03/30/2011 2:33PM

Thoroughbred Owners of California facing challenge


A group of California owners and trainers have formed an organization with the intention of either changing the makeup of the Thoroughbred Owners of California’s board of directors or usurping the TOC to become the state’s official representative for Thoroughbred horsemen.

The California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association released a statement earlier this week saying that the the existing owners’ group has failed to adequately represent horsemen in the state. The statement said the TOC has not worked with Native American tribes in the state for financial relief for racing, not paid enough attention to Northern California racing, conducted closed-door meetings, failed to respond to a recent outcry from bettors over increased takeout for exotic wagers, and accused the TOC of “disenfranchising owners-trainers.”

The new group is seeking a vote of members of the owners’ group for a change in the make-up of the board of directors, which it hopes will be altered to equally include owners and trainers. Currently, there are 15 members of the TOC board – 12 owners and three trainers.

Roger Licht, a former chairman of the California Horse Racing Board and a founding member of the new group, said on Wednesday that his group is hoping the TOC “will consent and have an election.” Licht said his group has not filed the necessary paperwork with the racing board seeking to decertify the TOC and become the state’s official representation for Thoroughbred horsemen. Licht said he hoped that a resolution could be reached with the TOC to avoid the start of the decertification process.