09/28/2005 11:00PM

NTRA gets several big renewals

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The National Thoroughbred Racing Association has received commitments from Churchill Downs Inc., Magna Entertainment Corp., the New York Racing Association, and a number of other racetracks for continued membership in the organization, NTRA officials said Thursday.

The commitments were given to the NTRA board at a meeting Thursday at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. Other racetracks, including Del Mar, Emerald Downs, Keeneland, The Meadowlands, Monmouth Park, Oak Tree at Santa Anita, Tampa Bay, and Turfway Park, have also told the NTRA that they plan to renew their membership agreements.

The NTRA has focused its efforts this year on signing members to new agreements that run through 2010. All previous agreements expire at the end of this year, and, before Thursday, only one track, Philadelphia Park, had publicly committed to a five-year contract.

Keith Chamblin, an NTRA senior vice president, said the new agreements included an opt-out clause for organizations that would like to cancel membership as of Dec. 31, 2006.

Dues from racetracks and horsemen's organizations, based on annual handle, make up $13.5 million of the NTRA's estimated $71 million in revenue for 2006. With the new commitments, the NTRA said that tracks accounting for 80 percent of U.S. handle had agreed to sign on until 2010.

The NTRA said horsemen's organizations in California, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Texas have also committed to new agreements.