04/28/2011 12:57PM

California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association files with state racing board


The newly formed California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, an organization of owners and trainers, filed paperwork with the California Horse Racing Board earlier this month in an effort to unseat the Thoroughbred Owners of California as the state’s official representatives of Thoroughbred horsemen in the state.

The paperwork was filed on April 15, according to trainer Darrell Vienna, a lawyer who is serving as a legal adviser to the new horsemen’s association. Racing board officials confirmed on Wednesday that the documents had been received.

“Our group feels it’s important to have that on file and not be delayed any further,” said Roger Licht, a former chairman of the racing board and a founding member of the new group.

To replace the Thoroughbred Owners of California, the new organization must compile a petition within the next six months seeking support of at least 10 percent of the estimated 8,000 owners in the state. If those signatures are verified, the racing board would oversee an election as to which organization should represent horsemen.

The paperwork, which includes documents detailing articles of incorporation and a copy of the proposed petition, comes after representatives of the Thoroughbred Owners of California and the California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association have met in recent weeks to discuss their differences, primarily the makeup of the owners’ group’s board. Currently, the board consists of 15 members, three of which are for owner-trainers. Officials of the new organizationare seeking an equal number of seats for trainers.

Late Wednesday, the owner’s group issued a statement condemning the new association’s motives, saying they are detrimental to racing at a time when the sport is suffering business declines and that owners need “an independent voice in the industry” aside from trainers.