The Thoroughbred Owners of California can’t say they weren’t warned.
The California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, formed in late March, announced Saturday morning it has submitted more than 1,100 signatures to the California Horse Racing Board calling for an election to decertify the TOC.
“We have been working to reunify and revitalize thoroughbred racing in California,” CTHA president David Wilson said in a statement. “Earlier this month we reached out to the TOC to try to resolve our differences. Unfortunately, the TOC has refused even to respond to our offer. Nevertheless, we remain determined to secure the right of every CHRB licensed thoroughbred owner to determine how and by whom they wish to be represented. Obviously, a large number of California horse owners agree.”
The CTHA contended from the start that the interests of the horsemen had not been properly represented and listed nine decisions by the TOC that contributed to that neglect, including:
* Failure to disclose receipt of more than $1 million from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.
* Refused an opportunity to secure concessions from the Indians when the Indians were seeking renewal of their compacts.
* Spent in excess of $1 million (of horsemen’s money) in an effort to fund a group seeking to purchase Santa Anita.
* Held all meetings behind closed doors.
* Disenfranchised horsemen who are both owners and trainers.
* Condoned and encouraged wagers that result in handle declines.
* A lack of support for Northern California racing.
* Vetoed contractual opportunities with Australia.
* Failed to respond to the horseplayers’ boycott.
“We look forward to bringing California thoroughbred horsemen together and working with all racing industry interests: the state, the tracks, fellow horsemen, and our customers to provide a better product and sustainable opportunities,” Wilson said. “We welcome all thoroughbred owners as equals and oppose any discrimination against fellow owners. We appreciate the response from our fellow horsemen and look forward to working together in the upcoming election.”
Horseplayer and longtime racing activist Andy Asaro said it could be up to three months before the election is actually held.
According to the CTHA’s press release, California Horse Racing Board Rule 2040 requires petitioners seeking to decertify an existing horsemen’s organization to first submit signatures of 10 percent of the existing organization’s members for validation. Following validation of the signatures, the CHRB will establish a date and conduct the decertification election.
Current CHRB records list 7,705 thoroughbred owners. Petitioners surpassed the required amount of 770 signatures of licensed owners and they have been forwarded to the CHRB for validation.