Elections for nine seats on National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors will begin in earnest in late March, but if history holds, the look of the board isn't expected to change that much.
Seats held by Breeders' Cup, the National Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, The Jockey Club, Churchill Downs Inc., and Magna Entertainment Corp. will be up for election by their respective organizations in June. Breeders' Cup has two seats on the board, which brings the total to six.
The Breeders' Cup is represented by president D.G. Van Clief Jr. and G. Watts Humphrey, the National HBPA by president John Roark, The Jockey Club by chairman Ogden Mills Phipps, CDI by president Tom Meeker, and MEC by president Jim McAlpine.
Meanwhile, racetrack representation in three regions--the Eastern, Midwest, and Western--is subject to elections in late March. The NTRA, during its meeting in late February in Florida, combined the Mid-Atlantic and Southern regions into the Eastern region, and gave the Keeneland Association a committed seat on the board of directors.
The organization, in a March 9 release, said the decision was made because of "additional consolidation of racetrack ownership" since 2001, and because of "overall financial support and contributions" by Keeneland, a founding member of the NTRA. When MEC purchased Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, the two Maryland tracks no longer were eligible for independent representation in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Keeneland president Nick Nicholson held the Midwest region seat, while Fair Grounds president Bryan Krantz held the Southern region seat. Fair Grounds has been moved to the Eastern region. Bruce Garland, senior executive vice president of racing for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, held the Mid-Atlantic seat, which now falls under the Eastern region.
Craig Fravel, executive vice president of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, represents the Western region.
Since 2001, the NTRA board has had 15 members--seven tracks, seven industry organizations, and commissioner Tim Smith. Racetrack voting is based proportionately on NTRA dues, which are based on percentage of total handle.
Racetracks owned by CDI, MEC, or the New York Racing Association, which also has a committed NTRA board seat, aren't eligible for regional voting. Here are the voting member tracks in the reconfigured regions:
Midwest: Canterbury Park, Columbus Races, Fair Meadows Tulsa, Fonner Park, Hawthorne Race Course, Horsemen's Park, Kentucky Downs, Nebraska State Fair, Oaklawn Park, Prairie Meadows, River Downs, and Turfway Park.
Eastern: Colonial Downs, Suffolk Downs, Delta Downs, Evangeline Downs, Fair Grounds, NJSEA (Meadowlands and Monmouth Park), Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort, Suffolk Downs, and Tampa Bay Downs.
Western: California Authority of Racing Fairs, Del Mar, Emerald Downs, Fairplex Park, Los Alamitos, Oak Tree Racing Association, Retama Park, Ruidoso Downs, Sam Houston Race Park, Sunland Park, and Turf Paradise.