Tuesday, March 29, 2011

California Owner Organizations Battle

Press Release issued yesterday:

Horsemen representing owners and owner/trainers have formed the California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Alliance (CTHA) to represent the owners (including owner/trainers) in the State of California. California Law allows only one organization to be the official representative of horsemen.

CTHA believes that the interests of the horsemen have not been properly represented. TOC has made many decisions that have contributed to that decline, including:

1. fail to disclose the receipt of in excess of one million dollars from NTRA

2. refuse a unique opportunity to secure concessions from the Indians, when the Indians were seeking renewal of their compacts

3. spend in excess of one million dollars (of horsemen’s money) in an effort to fund a group seeking to purchase Santa Anita

4. hold all meetings behind closed doors

5. disenfranchise owner/trainers

6. condone and encourage wagers that result in handle declines

7. lack of support for Northern California racing

8. veto contractual opportunities with Australia

9. failure to respond to the horseplayers’ boycott

The CTHA’s number one goal is to unify the horsemen into one powerful, cohesive, transparent and pro-active unit. The TOC has refused the opportunity to avoid the potential decertification by merely allowing its constituency (the owners) to vote on the central issue-should all owners be allowed to serve as directors of the TOC or should the current TOC board unilaterally determine that only certain owners may serve?

The CTHA stands ready, willing and able to pursue decertification of TOC, if necessary.

The CTHA has received unprecedented support from horsemen since the formation of this entity, with encouragement to pursue a goal of insuring that the continued failure by TOC board members to act in a financially prudent manner and to fulfill the fiduciary duty imposed upon them will no longer be tolerated.

The original principals of the CTHA are: J.F. Ernenwein, Gloria Haley, Mike Harrington, Aase Headley, Roger Licht, Henry Moreno, John Sadler, George Schmitt, Cory Wellman, and David Wilson. Roger Licht stated: “I am proud to be a part of CTHA. The industry knows that change is needed. The CTHA is committed to providing leadership that recognizes its fiduciary responsibility, as well as engaging the entire racing community in strategic long-term approaches aimed toward resurrecting California horse racing. If necessary, CTHA will actively pursue the decertification of the TOC, in accord with the rights granted the horsemen under California Law.”


That Blog Guy said...

Reminds me of the OHHA COSA battle. Everyone ignores the abuses until they make one bonehead step and everything comes to a head.

steve in nc said...

On another subject, of greater interest to folks who aren't in California, Crist at DRF is raising the issue of breakage, which is a far bigger, more universal and less justifiable tax than the increased take in CA.

There are many easy, simple ways to rememdy the breakage tax for most players(either rounding up as well as down, or rounding every bet to the nearest penny for account wagers). But it doesn't seem to attract any fire from HANA.

Should the group change it's name to HACA, and concede it is only going to act locally, even if it things globally? Nothing wrong with that if it's true. It sure looks like it's true to this admittedly casual observer. Just askin..

HANA said...


Breakage has been in the initial HANA plan since day one. If you search the blog there are several articles. During the HANA survey, our members ranked it well below takeout, uniform rules and other issues, but we are certainly trying.

Just this last week Jeff pushed the breakage initiative at CA racing meetings. Mike Maloney has also brought it up at various industry meetings.

The problem? There are fingers in the pie with breakage which makes it a very hard thing to change. Each faction seems to get a slice and no one wants to give it up.


Indulto said...

Steve in nc,
Steve Crist is great at raising issues as are many other turf writers. As one of the longest-standing proponents of lowering takeout, we sure could have used -- and would still greatly benefit from – his participation in the players’ boycott, but apparently he has other priorities.

You've raised the breakage issue elsewhere and I hope you can help get that issue assigned a higher priority here. As in other interest groups, it takes people committed to action on particular issues to attract additional support for their agendas. I would guess that straight pool bettors would initially be more concerned than those focused on exotic wagers.

HANA would not have had as significant an impact in California without dedicated and knowledgeable troops on the ground here. That’s going to be true anywhere else in the country. As one who enjoys playing SAR and BEL from the left coast, I look forward to the support of locals there to make sure that the heralded customer-supportive statements by Duncker and Hayward regarding pricing actually come to fruition.

steve in nc said...

Fair enough comments, HANA and Indulto. To someone like me who's only experience of HANA is signing up and sometimes reading this board, everything looks CA-centric and single-issue focused.

If that's where the troops on the ground are, and takeout is their priority, then that makes sense. And as decentralized as power in the racing world is, acting locally one issue at a time may be the only way to go at least for now.

So I'm respecting the boycott from afar (easy because I rarely played CA anyway) and hoping it leads to a seat at the table. But it is hard from here to care much about reports of infighting among CA racing stakeholders.

Maybe there should be a HANY to get involved in the fluid situation in NY. HANA, at least judging from this web page, is focused elsewhere.

Anonymous said...


Why don't you see if your friend "Left at the gate" can help out.