, which is owned by Churchill Downs Inc., must have an agreement in place.In a related matter, Drew Couto, a TOC board member who was involved in account-wagering negotiations early in the process, has not officially resigned but hasn't been active for about a month, Van de Kamp said. Couto apparently now serves as a consultant for Magna Entertainment, Van de Kamp said."He was a major asset to us," said Van de Kamp, who noted Couto "recognized a potential conflict of interest" and backed away.