07/08/2009 11:00PM

Breeders' Cup elects new board members


Five new members were elected to the Breeders' Cup board of directors during an election that concluded on Thursday, according to the organization.

The five new members are Tom Ludt, the general manager of Vinery; Clem Murphy, an executive with the international racing and breeding operation Coolmore; Richard Santulli, the owner of Jayeff B Stable; Oliver Tait, the general manager of Darley Stud's Australian operations; and E. Duncan Taylor, a co-owner of Taylor Made Farm. One board member was re-elected: Robert T. Manfuso, the owner of Chanceland Farm in Maryland.

Board members serve for two years. There are a total of 13 seats on the board of directors.

The election was being closely watched because of financial concerns at the organization brought on by the contraction in the bloodstock market, the worldwide recession, and the organization's strategy to increase purse distributions from $21.5 million to $30.5 million over the past four years. Some nominators to the Breeders' Cup have also expressed dissatisfaction at how the board has conducted its business over the past several years, citing a lack of transparency.

Before the board meeting at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky., many directors, including Manfuso, said that Breeders' Cup will likely need to cut purses for next year's year-end championship event and in the organization's supplemental stakes program in order to avoid a second year of deficit spending. Breeders' Cup expects to run a $6 million deficit this fiscal year, according to its officials.

Ten candidates had vied for the six open seats, but voters - which included the 48 members of the Board of Members and Trustees - declined to reelect three directors whose terms expire in August. The three board members who were not reelected were Reynolds Bell Jr., G. Watts Humphrey, and Don Robinson, who was appointed to his board seat earlier this year following the resignation of D. Wayne Hughes.

The Breeders' Cup board held a meeting on Thursday just after the voting closed. At the meeting, Satish Sanan, a board member and the owner of Padua Stables, was expected to present a strategic plan that he had said would focus on improving revenue from the year-end event and from sponsorships.