Casner to Take Over as Chairman of TOBA

Casner to Take Over as Chairman of TOBA
Photo: WinStar Farms
Bill Casner, new TOBA chairman.
Bill Casner of WinStar Farm has been elected chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, replacing Cobra Farm's Gary Biszantz, who was first elected to a one-year term in 2001 and re-elected three successive years.

Dan Metzger was re-elected TOBA president. Reynolds Bell was re-elected vice president; Duncan Taylor treasurer, John Amerman secretary. All are one-year terms.

New TOBA trustees are Jimmy Bell, Gilbert Campbell, Case Clay, Bill Farish, Lev Miller, Dermot Ryan, Samantha Siegel, and Peter Willmott. Re-elected or reappointed trustees are Tracy Farmer, Lucy Young-Hamilton, B. Wayne Hughes, Tammy Samuel-Balaz, and Fred Seitz.

At a general membership meeting Thursday in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Biszantz pointed to several areas of progress during his tenure as chairman, including improved drug testing for TOBA's graded stakes program; the Sales Integrity Program, initiated by TOBA in 2004 to create a code of ethics and standards for the conduct of individuals involved in Thoroughbred auctions; creation of and progress made by the national Racing Medication and Testing Consortium; and promotion of owners' rights.

Biszantz also talked about the Thoroughbred Championship Tour, a TOBA initiative to bridge the gap between the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships with a series of races to be televised and heavily promoted in an effort to increase racing's popularity during the summer and fall months.

"Four or five (TOBA directors) put up money and worked very hard at trying to present a clear picture," Biszantz said. "But that effort failed. It failed because of lack of cooperation from other organizations."

He said it would be up to those same organizations to create something similar to the TCT proposal.

TOBA's American Graded Stakes Committee was expanded by two seats--one from TOBA and one from a racetrack. Willmott was appointed to the new position representing TOBA, while Rogers Beasley of Keeneland was named to the additional racetrack seat.

Mike Dempsey, racing secretary for Monmouth Park and Meadowlands, was appointed to fill a seat vacated by Mike Lakow, who was dismissed from his position with the New York Racing Association. Bob Umphrey of Calder Race Course was reappointed to a three-year term, and John Phillips of Darby Dan Farm to a five-year term. Re-elected chairman was C. Stephen Duncker, who, though he is co-chairman of NYRA, represents TOBA on the graded stakes committee.

Term limits, which currently require a TOBA representative to leave the committee after two five-year terms, were installed for racing officials, who will be limited to no more than three consecutive three-year terms.

Gay Fisher, TOBA's director of communications and marketing, said the past year has been the most successful one yet for The Greatest Game, an ownership recruitment program she said brought 25 new owners into racing or breeding in the past 12 months. Fisher said The Greatest Game's marketing has focused on print advertising in such publications as The Robb Report and Cigar Aficionado but would shift to more television advertising in the next year.

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