12/17/2014 3:06PM

Finley prepares challenge to NYTHA election


Terry Finley, the New York-based owner who narrowly lost a recent election for president of the state’s horsemen’s group, will have until Jan. 5 to prepare a challenge to the election result under a four-step process adopted by the group’s board Monday, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association said.

The filing of the challenge will be the first stage of the process, which is designed to allow Finley to raise objections to the election process and permit existing NYTHA officers, including president-elect Rick Violette, to respond to those objections. The final stage of the process is scheduled for no sooner than Feb. 10, the date that has been set for a private hearing in front of the NYTHA board, after which the board will deliberate and vote on final action.

Finley, who initially said he would not challenge the results, lost to Violette by a vote of 625-611. It was the first serious challenge for the position in recent memory. In winning the election, Violette was elected to his third consecutive three-year term.

Finley did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the procedures.

NYTHA said Violette, Jim Gallagher, NYTHA’s executive director, and Alan Foreman, NYTHA’s counsel, did not participate in any discussions or votes involving the challenge process. Those three people were designated as “interested parties” to the challenge and will be allowed to respond to Finley’s initial filing, the NYTHA said, along with other persons the board might identify following the filing. The deadline for that response is Jan. 16, NYTHA said.

In interviews, Finley has taken issue with the distribution of ballots to eligible members. NYTHA considers “anyone holding a valid Thoroughbred owner and/or Thoroughbred trainer license from the New York State Gaming Commission who has raced at the NYRA tracks in the past two years” as a member, according to its website. However, the site also asks members who want to vote to register on the site to ensure that ballots can be mailed to them.

Finley said in earlier interviews he felt compelled to dispute the results because many owners contacted him after the election saying they did not get an opportunity to vote.

Finley is the founder of West Point Thoroughbreds, a company that markets partnerships in racehorses.