Kentucky HBPA Stays With NTRA; Wants Concerns Addressed

The board of directors of the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent Protective Association voted Tuesday to renew its membership in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association for one year, but it will ask the NTRA to address some concerns within 90 days.

Marty Maline, executive director of the Kentucky HBPA, said members will be asked to list their concerns, which will be formulated into a document that will be given to the NTRA. The Kentucky HBPA and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, at about $750,000 a year, combine to form one of the NTRA's biggest dues payers.

"Any qualifications really would be for 2002 and beyond," Maline said. "We're going to re-up (for 2001), but there are some concerns."

The Kentucky HBPA, among other things, would like the NTRA to assist racetracks -- mainly Turfway Park -- in obtaining race sponsorships. It may exercise an option to leave the NTRA if its concerns aren't adequately addressed.

One of the ideas discussed at the Tuesday meeting was that the Kentucky HBPA would not be a member when it races at Turfway Park, and to use that dues money to support purses at the Northern Kentucky track, which races the most days -- about 110 -- of any track in the commonwealth. The board decided if it is going to remain a member of the NTRA, it will do so at all tracks.

There had been talk about a 10% purse cut for the winter-spring meet, which began Jan. 1, but Turfway management scrapped that plan. There is a $600,000 underpayment in the purse account.

Keith Chamblin, vice president of marketing for the NTRA, said the organization "will present horsemen with programs and benefits so they can more than justify membership in the NTRA." Chamblin said Jan. 17 "is the date to bring closure to this matter." He said he expects to have heard from all horsemen's groups by that time in regard to 2001 membership.

As of Wednesday, the following horsemen's groups also had renewed: the Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association chapters; the Charles Town, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, and Washington chapters of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association; the Texas Horsemen's Partnership; the Thoroughbred Owners of California; and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association.

The Florida HBPA is an NTRA member when Calder Race Course is open for live racing. Magna Entertainment's Gulfstream Park, which opens Wednesday, has defected from the NTRA.

Chamblin was awaiting word from the Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, and Virginia chapters of the HBPA, as well as the New Mexico Horsemen's Association and the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Association.