Owners, trainers need to band together

My column in Friday’s editions will deal with some of the many problems facing horse racing in California, one of which is the need for the trainers and owners to come together as one so they can negotiate with track management from a position of strength.

Two of the trainers who support the new group California Horsemen for Change, John Shirreffs and John Sadler, both would like the see the Thoroughbred Owners of California and the trainers reunite.

“I know the horsemen would like to see a reunification of the CTT and the TOC,” Sadler said. “They wanted to take any power away from the trainers and give it to the owners (when the old Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association was disbanded in the early ’90s), but that’s changed where most of those guys are not there.

“It was about giving the owners the power and the tracks loved it because then it was the owners fighting the trainers and nobody looking at them. To move forward today, the two organizations should be one and then they can negotiate better with the tracks.”

Said Shirreffs: “The TOC does not necessarily want the trainers group with them. That has been the standing position of the TOC, that they’re willing to help us but they don’t necessarily want us to be a part of their group. I think it’s very frustrating for the trainers because basically the CTT doesn’t have any real decision power in what goes on as far as (purse structure). Those are all TOC issues, so the CTT doesn’t really have a voice in it. I think it’s very frustrating on that level.”

Personally, I think the whole industry is frustrating on a lot of levels.

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