Greg Avioli

Greg Avioli Q&A: “I'm Very Optimistic Right Now”

Last week, the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) announced a roughly $15-million, two-year "purse enhancement" program as part of an agreement with TVG, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and The Stronach Group's 1/ST Racing. The reason for the new program is simple: an unprecedented betting shift toward ADW platforms over the past 11 months has hit the California purse account hard. Not just the purse account. This shift has similarly clobbered several key industry programs that rely heavily on wagering made at brick and mortar venues. The Southern California Stabling...

[ Read More ]
California ADW Agreement Set to Boost Purses by $15 Million

With many wheels of California's daily industry operations greased through wagering made at bricks and mortar venues, a pandemic-driven wholesale betting shift towards ADW platforms has thrown a sizeable wrench into the works, prompting something of a fiscal scramble to readjust. Just last week, the Southern California Stabling & Vanning Racing Committee announced a set of stop-gap funding measures to grapple with a $2-million deficit and maintain the stabling status-quo in the southern portion of the state during 2021. On Wednesday, the Thoroughbred Owners of California ("TOC") announced a new...

[ Read More ]
What Can We All Do Together? Avioli on California Handle, Purses

Recently, TDN published a data set illustrating how the racing industry in California has undergone a dramatic shapeshift, both before and during the pandemic. New betting patterns have constituted a quarter-billion-dollar boon for the advance deposit wagering (ADW) industry at the expense of the California horsemen's purses. In a nutshell, as compared to a comparable period in 2018, the number of races this year has declined 30%. Although the overall handle has declined 18.8%, purses have dropped more than 26%. To discuss these findings, we spoke with Thoroughbred Owners of...

[ Read More ]
Owner Perspectives on Trainer Business Model: “The Current System Is Broken”

The TDN recently took a lengthy dive into the business model of the average American trainer, and asked this question: "What, if anything, can be done to make this model a healthier, more efficiently run affair?" The answers garnered revolved around two central issues. One concerned reduced race-day opportunities leading to shrinking earnings, and the possible raising of day-rates to compensate. The other concerned the possible payment of monthly invoices up-front, to save trainers the pressure of covering the daily expenses for a minimum of 40-45 days. Other topics raised...

[ Read More ]
News Analysis: Amid Crisis, Chaos Rules at CHRB Meeting

At one point in Wednesday's California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) teleconference meeting, as discussion of yet another agenda item spiraled wildly off-topic and devolved into argumentive cross-talk, chairman Gregory Ferraro, DVM, attempted to restore order by firmly declaring "chaos is not allowed." For some industry participants who vocalized frustration Apr. 22 at how CHRB meetings have become increasingly dominated by anti-racing proponents using allegedly obstructionist tactics to muddle the hours-long monthly proceedings, the chairman's assertion must have seemed like the figurative equivalent of trying to cram toothpaste back into the...

[ Read More ]
Live Race Dates, Workers' Comp, Day Rates Discussed in TOC Conference Call

The longer live racing is suspended in California the deeper the economic toll, which is why the industry continues to push hard for that suspension to be lifted: that was the main takeaway from a broad-sweeping conference call Friday morning, organized by the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC), for industry heads to outline and discuss the impacts from the coronavirus pandemic on racing and training in California. The call was presided over by TOC Chairman Nick Alexander, Greg Avioli, TOC president and CEO, The Stronach Group (TSG) CEO Craig Fravel,...

[ Read More ]
'Entire Ecosystem in Jeopardy': CA Industry Hit Hard by Pandemic

The financial toll from COVID-19 on the racing industry in California, spurred by the suspension of live Thoroughbred racing, has been sharp and swift. Backstretch healthcare and mental illness services have been pared back, those in charge of other programs reliant on betting revenue are wondering how to bolster coffers if the broader economy nose-dives, while the financial thumb-screws have been further twisted on stretched-thin trainers. What's more, all this is playing out against an economic backdrop that was already shaky. The California Horse Racing Board's (CHRB) latest annual report...

[ Read More ]