Bill Nader

Horse Industry Drives Huge Economic Gains Across California

Edited Press Release As California grapples with a budget deficit in the tens of billions of dollars, the horse industry has grown financially for the state over the last five years; responsible for billions of dollars in economic impact and tens of thousands of jobs, according to a report released by the American Horse Council. In 2023, the equine ecosystem provided a total value of $11.6 billion to California's economy and a direct contribution of $6.5 billion to state GDP, according to the report. This marks a significant increase from...

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Computer Assisted Wagering: 101 for California Stakeholders

Last June, Pat Cummings, executive director of the National Thoroughbred Alliance and former executive director of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation, issued a stark warning about the encroaching impacts from Computer Assisted Wagering (CAW) to the men and women trying to forge a living through horse racing in the Golden State. CAW players constitute a small group of mostly anonymous, high-volume gamblers with an outsized impact on the betting markets--including in California--due to their use of sophisticated wagering technologies and the inducements offered to them in the form of attractive rates...

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Vocal Two-Circuit Supporters in Cali Come Out Firing in First of Many Expected North/South Skirmishes

The precarious, up-in-the-air future of California racing and whether or not the state can continue to support two geographic year-round circuits was made no clearer after Thursday's California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) meeting. The 3 1/2-hour session was dominated by discussion of competing North-versus-South plans that both tried to carve a sustainable path forward while underscoring the dire circumstances that face the industry with the June 9 closure of Golden Gate Fields looming like an unavoidable asteroid. Although the CHRB concluded the meeting--which featured testimony that was at times emotional,...

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Moger, LaRoche, and Taboada Resign from TOC

Three directors of the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) have resigned from their positions in protest of the board's co-signature on a proposal to the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) that would concretize racing operations in South California at the expense, they say, of a potential viable racing circuit in the North. The former directors also claim the proposal was submitted without their prior knowledge. "On January 5th a letter from the TOC and the Southern California racetrack operators was sent to the CHRB requesting the allocation of race dates...

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What Does Next Year Hold For California Racing?

Nearly seventy years ago, Sports Illustrated turf writer, Jim Murray, penned a love-letter to Santa Anita, and its opening day sonata of sun and sport unmatched by any East Coast oval stunned into icy retreat by the "fierce howlings of blue northers spun across finish lines." Santa Anita, Murray wrote, was an "extravagance of beauty." It was also a well-oiled money-spinner. Huge purses lured the best horses to Los Angeles, and the best horses lured the biggest crowds, their pockets brimming with the spoils of a post-war industrial boom transforming...

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CHRB Vice-Chair: 1/ST Racing 'Doing Things That Are Detrimental to California Racing'

Although the recently reported purse cuts for the upcoming meets at Golden Gate Fields (25%) and Santa Anita Park (5%) were not on Thursday's official agenda for the monthly California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) meeting, the commission's vice-chairman, Oscar Gonzales, made it clear that the owner of both tracks, 1/ST Racing and Gaming, was going to face some tough questioning on the topic when the CHRB next convenes in January. TDN's Dan Ross had reported Dec. 9 that Golden Gate is overpaid to the horsemen's account by some $3.1 million...

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Final Golden Gate Fields Meet Potentially Set For 25% Purse Cut

The overnight purses for Golden Gate Fields' final meet are potentially set for a 25% cut due to a longstanding overpayment of the purse account, according to Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) president and CEO, Bill Nader. The Bay Area racetrack is scheduled to race from Dec. 26 through June 9, 2024, after which, the facility is set to close permanently. The purse account, said Nader, is overpaid by some $3.1 million. "There's a pretty big overpayment that's been building," said Nader. "They're looking to claw some of it back,...

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U of A Symposium: Trying to Find a Way Forward Amid Track Closures

A panel about racetrack closures in the prime afternoon time slot on the first day of Tuesday's Global Symposium on Racing hosted by the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program (RTIP) in Tucson had the potential to be a somber and eulogistic affair, but it did yield some interesting back-and-forth when the discussion turned to how the industry might best stem the tide of Thoroughbred venues going dark for good. The topic "Land For Sale. How Will Race Track Closures Impact the Industry's Long-Term Sustainability?" elicited some of the...

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CHRB Sets '24 NorCal Schedule, but GGF's Closure Remains 'Elephant in the Room'

The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) on Thursday approved a calendar that fleshed out the Northern California racing schedule through mid-September 2024. But the initiative still left race-date gaps late in the year that must be addressed both for next season and the future as stakeholders and regulators attempt to realign the circuit in the wake of news that Golden Gate Fields will not be part of the racing landscape beyond next June. Back on July 16, 1/ST Racing, which owns both Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields, announced...

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CHRB Awards '24 SoCal Dates, But Warns NorCal Uncertainty Could Be Factor In Final Say

Southern California's racing calendar for 2024 will nearly mirror this year's dates template, with the exception of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club being awarded a fifth week at its fall meet to dovetail with that track's hosting of the Nov. 1-2 Breeders' Cup. But several California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) commissioners who voted in favor of next year's SoCal schedule at the Aug. 17 monthly meeting made it clear those dates allocations were not to be considered a "rubber stamp" approval that couldn't change at some point in the future. That...

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Stronach Group Outlines Plans for Southern California

Two weeks after an initial company announcement on the closure of Golden Gate Fields at the end of the year, The Stronach Group (TSG) issued details Friday on their plans for consolidating racing operations at its Southern California racing and training facilities, Santa Anita and San Luis Rey Downs. The plan--shared via Zoom during a press briefing lasting about 30 minutes--appeared large on big-ticket promises though short on specifics in other key areas, including the broader industry impacts from the closure of Golden Gate Fields. The following details were divulged...

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With Golden Gate Closing, Can Nor-Cal Fashion Alternative Circuit?

One day on, the fallout from The Stronach Group's (TSG) announcement that it is closing Golden Gate Fields at the end of the year continues to reverberate around the state's beleaguered platoon of trainers, owners, breeders and other stakeholders. "It's like you're Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life, and you're losing your job right before Christmas," said trainer Tim McCanna Monday, while on the road to Del Mar for the track's summer meet. "It just really leaves things up in the air." The reason for the closure of Golden...

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