08/08/2014 3:02PM

NTRA board adds handicapping champion Wagner


Judy Wagner, the winner of the 2001 National Handicapping Championship, has been elected to the board of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association to represent horseplayers, the association announced Friday.

The appointment of Wagner, who has qualified for the NHC 13 times, “is believed to mark the first time a horseplayer has been named to the board of a broad-based national Thoroughbred organization,” the NTRA said in a statement. Wagner also is a commissioner on the Louisiana Racing Commission, representing New Orleans, where she lives with her husband, Bryan, who was the points leader of the 2009 NHC Tour. Judy Wagner was second that year in the tour standings.

Wagner was elected as part of a slate of four new directors that also includes Mike Rogers, the president of the racing division of the Stronach Group; Scott Wells, the president of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, a racetrack trade group with a reserved seat on the board; and Joe Morris, representing the Thoroughbred Owners of California.

Wagner was appointed to the board after the NTRA endured several months of criticism from some horseplayers over the association’s accounting for the NHC, an event that is co-sponsored by Daily Racing Form . The horseplayers had questioned whether the NTRA was devoting an adequate amount of money to prize money based on the fees collected by the association, and they urged the NTRA to become more transparent about its revenue and expenses.

Keith Chamblin, an NTRA senior vice president who reached out to critics to address the questions, said the appointment of Wagner was not directly related to the controversy over the accounting for the NHC.

“The horseplaying community is our biggest constituency,” Chamblin said. “They’re involved in everything we do, and so it’s just the right thing to do.”