By Ben Massam
Joseph Appelbaum, running unopposed, was elected to his first term as president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA), the organization announced Tuesday. Appelbaum succeeds Rick Violette, Jr., who is retiring this year after more than 25 years on the NYTHA board.
Appelbaum operates Off The Hook, a breeding, racing and sales company with a farm and training center in Ocala, Florida, and offices in New York City. He served his first term on the NYTHA Board of Directors from 2014-17.
In addition to Appelbaum, the elected NYTHA board is: owner/directors Tina Marie Bond, Jack Brothers, Tom Durkin, Terry Finley and Robert Masiello; and trainer/directors Leah Gyarmati, John Kimmel, Linda Rice, Rick Schosberg and George Weaver.
“It is great to see a mixture of experience and new ideas represented amongst the 2017 class of board members,” Appelbaum said. “I come into this role with nervous excitement. There are large shoes to be filled and an ambitious agenda to work on. Horse racing is at a crossroads–stagnant revenues and growing costs make it difficult for many horsemen to survive. However, our biggest events are more popular than ever. As with many things in life and horse racing, New York magnifies the national trends. This business model is not sustainable and as the largest stakeholders in the business, horsemen need to be central in the discussions to improve it.”
Appelbaum added, “We must confront our challenges head-on–first and foremost the cost of workers compensation. In talking with owners and trainers throughout the state, this issue resonates and unites throughout our ranks. While much is out of our control, advances come in fits and starts and the solution will not be quick–positive changes have already begun. If we keep focused on the work environment, on-track safety and claims management, we can drive our costs lower and lower.”