03/05/2007 1:00AM

NTRA board approves $19.5M budget

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The board of directors of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association approved a $19.5 million budget for 2007 at a quarterly meeting on Monday in Hallandale, Fla., according to the organization.

The budget, the first since the NTRA reached a new joint operating agreement with its partner, Breeders' Cup Ltd., anticipated revenues of $8.95 million from membership fees, $7.23 million from sponsorship and group purchasing programs, and $1.3 million from promotions. Expenses in the budget were expected to total $19.2 million.

The NTRA agreed last year to separate its budget after complaints from the board of the Breeders' Cup over how the association used its funds. In 2006, the two groups had a combined budget of $62.5 million.

In a budget for 2005, the NTRA anticipated revenues of $17.3 million from membership dues, which are collected from racetracks, horsemen, sales companies, and buyers and sellers of racehorses.

Keith Chamblin, the senior vice president of marketing, said that the decline over the last two years was attributable to the cancellation of the NTRA's co-op advertising program, which allowed racetracks to recoup approximately two-thirds of their dues payments, and a 25 percent reduction in member fees across the board. In addition, fees from sales companies and auction participants have been roughly cut in half under a new funding formula and a decline in optional contributions from buyers and sellers.

"Our membership is actually at its highest point in the history of the NTRA," Chamblin said.