TOC

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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Six New Board Members Join Thoroughbred Owners Of CA BOD

Six new members were elected to the Board of the Thoroughbred Owners of California the organization announced Monday. Owner and trainer Mark Glatt, owner/breeder Ty Green, owner/trainer Ryan Hanson, owner/breeder John Harris, current finance committee member Stephanie Hronis and 2021's California Trainer of the Year Andy Mathis will begin their respective terms July 1, 2024. They will join current members Nick Alexander, Gary Barber, Joe Ciaglia, Tim Cohen, Matthew Dohman, Gary Fenton, Bob Liewald, Terry Lovingier and Samantha Siegel for the 2024-2025 year.

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Politically Powerful Law Firm Hired To Issue NorCal PRA Requests

At a make-or-break time for Northern California racing interests as they attempt to build a racing circuit in the void left by Golden Gate Fields's imminent closure, two key players in those efforts have been on the receiving end of public records requests from Benbrook Law Group, a law firm well-known for their involvement in high-profile political campaigns, including the failed effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom. Some Northern California stakeholders said they suspected political intimidation was the motive for the request when the balance of the industry's economic power...

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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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Harris, Green and Mathis to Join TOC Board

John C. Harris, Ty Green and Andy Mathis have been appointed to the board of the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC). Owner of Harris Farms, Harris was inducted into the California Racing Hall of Fame in 2008 and was honored last year by the Edwin J. Gregson Foundation for his industry service. Harris Farms has been connected to over 50 California divisional champions, including eight California Horses of the Year. He is a former California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) Commissioner and currently serves on the board of the California Thoroughbred...

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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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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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Letter to the Editor: The Future of the North

Behind the scenes there is a battle taking place for the future of racing in Northern California. Approximately 30 million dollars is at the center of the battle, the projected net revenue from wagering derived in the north. The projection is derived from past revenues generated annually through Thoroughbred simulcast, ADW and live racing wagering in the north. Under current law, these funds must remain in the north, for the benefit of the north--both for horsemen and any race meet that continues to offer Thoroughbred racing in the future. 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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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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New Board Members for TOC

Gary Barber, Gary Fenton, Terry Lovingier, Tim Cohen, and Matt Dohman have been elected to three-year terms for the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC)'s Board of Directors and will take office July 1. They will join Nick Alexander, Joe Ciaglia, Rick Gold, Ryan Hanson, Stephanie Hronis, Lindsey LaRoche, Bob Liewald, Ed Moger, Samantha Siegel, and Johnny Taboada as TOC's 2023-24 Board. Richard Rosenberg, a former board member of the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB), has agreed to stay on with the organization as an appointed member of the Integrity &...

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TOC to Honor Mike Pegram

Long-time owner and breeder Mike Pegram will receive the Chairman's Award Aug. 12 from the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) at the TOC's Southern California Annual Meeting at Del Mar. Alternately named the Ed Friendly Industry Service Award, the Chairman's Award is presented annually to recognize outstanding contributions and service in racing. "Mike is an exceptional leader who continues to make a lasting impact on both this organization and California racing," said TOC Chairman Gary Fenton. "His dedication, hard work, and commitment are an inspiration to all of us, and...

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