NTRA commissioner Tim Smith.

NTRA commissioner Tim Smith.

Skip Dickstein

Smith: Still Much Work to be Done at NTRA

National Thoroughbred Racing Association commissioner Tim Smith, who took the position in April 1998, said there's still a lot of work to be done. And he plans to stick around to do it.

Though his first three years are up this April, Smith's contract automatically provides for a one-year extension with a year's advance notice. Because no action was taken last year, Smith's contract is now good through 2002. If the same thing happens this April, it will be good through 2003.

"What I said when I took the job was I would make an initial commitment of three to five years," Smith said. "The way I look at it is...I don't necessarily want to do it for 20 years, but I'm committed to stay around long enough to get it up and running and successful.

"We've made a lot of progress, but the initial job, in my own mind, has not been completed."

The NTRA will embark on its fourth year in the black for the first time because of its joint operating agreement with Breeders' Cup. A combined $54-million budget was approved by the new 15-member NTRA board of directors Feb. 16.

The NTRA's first major event of the year, its third "Marketing Summit," will be held March 12-13 at the Mirage hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nev. The organization expects to discuss promotional programs, among other things, during the two-day meeting of marketing officials.