12/08/2009 1:00AM

NTRA trims expenses in 2010 budget

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TUCSON, Ariz. - The National Thoroughbred Racing Association plans to reduce expenses by 25 percent in 2010 to make up for deficit spending it conducted over the past two years, according to an official of the organization.

Keith Chamblin, an NTRA senior vice president, said the NTRA board approved a budget of $10 million for 2010 at a board meeting in Tucson on Tuesday morning, down 25 percent from spending in 2009. Dues from member organizations, which include racetracks and horsemen's groups, will remain the same for 2010, Chamblin said, but spending will be cut in all of the NTRA's programs.

Launched a decade ago as a kind of league office and national marketing organization, the NTRA's role has evolved over the past several years into an association that conducts lobbying on behalf of its members, manages national public-relations efforts, and supervises a group-purchasing plan.

Chamblin said that all senior personnel at the organization were asked to review their revenues and expenses in order to make cuts. No one program will be eliminated, Chamblin said.

Three years ago, the NTRA revamped its method for calculating dues payments. As a result of that recalculation, dues from members dropped, but the NTRA continued to spend in excess of its revenues in order to spare cutting some of the programs popular with members. In addition, last year the association launched a costly initiative, the Safety and Integrity Alliance, to address public-perception problems with racing as a result of high-profile breakdowns and a controversy over the sport's use of anabolic steroids.