Thoroughbred Owners of California president Lou Raffetto fired back at the newly formed California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association on Saturday afternoon after the CTHA announced earlier in the day it had submitted more than 1,100 signatures to the California Horse Racing Board calling for an election to decertify the TOC.
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. If validated, the CHRB would oversee an election most likely within three months.
“This is an attempt led by a small group of individuals that does not have the best interests of the owners in mind,” Raffetto said in a statement. “Simply put, the leadership of the CTHA does not want a strong owners’ organization, but seeks to merge it into one that can be controlled by trainers. The trainers already have a capable representative organization in the California Thoroughbred Trainers.’
Raffetto disputes the CTHA’s assertion that it is seeking unity in the industry.
“In fact they are looking for control and to reduce owners’ voices,” he said. “This power play is divisive and could not come at a worse time. My sense is that California racing has turned the corner and is headed down the right road. The leadership of the CTHA bus is prepared to drive the industry over the cliff.”
The press release states that the TOC, which began in 1993, is the official organization serving new, veteran and future thoroughbred owners in the state.