Craig Fravel

Letter to the Editor: Alan French

First, the CHRB was put in a no-win situation. To paraphrase Board Chairman Dr. Gregory Ferraro, half of the state was going to be mad at the CHRB regardless of how they voted. And frankly, it is very sad that it even came to that, as I will explain in more detail momentarily. While it is clear that the recent letter sent by Craig Fravel did not sit well with them, it seems that the Board understood the ramifications of not having racing in the North. Meaning that it would...

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CHRB Unanimously Approves Plan to Make Pleasanton New Center of NorCal Circuit

The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) voted 6-0 on Thursday to approve a dates package for the back half of 2024 that will establish the current fairs-meet-only track at Pleasanton as the new crux of a Northern California circuit. The entire state has been trying to come to grips with the looming June 9 closure of Golden Gate Fields, the lone commercial track in the region, and the Mar. 21 vote by the CHRB was viewed as a NorCal racing lifeline by the estimated 250 supporters in attendance. Those very...

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CARF Issues Statement After 1/ST Ultimatum on NorCal Racing Dates

Ahead of a critical California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) meeting Thursday to decide essentially whether or not to give Northern California stakeholders a fighting chance to build a circuit in the void left by the imminent closure of Golden Gate Fields, 1/ST Racing and Gaming set out their stall Tuesday in a letter to the regulator urging them to decline race dates to the North. In a proposal to the state regulator, the California Association of Racing Fairs (CARF) outlined a 10-week meeting this year that would run from Oct....

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1/ST Racing Says It May Sell Or Close Santa Anita

1/ST Racing, the owners of Santa Anita, have threatened to close or sell the "Great Race Place," making the threats on the eve of a critical meeting of the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) in which the future of racing in the northern half of the state will be decided. Santa Anita has been calling for racing to shut down in the North, which, it believes, will help strengthen racing at Santa Anita and the other Southern California tracks. The story was first reported by John Cherwa in the Los...

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NYRA's O'Rourke Chairs All-Weather Surfaces Committee

The New York Racing Association has announced the formation of an All-Weather Surfaces Committee to study the impact of various racing surfaces on equine injury rates. According to a Wednesday NYRA press release, the committee, which first met last October, will evaluate safety metrics from tracks utilizing all-weather racing surfaces, as well as study the feasibility of broader adoption of all-weather surfaces nationally. The committee, chaired by NYRA CEO and President David O'Rourke, was formed at the request of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, as part of HISA's strategic...

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Butler Appointed To Role of 1/ST President

Aidan Butler, who has served 1/ST RACING AND GAMING as its Chief Executive Officer since September 2022, has been appointed the president of the organization by Belinda Stronach, the Chairwoman and CEO of 1/ST. According to a release, the expansion of Butler's role into president 'reflects and supports Stronach's mandate of continued growth in the company's racing and gaming assets.' Stronach, the daughter of Frank Stronach, has held the position of president in addition to her other roles since the introduction of 1/ST in 2020. Butler's primary focus will be...

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Maryland's Thoroughbred Horsemen and Breeders Announce One-Year Extension with 1/ST Racing

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen Association, Maryland Horse Breeders Association, and 1/ST RACING have announced a one-year deal to continue live horse racing in Maryland until December 31, 2024. The deal ensures that the GI Preakness S. will be run at Pimlico in May and provides for ongoing racing operations throughout 2024. "We are pleased to come to terms on a one-year extension to the 2012 agreement with The Stronach Group, 1/ST RACING and Maryland Jockey Club and appreciate the work by all that went into finalizing this deal," said David...

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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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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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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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Laurel Track Woes: Passero To Consult, Pimlico Move On Hold For Now

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (MTHA) and the management team at 1/ST Racing announced an agreement Tuesday morning that will allow for the MTHA's preferred track maintenance consultant, John Passero, to be retained to perform testing that will hopefully lead to the latest round of fixes in a years-long series of safety woes that have plagued Laurel Park's main dirt track. The agreement, which was announced at an emergency meeting of the Maryland Racing Commission (MRC) Apr. 25, put off for the time being any action by the commission that...

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1/ST Racing & Gaming Unveiled

The Stronach Group's Belinda Stronach introduced 1/ST RACING & GAMING, an enhanced division of the company designed to position the core Thoroughbred horse racing business to fully capitalize on the future of sports wagering and gaming. According to a Wednesday evening press release from the company, the 1/ST RACING & GAMING division will continue to oversee racing operations at 1/ST tracks and training centers while working to expand the company's gaming footprint in collaboration with 1/ST TECHNOLOGY led by the divisions' Chief Executive Officer, Paul Williams. "The shifting landscape of...

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